By Dana Herndon
Do you ever jump right into trying to achieve a goal you’re excited about, pouring everything you have into it? You’re met with obstacles, yet you continue to persevere. Then someone achieves the same goal before you do. It also looks as though they achieved it with minimal effort. You instantly feel deflated; the excitement and drive drain right out of you with a whoosh.
This has happened to all of us, and probably more than once. Sometimes it feels as though other people are knocking it out of the park left and right while we’re still swinging the bat.
When this happens to me, I just want to quit. I feel as if there is no point for me to work for this goal when so many people have already accomplished it. I mean, what difference am I going to make anyway?
I’ve recently been hit with several goal-related rejections, and I’m discouraged. It’s so tempting to say, “Forget it.” Negative thoughts are on repeat in my brain: It’s all been done. You will never succeed. You’re not good enough. So many others are better than you. You have nothing worthwhile to contribute.
It’s so easy to give in to this mindset. But let me tell you, following God’s path for your life will make a difference. You will make a difference. You do have something worthwhile to contribute. The Lord has a specific purpose for each of us. While that purpose may look similar to someone else’s, yours is yours alone.
This past May, author Sophie Hudson spoke at a women’s conference at my church. She shared about several topics from her book Giddy Up, Eunice. Sophie writes about the importance of women supporting one another, especially cross-generationally. Several things she said stuck with me, but one idea really jumped out. It is so simple and so true. She told us another woman’s calling neither hinders nor diminishes our own.
We need to remember that we shouldn’t compare ourselves to other people. We all know this. I have said this to my children and students many times. Most likely that person who seems to have achieved overnight success, didn’t. However, not comparing ourselves to others is easier said than done.
Two Bible references I use often in my classroom are Colossians 3:23 and Proverbs 3:4–5. While they are familiar verses, don’t let them become trite:
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23 NKJV).
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5–6 NKJV).
It may not seem glamorous, it may not be particularly what you envisioned, but your purpose, your God-honoring goal, is so important.
Scrap your own plans and ask the Lord what he would have you do. Ask him to guide you. Do this by praying, reading the Bible, and attending worship. This will keep you in sync with the Lord, your thoughts attuned to him.
Goals are great; we need them. Plans are great, and a good plan keeps everything running smoothly. However, goals and plans become worthless without the Lord. Simply put, we are created to glorify him. If we rely on ourselves to succeed, we will continue to stress and strive with paltry results. We need to ask ourselves daily how can we glorify the Lord with our goals and plans.
As I care for my wounds in this season of rejection, I’m going to diligently continue to study my Bible, pray, and seek the Lord’s direction for my life.
Dana Herndon is a writer and blogger as well as an elementary and middle school teacher. She and her husband live in Georgia with their three children. In addition to teaching and writing, Dana loves to read, watch Food Network and HGTV, follow politics, and paddleboard. She blogs at danaherndon.com.
Photograph © Anter Blackbird, used with permission