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Quiet time

A Masterpiece

manuelita otero

When visiting the Louvre Museum in Paris, most people will wait in a long line just to get a glimpse of Leonardo Da Vinci’s renowned artwork “La Mona Lisa”.  This painting is worth millions, but you can easily get a print at the gift shop for a few dollars and see it as often as you want.  A print is not the original; a copy is not worth the same.  Each of us is a masterpiece, a valuable work of art. But sometimes it seems that we ignore this fact and prefer to be replicas.

“When Peter saw him, he asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘if I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.’” (John 21:21-22)  In this verse we can clearly see how Jesus dislikes comparisons.  Jesus had just told Peter the kind of death he was going to have to glorify God, but Peter also wanted to know how John would die.  Sometimes when I start looking around, I wonder why others get certain opportunities and I don’t. I imagine God telling me: “What is that to you?  You must follow me.” I love it because it keeps me focused and reminds me not to compare.  God is very personal, He has a custom-made plan for each of us; therefore, we don’t need to be looking around at what other people are doing.  The plan God has for my life is perfect for me, even if at times I may not see it that way.

But it is hard not to compare. We have been taught from a young age to notice what others are doing and try to do the same or better.  When my children were small, l used to have several friends who had children the same age and often I would compare my children to theirs. I wouldn’t do it intentionally, but somehow if I noticed that their child could already spell I would come home and start practicing spelling with my children.  If my neighbor’s child could recite all the states and capitals, I would get flashcards to start teaching them to my babies. I had letters in the refrigerator for them to practice, and everything in our house was labeled at their level so they would start reading faster. I just wanted to make sure I was doing all I needed to do, yet sometimes I felt I wasn’t being a good enough mom.  I finally silenced my fears long enough to be able to hear God’s voice telling me that I was precious the way I was, more than “good enough”.  When I finally received this truth I felt a heavy weight lifted from my shoulders.  I felt I could finally be myself.  No need to pretend that I had it all together, or that my children were perfectly behaved little angels who could read, write and recite all types of information. I didn’t have to worry that I wouldn’t fit in; I wasn’t supposed to.  I can be happy, imperfections and all.  I feel accepted and loved no matter what and I finally appreciate how amazing it is to be unique. 

 How do we silence that voice that keeps telling us that we are not good enough when compared to others?

- Renew your mind:  “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)   Don’t you love the word “renew”? It makes me think of a sea of possibilities; to let go of the bad and embrace the new.  It makes me feel like there is a fresh start each morning, each hour, each minute if I need it.  The opportunity to renew our mind is there, but we have to take it; we have to make the decision and put in the effort.  It is up to us to renew our mind by what we allow in it and what we decide to take out. 

- Know you are unique:  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5) I am unique. God has designated a special mission just for me and He gave me everything I need to complete it; I will glorify Him as I do.  I am me; no one can feel the way I do or see things exactly as I do and that is beautiful. Why would I want to fit in when I am supposed to stand out?    

- Enjoy being you:  “Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)  Why don’t we celebrate more?  We have so many things to be joyful about, like the fact that we are precious in God’s eyes, that we have a purpose or that we are heading toward eternity to live by God’s side.  So much to celebrate!

Who are you comparing yourself to? What is stopping you from being all that God has made you to be and from living the joyful life God has promised? 

By Manuelita