“Who is that girl I see staring straight back at me? Why is my reflection someone I don’t know?”
The familiar lyrics bring me back to the scene of Mulan where she questioned her worth being shamed by the matchmaker. She did not feel that she was like the other girls possessing qualities to be a good bride. Her experience is very similar to how girls including myself in this century would go through. We compare ourselves to others, questioning our worth and purpose.
We pretend to be someone else all the time, concealing how we think and feel so we can fit into the world’s mould of what a perfect girl should be.
To be honest, there are many things we can compare ourselves against: Beauty, wealth, jobs, friends, and even spouses. We look at what is presumably the perfect lives and question our lifestyles . We envy friends living in a big house with all the luxurious furniture while we rent a small studio with minimal decoration. We are jealous of friends with many suitors while sitting at a lonely corner thinking we will live single lives forever. I concluded that there are no benefits in comparison, however I am also in the progress of trying not to compare myself with someone else.
Often when we compare, we lose sight of our purpose in life. We become bitter and upset, losing our self confidence doing what we are clearly not called to do. “Now I see if I wear the mask, I can fool the world but I cannot fool my heart.”
I asked myself countless times about how I feel when I compare myself with other girls whom I think are better than me. The answer is, “Horrible.” We are fearfully and wonderfully made, so why do we want to be someone we are not? When God created us, He entrusted us with gifts and talented which no one else has. We are created to run our own race, so why look at someone else's lane while running in our own?
Remember the parable of the talents, the servant who chose to bury the only talent he was entrusted with had his talent taken away and given the other servant who had multiplied the five talents. What we have is less important with what we do with what we have. When we are entrusted with our talents, it is our responsibility to multiply them, instead of comparing what we do not have to someone's gifts that we are not entrusted with.
We all know someone excels in her gifts. For e.g. a great singer like Adele or soccer player like David Beckham and such like. Often these people are gifted in these areas have also invested a tremendous amount of time and effort to master their skills. We want what they have, but are reluctant to put in the investment. We lament the lack of the gifts that we think are cool, but neglect the gifts in us that have yet to be discovered.
We may not realise this, but when we compare ourselves to others, it implies that God owes us something, and we undermine our own potential. Saul was a great example to illustrate this. He was anointed king and when the young boy David killed Goliath and his people sang praises of David, he quickly turned angry and started evil plan to destroy David. Sometimes, when we could not have what we want or know that someone is better than us, we also have the thoughts of putting the person down or destroying her in our minds.
Coming back to Mulan, she decided to take her father’s place to fight the Hans and “accidentally” walked into her destiny to save her country and won everyone’s respect. She had to put in a lot of time and training to be a warrior after being mocked by her combats. She might not have known what her future holds but she invested time to do what was right at that time.
Putting this into perspective, we may not know what God has planned for us nor know what gifts we possess, but all we need to do is to follow God’s guidance and slowly tap into the gifts entrusted to us at the right time. Without comparison in her mind on the battlefield, Mulan eventually became the most respected figure. Same for us, we can make some effort to develop our gifts and be respected when we fully utilise what God meant for us to have.
Today, I encourage us to take the step towards our ever loving Father even when we do not feel worthy and experience His embrace. He loves us and accepts us just as we are. We do not need to compete with someone else, as He has created each of us unique. Let us all be courageous like Mulan - Looking into the mirror and eventually finding who God has created us to be.
Amy Ching is a Press Service International young writer from Auckland NZ