by Akan Nweke
Going through a friend’s album on Facebook, I had to decide on what particular brand of emotion was flooding my heart. Was it admiration, grudging admiration or downright envy? Her skin glowed, she had a Masters, a cute baby, lived in the UK, she looked very beautiful in her nice clothes and above all she looked like she had achieved all her dreams.
I know, I know, that’s a whole lot for pictures to reveal but to my eyes it looked that way. I finally decided that what I felt was admiration. Yes, just admiration! But I hope God didn’t think otherwise.
Everywhere I look now, I see young people achieving things that I am still dreaming about. Some 19 year olds have book deals, some 20 year olds are music stars, some other people are multimillion naira entrepreneurs, and some others are well; just living in America and the UK and looking like a million dollars.
I know I‘m not the only one who does this; sitting down and thinking everyone else is getting ahead and leaving you behind. There was a time in 2006 when I felt that everybody I knew had a laptop and I swore that I would not let the next year pass by without my having one. I’ve only recently bought one and all of a sudden, I find out that my earlier preconception was so wrong!
After graduating from college in 2006, it seemed to me also that everyone I knew had gotten their Masters by 2009 and I can remember battling with self loathing and wondering thoughts along the lines of “is me be this?”
It was only when I finally decided it was time to get a Masters that I realised that it was only my subconscious exaggerating the number of my friends who had post graduate degrees.
I can go on and on about how my mind has made me feel inferior and insecure about the achievements of my peers, contemporaries and most significantly my juniors.
Scripture says in 1st Corinthians 10: 12b “….but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise”.
We have all been created by God with unique destinies. This truth has been spoken over and over but it seems we all do well with some reminders. Unique destinies, unique ethnicities, unique nationalities, unique geographical locations, unique contacts, unique families, unique challenges etc all make for a truly well rounded world.
I can remember wondering once why I was a Nigerian and not an American and then God led me to a verse in the book of Acts, Chapter 17 vs 26 “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.”
Wow! So even the boundaries of our habitation were appointed? But why? For a unique purpose! There’s a reason why you’re Nigerian and living in Nigeria at this time, so quit comparing.
We all want to be successful; doing well in whatever we do and scaling hurdles all the way. But if we constantly look over our shoulders, comparing ourselves with other people, the only result we’ll get is a crippling feeling of self loathing. There would always be people who seem to be getting ahead faster and it would be pretty unwise to put up yourself against a back drop of their successes. The only success that makes sense is success at being what God has called you to be. Anything else is, as they say, “On Your Own”!
There is a place for a critical appraisal of where you are at every point in time and allowing yourself be challenged by what other people have achieved but wanting to live their lives because it seems better is a recipe for disaster and a rubbishing of what God intends to do with your own unique circumstance.
The Lord has told me, “Akan, you would just have to trust me daily to reveal my unique purpose for your life; quit looking at other people and just stay with me”. I’m staying with him, folks because it’s so much easier and less nerve wracking.
So, my Facebook friend may in fact be having the time of her life (I’m happy for that), or on the other hand, may just not have it as rosy as I think. All in all; it’s her own unique journey and I’ll do well to face mine. And while all these thoughts were going through my mind, God sends encouragement my way through another friend who says to me that I serve as a source of inspiration to her.
Hmm, so I’m succeeding at something after all!