What are two things that most people (if not everyone) have trouble with? Envy and peer pressure. These are in many ways the same thing. Peer pressure doesn’t just happen to people under 20, and it often doesn’t take the form of visible pressure. Peer pressure can seep in quietly and act silently, undetected, until we have changed the way we see ourselves and the way we want others to see us. This invisible peer pressure is also not always the fault of others. The fault, rather, often lies within ourselves.

We have a feeling that we are not good enough for society. We think to ourselves, subconsciously, “I will never be really accepted, acknowledged, or recognized until I conform to the way they dress or act. I can never be known to others because I have not accomplished what that person over there has accomplished.”

We are tempted to belittle ourselves and make less of our own worth because we see what everyone else has. This is why peer pressure and envy coincide and act almost simultaneously. Would we feel peer pressure if it was not preceded by envy?

As a pianist who started late (compared to most), I am often susceptible to this kind of envy and peer pressure. I look at young musicians my age playing in concert halls across the world. Why did they get lucky? I’ll never be that good. There’s also the little kids playing pieces more difficult than what I play. How is that fair?

But all that I’ve just written is just a prelude to what I really want to say. Back in the fall, certain words came to me about this issue. Then a few months later, more followed in the same vein. Here are those words:

Do not measure yourself according to what others have accomplished, for there are many gifts and offices distributed among those called by God. Rather, measure yourself according to where God had placed you, and according to the daily work and daily life that he has called you to. Be yourself according to your own talents, for in doing so, you are living according to God’s call for you. God wants your response to his call for you, not his call for someone else.

In viewing ourselves against the backdrop of someone else, we set ourselves up as judge and are tempted to despair.

Further, do not bemoan the position God had placed you in, and wish you had been given something else. Do not wish for a different opportunity that you perhaps see in others. God has not called you to their opportunity, but to your opportunity, and it is up to you to do with what you have been given.  Do not let that opportunity disappear and fade while you are busy wishing for different circumstances, people, or events in your life. Rather, take the time, opportunity, circumstances, people, and events that have come into your life and do your best with them. The time is yours! Seize it, friend!

And if you find yourself saying, “I wish none of this had happened”, remember the response: “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”

Photo from: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/

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