Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, –Galatians 6:4
Most Christians say they want want to connect with God regularly–or at least they want the benefits of a rich life of relationship with God. However, when it comes to turning desire into discipline, many don’t.
And soon enough, Failure gives birth to guilt.
Guilt can be crushing. Wonderful people limp through the Christian life with guilt weighing them down like weights on their backs. It’s guilt, guilt, guilt, 24/7. “I don’t pray enough. I’m not reading the Bible like I should. I haven’t witnessed to my neighbor. I don’t spend enough time with God.”
Guilt haunts us. And for some, it can define us. Don’t let guilt define you.
You’re not a “lousy Christian” if you don’t have a traditional quiet time. The Christian life is not about a formula. Jesus Christ came to give us freedom. Yes, some guilt may serve as motivation, but too many Christians cower because of false guilt–aka condemnation–that they’ve heaped upon their own shoulders because they’ve compared themselves to an unrealistic model and come up short. That type of guilt is unfair and it weighs us down and wears us out.
Comparison is deadly, yet so natural. It’s easy to place ourselves next to someone we think has it together spiritually, constantly taking mental notes on how we don’t measure up. (Of course, we don’t know what they are like when no one is watching.) Comparison only assumes that others are doing what we’re not, and so we end up contrasting what we know about ourselves (everything) with what we don’t really know about others (which is almost everything). It is like comparing our lives to what we see on Instagram.
Here’s my encouragement: please stop comparing. You aren’t Mother Teresa and neither am I.
You’re you! God designed you to be you. I’m not suggesting you can’t have intimacy with God or a great quiet time. Of course you can! But I’m asking you to quit comparing and instead, be challenged to learn how to connect with God in realistic ways that fit with how you are wired. We can do this! I know we can. Because we have God helping us!