I have a few secrets. One of them (that I don’t even think my family knows) is that I admire tap dancers. Like I seriously do. As a six-year-old, I watched Michael Flatley‘s Lord of the Dance, and my jaw dropped as I fell in love with the art. Even watching the tap dancing in Singing in the Rain cultivates a desire for that ability. This admiration and jealousy extends to a great deal of other sports as well. A few years after being introduced to Lord of the Dance, I saw ski jumping in the winter Olympics. I was inspired. If I watch any sort of gymnastics or tumbling, I’m taken…And I want that skill!
While aspiring to be a pro tap dancer or Olympic ski jumper are so “out there” that they’re humorous, some of my other jealousies aren’t as funny. My sister has skill at dressing nice and she can look super on-point. Me? I have no idea. Maybe that’s why I wear an over-sized I-don’t-quite-know-what-it’s-called shirt-like thing that I found on the side of the road and decided to add to my wardrobe.
I’m also an action person. I get an idea in my head and I run out and start it right here right now. That has it’s benefits, but can really backfire when I’ve got three different baking projects going on in the same kitchen. (Did I mention that I get bored with said projects far too quickly and that I don’t normally even start the clean up process until my baked goods are in the oven?). Another sister, on the other hand, can keep house like a perfect, organized, wise woman should be able to…
I doubt that anyone could honestly say he or she doesn’t occasionally covet another person’s talents, skills, jobs, or opportunities. However, something Andy Stanley said in his sermon series titled Comparison Trap intrigued me. He mentioned that, while there are always things we envy in others, there is never a time when we would completely trade who we are for everything the other person is.
When I thought about that, I found it to be true. I love Eliza’s sense of style and Tessa’s sense of organization, but I wouldn’t trade my sense of adventure and positive passion for either of these. There is too much about me that I would have to give up in order to gain someone else’s positive traits.
And, when I consider trading all I am to gain all that someone else is, I pause and discover that there are a lot of things God has gifted me with that I wouldn’t like to trade–and that the other person isn’t quite as perfect as I may have thought in the first place… When we envy someone else’s talents and opportunities, we do ourselves an injustice and only consider part of that person.
What I’ve learned from Andy Stanley’s sermon series then, is that other people have downfalls and struggles too. God may have gifted others with talents and opportunities, but sin has reached us all. There is little point to envying another person’s life simply because of an obvious positive trait.
Secondly, I’ve learned that I’m not so bad off after all. I have failings, shortcomings, things that I’m ashamed and embarrassed of. But, in the end, I’m grateful for who God has made me. I’m thankful for the personality he’s given me and I would never trade everything I am for everything someone else is…because God knew what he was doing when he carefully crafted me.
There are always people who are going to be better at certain things than you are, but you have talents and gifts that make you better in some areas than other people. To jealously covet other’s talents is to unfairly ignore the gifts and qualities that the Holy Creator of the universe specifically picked out for you.