We often envy the successes of others and try to emulate what they did to achieve the same results. It’s not bad, but let’s remember that God has made us all unique and so we all have our own story to write.
God sees wisdom as an essential asset in his children’s lives. A complete book in the Bible encourages us to pursue wisdom and increase our intelligence by receiving the guidance of the wise. “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11.14 ESV) Even in the New Testament, we are exhorted to seek wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1.5 ESV) We learn by following the teachings of those who have succeeded where we also want to be successful. Sometimes, on the contrary, it is by considering the errors of our predecessors that we establish what to do.
But the wisdom of men and experiences around us should not be our only source of direction. “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.” (Isaiah 48.17 ESV) Always remember that it is not because something has worked for another person that it will work for us. It is not because our friend found her husband on a dating website that this method is for us. Conversely, it’s not because our other friend had a very bad online experience that all users are perverts!
Perhaps you’ve already heard the popular saying: “You’ll find your husband (or your wife) when you’re going to stop looking for him (or her)!” If some people actually found their partner while they were on a break in their research, that does not mean that’s what we all have to do! Abraham sent his servant to seek a wife for his son. And what about Ruth who took the first steps towards her Boaz? But conversely, Abigail did not seek to remarry after her husband Nabal died: it was David who was looking for her (1 Samuel 25:39). To each his own story!
The same goes for pursuing your calling. It is not because all your friends have been to Bible school that you too must attend a Bible school to serve God powerfully. The training received is always very positive, but God does not need a certificate to use you. If your friends flourish while serving in the youth of your church, it does not mean that God has placed the same calling on your life. Every child of God must take the time to seek the will of God for his own life. Jesus compared us to sheep, not because He wants us to follow each other, but so that we are ready to follow him, the good Shepherd.
Of course, there are some absolutes. We all need to eat, drink, sleep and have a personal relationship with God. But what we eat or drink, and the amount varies enormously from person to person. Even the way we delight in the Presence of God is very different from one person to the next. In fact, it may even change during your lifetime! We can draw on the testimonies of others, but let us always follow God to define ourselves.
How can you know the will of God? By talking with God (prayer), listening to what He has to say to us (Bible) and spending time with Him (worship). We can start with small questions: “How do you want me to behave at work today?” “What should I put into practice from the teaching I received at the Sunday morning service?” When we are willing to listen to him, He takes advantage of that! The more we listen to Him, the more He will guide us in all the major decisions of our lives. “The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.” (Isaiah 50.4 ESV)
Dear reader: write your own story. Do not be discouraged by the success of others; consider them rather as proof that God can act as powerfully for you. Refuse jealousy or envy, stop comparing yourself, questioning yourself or imitating others. Find your way, following what God has put before you. Because the final destination He has planned for you is glorious!