We’ve all seen them. Our friends on social media who post statuses that say stuff like, “I love my job!” or “I have the best husband ever!” You know the kind I’m talking about.
Maybe you’ve had moments where you thought the same thoughts I have. “Good for youuuu!”
If we’re honest, we can all admit that it can be annoying to see how awesome someone else’s life is when you’re life is not looking so hot. You don’t want to hear how awesome someone’s husband is when your husband just said that you looked a little heavy today. Or maybe you don’t want to hear about how your friend that never had to pay for anything in his life just got an awesome job promotion while you are on staring at your resume that has about a 5th grader’s amount of experience on it.
But this post is not about jealousy. (This one was, though.)
I’m all for rejoicing with each other when good things happen and letting people know about the blessings we’re experiencing. That’s a good thing. The problem I see is that we may feel like we need to share anything like that in order to keep up with everyone else. And in some cases, maybe we’re kind of even lying to ourselves.
Everyone wants to feel included. Everyone wants to feel important. We all want purpose. We can want it so badly that if people aren’t noticing it about us, we will tell them why they should be noticing it. But in reality, we may just be placing our insecurities on display for everyone to see.
Again, I’m not against giving God thanks for a job we just got or even bragging about your wife. Those things aren’t evil. But if we’re not careful, we may get to a point where it’s more than just a celebration, but rather, a feeble attempt to prove our self-worth.
How do I know? Because I’ve done it, yo.
A few years back I was pretty fresh out of college and had been expecting to blast off into a promising career that made me feel cool. Well, after over a year, all I’d managed to do was get a job with a bunch of college students parking cars at a hospital. I wasn’t exactly a Wolf of Wall Street. I was more like a squirrel in your attic.
Companies didn’t want to hire me. Churches didn’t want to hire me, or to even let me come speak or do some comedy. I found myself in a weekly prison ministry because they were the only people that wanted me to come. I was only able to get into a place where everyone is trying to get out of. (Be looking for my new TV series: Prison Break-In.)
I was reading statuses from other people about how great their job was or how awesome their ministry was and how much they loved it. It made me feel like I wasn’t keeping up with the crowd. So I started posting statuses about how awesome it was during the prison services and how great it felt to be helping the men. It was my attempt at proving myself to everyone, and worse—proving myself to myself.
One day I was riding back from a Monday night service with my friend Robert, who I went in every week with, and I had my phone out ready to post another status about it on Twitter. As I was writing it out, I felt like I heard God ask me, “Who are you trying to glorify: Me or yourself?”
I knew the answer, and it changed my life.
I can’t say that I never feel like I want to prove myself anymore, but that moment has been a gut-check for me whenever I feel like I need to keep up with those around me.
Who am I trying to prove myself to? If it’s God, then He already thinks I’m pretty wonderful. If it’s myself, then I just need to remind myself of who I am and what I already know. And if it’s everyone else, well, with all due respect: if I’m not cool enough for you as I am, then I don’t want to be friends.