When their life seems better than yours

“No matter what happens today at this audition,” I gently reminded my two oldest daughters, “God is writing your individual stories, and you can trust Him.”

My husband Ted and I had agreed to let both girls audition in New York City for the eight-month long national tour of a Tony-Award winning musical. Secretly, he and I hoped nothing would result from it, beyond the experience. However, we also knew never to limit what God might do.

From the beginning, we prepared our daughters for the possibility that their individual audition experiences may differ greatly.

“What if one of you is offered a role and the other isn’t?” I asked, long before we bought plane tickets or even booked a hotel. “Will you be okay if something like that happens?”

They each eagerly assured me that they would be.

Yet, as many of us know, to mentally prepare for a loss is not the same as to emotionally experience that loss.

One of my daughters was cut by mid-afternoon. Her dream of being cast in this particular show was shattered. The other daughter was called back for a second day of auditions. She went on to be offered a role, which she accepted.

There are moments when I secretly reflect on my life and internally base its value on how it compares to that of others.

As I navigated the tricky terrain of simultaneously mourning with one daughter while celebrating with the other, I strove to focus their attention on this concept of life as a story and God as its Author. I encouraged them not to compare their lives with one another, but to instead trust that God’s ultimate plan for each of them was good.

Yet, even though I confidently tell my daughters this, not just on audition weekends but regularly, there are times when I struggle to believe it for myself. There are moments when I secretly reflect on my life and internally base its value on how it compares to that of others.

Is my story as good as theirs? Is it as interesting? Or as meaningful?

Maybe you can relate. It could be that you too battle the tendency and temptation to compare your life with that of others. If that’s the case, here are three things I have to be purposeful to tell myself. Perhaps they’ll encourage you too.

Your story is unique

God hasn’t randomly drawn my name out of a hat and haphazardly assigned specific life events to me, even though it may feel like it at times. Instead, He’s carefully crafting a unique life story not only for my daughters, but for me too. The same is true for you and your life.

Yet, if you and I are too busy comparing our lives with that of a friend, family member, or even celebrity, we’re going to miss the unique purposes and opportunities He specifically has for us. Comparison can blind us to the beauty of our own individual stories.

Comparison can blind us to the beauty of our own individual stories.

Your story is penned with hope

It’s much easier to believe my story is a good one when day-to-day life goes well. It’s harder when devastating loss hits or heartbreaking difficulty happens. In the hard chapters of life, hope can seem non-existent. I can quickly feel like my entire story is one of despair and pointlessness. It could be you’ve felt the same way.

However, if you and I determine to believe that God is attentive and active in our lives, we can be reminded that our stories are always penned with hope. What is this hope? It’s that even in the darkest of moments, God promises to walk through the pain and grief with us. No matter how hard life gets, we are never alone.

If you and I determine to believe that God is attentive and active in our lives, we can be reminded that our stories are always penned with hope.

Your story is part of a greater narrative

My story isn’t an isolated tale. Neither is yours. Rather, both are part of a greater narrative, one being told by God from the beginning of time. It’s the epic story of a loving Creator set on, as author N.D. Wilson writes, “slaying the dragon to save the girl.”

When we remember this, it can help keep our lives and the challenges we experience in perspective. These unique stories of ours play a part in this centuries-long narrative that God is writing. That is no small thing.

Last month, the eight-month-long national tour ended. If you were to ask my daughter, who wasn’t cast, how she feels now, you might be surprised by her answer. Sure, she’ll tell you how fun it would have been to tour. But she’ll also smile and recall in detail the amazing plot twists God has penned in her life since that audition and how grateful she is for them.

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