Business is a cruel mistress. Of course we all like to be involved in things, but then, when everything piles up, we complain about being too busy. This struggle of business has been a large one in my life during this semester. But my struggle runs a little deeper than being an overly-busy student with an inability to see, in my future, a dead week that will most likely kill me – mainly due to a pre-dead week that did most of the hard work first.
My struggle with business speaks volumes to my struggle with comparison. And maybe you are like me; maybe you tend to compare yourself to others and how busy they are. If yes, then great! We have something in common. And everyone knows that misery loves company, so maybe we’ll have a Christmas party or something. If this isn’t your particular struggle, then good for you . . .stop being so involved and give the rest of us a break.
Getting back to the point, this struggle with comparison can be a nasty one. I tend to look at people who are really involved and think to myself, “Self, they are so busy because they have the talents to be busy. They are talented enough to be involved in x, y, or z, and they are talented enough to have people ask them to be involved in things. Self, if you were talented enough, you would be busier too.” And this comparison of talents soon becomes a comparison of worth. As if saying, “if you were good enough, you would be as busy or involved or recognized as so and so.”
Now, I’m not one to simply rant about my own personal problems. I write this because I’m sure there are others with the same problem. There always are. So the question then becomes, “What in the world do we do about it!?” Well, I think there are a few things that can be done to lighten the load of our ten-ton schedules without having to feel like a lazy pile of doo-doo about it.
First, we can recognize that God gives gifts and talents to all of us in different ways. Sure, some people’s gifts and talents lead to a busy schedule with lots of things to do and ways to display them for everyone to see. But that doesn’t mean their talents are better than anyone else’s. The girl who spends time shaping clay or painting a canvas has no less talent than the guy who can put a ball through a hoop. It’s just that one person is celebrated and cheered for while the other tends to be ignored. And this is in no way a “shot” (pun very much intended) at basketball players, or athletes in general for that matter. Maybe as a society we should learn to equally appreciate every way in which God has gifted his children.
Second, we can trust. We can trust that the person God has made us to be and the things he has given us to be involved in are good and they are shaping us into the person we need to be for the amazing plan he has for us. And not only are these things good, but they are what is best for us. I mean, God can totally see into the future, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t do that. So I’m going to try my best to trust him with future-telling powers with my life more than little old me, the guy who can’t even see how he’s going to get to the end of the week.
And finally, we can enjoy what we do have. I would be willing to bet that most of us here at Dordt, if we really think about it, have been blessed quite a bit. Concentrating on how you aren’t “good enough” or what you want to be instead of what you are, will cause you to miss out on the great things you already have. So next time you catch yourself in the deadly throngs of comparison, think about some of the wonderful things you do have and enjoy those.
So as I sit here on a Sunday evening, writing a column about business that was due on Friday, irony comes to mind. It’s ironic that in a culture that praises those who are involved and busy, business and involvement can be the very things that cause us to miss out on the greatest things in life. So here are my words of wisdom; listen up because I don’t have many. If you’re busy, that’s great. Use your talents to glorify God. But don’t become so busy that you sacrifice relationships or forget about the great things God has given you. And if you aren’t as busy or involved as you think you should be, it doesn’t reflect on you as a person. I guarantee that God has gifted you, and I guarantee he has a wonderful plan for your life. Enjoy watching that wonderful plan unfold and revel in the life your Creator has chosen for you.
Alex Updike, Columnist