My, Aren’t We Nosey?

What is it about human nature that makes us so concerned with the lives of others?

A trip through the check-out line at the grocery store inevitably includes bombardment by numerous publications, ones that make their money spreading the latest gossip about celebrities. Who’s dating who? Can you believe they wore that? Guess how she messed up?

Obsession with the day-to-day lives of others isn’t confined to celebrities. Facebook, Twitter, blogs and more are ways to check in with our fellow human beings on a minute basis. We love to be in the know…

What About This Man?

Monday I wrote about a life-changing moment between Jesus and Peter. Following Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, He had a picnic breakfast on the beach with His disciples (John 21). During that meal Jesus confirms Peter’s calling, despite his betrayal during Jesus’ imprisonment.

What must Peter have felt during that conversation? Not only was Jesus dismissing any guilt or shame Peter had regarding his denial of Jesus, He was charging Peter with the task of tending His sheep. I can only imagine what was going through his mind.

Oh, but wait…we don’t need to imagine…look what Peter’s reaction is:

“Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them…So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!'” (John 21:20-22)

Peter’s response to Jesus’ revelation of his future was, “What about John?”

I don’t highlight Peter’s actions to condemn him, more it’s because I realized how normal they are. I’m constantly comparing myself to those around me; whether material possessions, physical appearance, or accomplishments. As a parent, I compare my children to other people’s children.

Don’t even get me started about comparisons in blogging.

You’d think, though, that in the area of spirituality and my walk with God there would be no place for comparison. It’s holy, set apart. Obviously not.

The Horse and His Boy

I love the Chronicles of Narnia. I have learned so many spiritual lessons through C.S. Lewis’ narratives of the imaginary land of Narnia.

One of my favorite books in the series is The Horse and His Boy. The book tells the story of two children, Shasta and Aravis, and two talking horses, Bree and Hwin, as they travel from Calormen to Narnia. I’m not quite sure why it’s my favorite, but it’s the one I pick up most frequently to re-read.

courtesy of photobucket.com

Towards the end of the book, there is a scene that has always stuck with me. Shasta, encounters a Presence while traveling alone.  This Voice in the fog explains to Shasta the purpose behind many of the trials they had come up against in their travels. When Shasta asks for information regarding an experience Aravis had, the voice replies:

“Child…I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”

A few chapters later, Lewis reiterates the point when Aravis asks about the future of a young servant girl she had wronged. Again, the voice says:

“Child…I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.”

Keep Focused on Him

Peter’s redemptive conversation with Jesus, Shasta and Aravis’ illuminating encounters with Aslan; these are major moments. Yet in these times each is concerned with what will happen to others. Instead of appreciating the gravity and significance of what they were experiencing, they asked, “But what about so-and-so?”

How often have I sought out God for guidance, asking Him to reveal the plans He has for me, and then turned around to say, “What are you doing with them?”

Each of us has a unique purpose in God’s kingdom. Comparing and contrasting giftings, callings and ministries is not what God desires us to do. Instead, He reveals to us what our plan is, where our path to follow lies, and then expects us to walk it while keeping our eyes focused on Him.

I can’t promise that I still won’t be tempted to check out the latest gossip rag headline or do a little Facebook stalking, but I do know that the most important thing is to not be obsessed with how God is using others.

My obsession needs to be to live out the story He’s telling me about me.

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(needed to be reminded of these truths from the archives today)

::

Today I’m guest posting for Kay Weight on her blog Heart & Soul Pursuits! She is running a series called “Inspire Me.”

“Inspire me” is an invitation to gather with the heart of an amazing sisterhood of girls across the earth living their lives ‘destined, devoted and daring’. A gathering of ordinary girls living extra-ordinary lives. So whoever you are and wherever you come from we would love to hear from you. {Kay Weight}

Take a moment to discover what I have dedicated myself to this week, and see what others are sharing!

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23 thoughts on “My, Aren’t We Nosey?

  1. WOW Melissa! What a strong post! I have had a serious case of the “what abouts?” in the past when it comes to ministry and being a pastor. I had to learn the hard way that God was only going to show me my story. I think it was the same Narnia book that began to stir that inside me but it was years later when it sunk in. I am tired of comparison. I am tired of wondering “about” someone else (in a somewhat jealous inquiry). You hit me hard today. Now…why didn’t i write something this good? LOL

    • Haha! Bill! That’s hilarious. Someday I hope to have conquered this lesson, but I have a feeling it may be a truth that I go back to often. In many ways it comes down to fear, I believe. Fear that there’s not enough to go around, and that someone else’s success, blessing, good will take away from our own. I too am tired of comparison. :)

  2. I loved this. It’s one of the biggest thing I think most of us struggle with. I don’t believe we can completely shut out what others are doing. I think the difference is being able to differentiate how to use others as a baseline rather than a comparison. I think it is important to understand what others are doing. The challenge is to observe, learn and then be YOU like no one else can. That’s what I’m learning anyways.

    • It’s all about perspective and attitude, right? And, to fully be ourselves in the face of others, we have to know who we are and WHO’S we are. Thanks for sharing, Tony!

  3. I needed this.

    The book I’m reading right now is William & Kate: The Royal Love Story.

    Can you believe me?!

    I have to remind myself everytime I come here not to compare my blog to yours. :)
    So there you have it.

    I’m a guilty nosey person.

  4. The Horse and his Boy is my favorite too! The more I read the series, the more that one stands out to me…
    Oh, and this is a really great post! :)

    • Thanks, Levi! I still don’t know why I prefer it to the others, but it really is my go to Narnia book. I think next I like Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I love that scene where Eustace sheds his skin.

  5. Your posts just get better and better! Wow Melissa! This was so powerful and hit my square between the eyes…”My obsession needs to be to live out the story He’s telling me about me.” Thank you for this reminder. I really needed to hear it. Love your heart!

  6. When I first read the title, I read: Why aren’t we nosey…My reaction was, “Oh! But we are!”

    Right on, Melissa! I appreciate the reminder not to compare. I do, however, find myself needing my friends being nosey about me. I appreciate the occasional, “what’s God doing right now? Anything I needed to encourage you to get off your bum and do?” :-)

    • Great point, Haley! It is important for us to be interested in one another’s story as a means of encouragement and accountability. That’s the flip side of the coin. Thanks for sharing that!

  7. I have fallen deep into the pit of comparison recently. For some reason, when I feel myself failing, my tendency is to compare myself to others. Sadly, I will admit I’ve even distanced myself from specific people because they make me feel bad about myself. How selfish and juvenille is THAT?!

    What God has shown me about comparing myself to others is that His plan for me is His plan for me. He has a specific purpose in my life, that can’t be filled by anyone else-no matter how together her life appears, she doesn’t have the same calling or giftings as I do. That’s not to boast, but to say, He’s got a job for me, too. And no one can do that job better than me.

    One of my fav songs that helps me to see past myself is “Walk on the Water” by Britt Nicole. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmZPrFj90AI

    • AMEN! I’m sorry you’re struggling with this, Keri. It’s such an uncomfortable place to be. Would it make you feel better if I told you I compare myself to you? Haha! Probably not. :) You’re doing exactly what God has called you to do, and I am glad there’s a Keri @ Pop Parables.

  8. This is good Melissa, oh so good. I love how you used the book to reiterate your point. I think (personally) that we like other’s people’s stories because we think our story is boring. Oh, but we are so wrong. Our story is so, so good!

  9. Hey Lovely …. your article is up. Love it – it felt like I was on the journey with you – you know making a decision early in the day and then changing the direction after seeing it from a different perspective. :)

  10. For me, the hardest part in not comparing myself to others is when He’s not really doing anything with me. In that idle time, it’s hard not to say “what? Do I have some Satanic B.O. that you can’t use me like you do Moe? Or Michael? Or even Todd Bentley for crying out loud?”

    • That is definitely a tough place to be in; to believe that God is working unseen in your life, instead of just ignoring you. And…who’s Todd Bentley?

  11. Pingback: The Fear of Not Enough | Melissa Brotherton

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