Happy New week.
I’m bringing back this post from March 2017. It’s still 100% relevant to our time. Zero comparison allowed. Enjoy!!
Today, I wanna talk about this topic because I believe it is so timely, and I have basically seen God deal with me with this, so I get it.
STRETCHED, But in your lane!!!
This post has been stewing in my spirit for a while but I knew I would run this finally today by Friday last week. Then on Sunday, God just woke me up with this Scripture, and as I meditated on it, I knew it was the foundation Scripture for this Post.
Psalms 73 v 2
But I nearly missed it, missed seeing HIS goodness. I was looking the other way… MSG
But I had nearly lost confidence, my faith was almost gone… GNT
I was at this conference and then someone asked a question to the panelists, of which I was one, Her question went something like
She sees people doing XYZ, striding on so powerfully, and that she just knows that she is not that kind of person who can just do this and that, wake early, work long hours, etc. so when she keeps seeing everyone around her be like that, almost super women, she just gets discouraged and it kinda even slows her down more.
I was getting ready to leave so I didn’t get the chance to answer her, but as someone else answered her and I heard as I was leaving, I heard the person say something like…
Oh, I am not like Eziaha, who can wake up in the night, brandishing swords in prayers, and has so much energy and passion, etc…
And then just as I walked out, it hit me
WHY DO WE EVEN WANT TO BE LIKE ANY BODY ELSE?
Because, it is so easy to see someone who seems to be stretching to accomplish all that God has in store for her, and then we are looking at her methods – maybe she prays 4 to 7 hours a day, can run on 3 hours of sleep, etc. – and we suddenly start to lose our confidence, our passion, our faith, and nearly miss it, like Asaph did in the text above.
Do you even KNOW what God has deposited in that person AND THEN turns around and DEMANDS of that person, even as she stretches? Do you KNOW the kind of grace with which she runs her life? Do you even KNOW her life’s assignments and all that it requires her to do and be?
That Chick is IN HER LANE and right in that lane, SHE IS STRETCHED and STRETCHING. We are not called to copy and ape every single method that she employs in achieving it. We can be inspired by her, but to copy her? No!!!
We are all on assignment here on earth. Our assignments differ, and so do our methods, but one thing that I am sure of is that to accomplish anything God has put in us, WE MUST STRETCH!!! In that lane God has placed us in, if we fix our focus on it, we will see the demands that it is placing on us. It can be totally be different from another person’s own, and may not even look as demanding or glamorous if we judge in a human way, but it doesn’t reduce the importance of your own work, lane and stretch.
In Asaph’s case, the Psalmist above, he took his eyes away from his own path and he started to really look at sinners and see how they were prospering. In fact whenever I read that chapter, I am like this dude really abandoned his lane and started studying others, so at some point, he was now talking absolute rubbish. I had to laugh when he said something like their bodies are healthy. Like, you look sotay you can notice that they live in health too? Lol.
Then, the more he looked, the more he downplayed his own journey. He started to look down on his own assignments and good deeds (v13-14). He started to think all his efforts at life were in vain, and was just spewing out nonsense. The same nonsense we are prone to spew out, or maybe let the chatterbox yada yada yada to us because we are off track.
Then he further said that when he tried to make sense of all his foolish talk, his comparison with the lives of others and so on, from that mindset, all he got was a splitting headache (MSG V 16). The AMPC says
But when I considered how to understand this, it was too great an effort for me and too painful…
Of course, it will be hard to understand. It is an unfair, an unequal and frankly, a STUPID COMPARISON with the wrong motives.
Asaph was comparing himself with flat out sinners, but for most of us, we don’t have a problem with sinners. We are just comparing our lives with those we see on social media.
How is she like this?
How does she get to be a this, that and those and still be a super mom?
How is she in ministry, has 3 businesses, 3 kids and still has her life together while I am falling apart from the one business I started?
Now don’t get me wrong Hun, it is OK to sometimes ask those questions, but WHY are you asking them?
Because you are trying to copy her life? Has God graced you for that like He did her?
Do you KNOW what season of life she is in?
Do you KNOW the full story behind her life?
No, you don’t. You just think she is better than you because she is this way and you are NOT.
I think this is something that we easily fall into, at least most of us. We just want to be like this other person. We wish we had her kinda life. We wish we had her personality type which just drips of GOAL GETTER.
We soon start to feel like God kept somethings out when He was creating us. If only He made us like that, we too would have the results they have.
But that is not true. GOD PACKED OUR BAGS AND LEFT NOTHING OUT. Everything we need is within us, we just need to stretch into it. Not everyone is going to be as passionate and pumped as Christine Caine when they preach BUT if they work their personality and apply some self discipline, they can reach the people God wants them to reach too.
Look at the parallel between TD Jakes and Joel Osteen (sorry, I mostly use preachers as examples because that is my life mehn).
You cannot listen to Jakes seated. You cannot stand up to listen to Joel Osteen, lol. But is one better than the other? Does the fact that Joel talk small small and maintains a 3steps to the left, 3 steps to the right movement mean I am not going to be blessed? I was streaming Joel’s service yesterday and listening to hism this morning and I was like chai 25mins and this guy has wrecked my life with the truth of the Word. Bishop’s sermons are usually at least an hour. Does it mean that Joel doesn’t spend time prepping for the Word? Does that mean he is not stretching? You and I know that the faith that got them the COMPAQ Center is not the kinda faith you develop through nights of long sleep. His church is a STADIUM yawl!!!
And he barely whispers to preach!!!
They are JUST in their lanes. The day either decides to BE like the the other, they will have Asaph’s testimony of getting a splitting headache.
I dunno exactly what Joel’s behind the secnes look like but I know that dude is STRETCHING!!!
I dunno what Bishop’s BTS look like but I KNOW He cant be sleeping to be fighting all the devils he fights.
They are BOTH STRETCHED AND IN THEIR LANE!!!
Another stupid thing we do is compare unequal seasons!!! We compare our season 1 with someone else’s season 8. Of course YOU MUST COME UP SHORT!!! I have been there, done that, and I blogged about it in the post on AUTHENTICALLY ME!!! (Dunno if that link is still available because someone just messed up my blog archives). And when we do that, we also don’t even know the full back story behind someone else’s success story.
I recall at Queen’s arising, Bowale’s profile was quite intimidating. 3 kids, 3 businesses, a ministry for kids, a Pastor’s wife, and so on.
I am never intimidated by things like that. I just truly celebrate and just wanna hear their story. Thankfully, someone asked her a question that made her say some things.
She said she had 2 nannies, a driver, in her businesses, she had literally taken the time to pour out her spirit into her managers, and not only that, she made them part owners in the biz so they treat it like their’s. she now says she even wakes up at 730 or so, because her husband helps her get the kids ready for school, and so on.
Do you see the back story?
B didn’t wake up and become this SUPER WOMAN!!!
I am privileged to have an older friend who I think is like Bowale, but has a totally different story. She is a FT SAHM, she has NO business, NO help, and NO ministry. Plus her hubby CANNOT help out like that. She was a BANKER before, and a super one at that but as mommyhood began, those things started to give. She has not been very lucky with helps so is still looking for one. She has dreams, is so intelligent and I know that she will SLAY her next when her current season passes. Imagine if she now starts to compare her life with B’s? Would that not be plain foolishness? Gosh, she is a MODEL MOM!!! Her kids are almost edible. So polite, so intelligent, so respectful. Ah!!! In fact, for a season,s he had to home school IN THIS NIGERIA ooo and I know how much of a stretch that was for her.
My friend stays in her lane and right in that lane, she is STRETCHED!!!
See ehn, not everyone will tell you the FULL BACK STORY but if you lean in, you will see it.
Another person I like to highlight is Heather. I absolutely adore Heather and there was a time I thought her life was just intimidating because she just managed to smash all her goals and look like a DIVA while at it. I always felt like such a loser with her. Like, she would make her family WATER if she could.
Then God started to show me the back story that I was missing.
HEATHER HAS A VILLAGE OF HELPERS!!!
You know, if you follow H, you would know that she only recently started being very open about it, but I recall sharing with the first TFS set for the year that I had picked out Heather’s life totally, and I am just like
‘GURL, SLAY THAT LANE… No pressures’
I love that she is now a bit more open about it though, cos it will set more people free. I recall gisting with one of my Propel Chicks who said she used to compare herself with H until she too started to see that the comparison was unfair.
Two kids, and ministry and many more, yup, but she has her MIL practically living with her, 5days a week, she has a nanny, she has a cleaning lady come in, a home schooling teacher, people from the church come in to help from time to time, an Assistant Julie who is a beast, and a TECH Assistant too who shoots all her videos, AND MORE!!!. Plus she lives in a relatively sane society where you can actually plan and external factors wont screw it up.
Now that is not to say H spends all day asleep. No, God has increasingly and progressively sent Heather helpers as her roles in life increased and she continues to stretch into achieving all her assignments.
That Chick stretches, and that is something worth emulating.
The fact that she is stretching and IN HER LANE.
Imagine if Chris Caine decides that ah, to be a good mom, she must homeschool, prep all her family meals from scratch, do the shopping personally, attend ALL her kids games and practices, and tuck them to bed in every night? Lol. So funny.
I adore her passionately!!!
I have heard Chris ask where is all that ‘mommyness’ in her DNA? She cannot be the Heather kinda mom, and Heather cannot be the Chris kinda world changer. You CANNOT RUN A21 and have time to be cooking meals and stuff from scratch, lol. None of them LOVE their kids any less or are any more important than the other.
Both of them are STRETCHING in their different lanes, and changing the world in their own ways.
Kai, God created us and He knows what STRETCHING means to each of us. He sees what we cannot do BUT He also KNOWS what we can do but are slacking on because it is not quite like Eziaha’s. or Heather’s. Or Funto’s. He sees our full schedules and also sees the time we waste on FB or IG. He sees when we disobey the nudge to go to bed NOW because we want to spend that extra one hour browsing, and then we cannot wake up on time to QT.
He sees it all. He is not asking you to be like anyone else. He has work for you, and that work may be different in structure and output, but we can bank on the fact that it will STRETCH you, because that is what the GRACE He has given you is for.
Let’s go back to Asaph for a quick second
17a… Until I entered the Sanctuary of God
That is when everything began to come together for him. He had to take His eyes off looking at others and focus on just what God was saying to and showing him…
That, my sisters, is what we need to be and do.
Go open your Bible and sit with God and ask Him to define what He wants us to do. Make our lane clear and then give us grace to obey it. Help us to stretch BUT WITHIN OUR LANE , and not try to be like X or Y. Trust me, He will show you.
And then you will see that you sef have WORK to do.
The only time I start to have the Asaph kinda splitting headache is when I start to take my eyes away from my goal
I love these verses below SO MUCH…
Maybe a little too much cos I will spam you…
Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust… MSG
25 Keep your eyes on the path, and look straight ahead.26 Make sure you are going the right way, and nothing will make you fall. 27 Don’t go to the right or to the left, and you will stay away from evil… ERV
25 Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you.
26 Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright.
27 Turn not aside to the right hand or to the left; remove your foot from evil… AMPC
Don’t look to the left or right to the point where you start to water down your own path.
Your assignment MAY be different but no less important.
We are all part of the BODY OF Christ and the heart cannot claim any more importance than the feet. We all have our part to play and you cause wahala when you abdicate your part.
Let me end with my Psators who model this so well for me.
I just LOVE Pastors Kingsley and Mildred Okonkwo.
I have never seen people stay on their lane like them. PK NEVER grants interviews, and is that NOT funny? A Pastor who stays off the Press? Lol.
In fact, that’s how I went to buy one magazine because I thought he really granted interview only for me to see that it was 95% Pastor M speaking, lol.
The way DCC is run ehn, it is like they are just focused on the path God has them on. It doesn’t have to look like how X or Y run theirs. DCC just does their thing, and it is so beautiful to behold.
Pastor M especially just stays on her lane mehn.
It is like she lives in a world that has just her and God, and then we see incredible results. Nothing any ministry does interests her at all. In this her lane, I see how she stretches to fulfill her assignments.
Like, I said, it is beautiful to behold.
Can we just stay in our lanes? Can we all STRETCH into more, but remain in our lanes?
That’s how I am committed to live until Jesus comes.
STRETCHED but in my lane!!!