Written by Shawn Naylor
When I was 13, I tried to skateboard for the first time, and I was hooked immediately. I didn’t have my own skateboard, so I would use my friends’ skateboards at recess. As my friends got new boards, I would ask to borrow their old ones.
Eventually, after a while of trying this technique, an older kid was kind enough to give me a skateboard. I was super happy because now I could practice every day on the street where I lived.
In my next stroke of luck, the city decided to begin plans to build a skateboard park; at the time there weren’t any…anywhere. Once the park opened up, it had many ramps and obstacles to enjoy. One obstacle in particular was a set of four stairs — which seemed quite high to my young eyes. At that time, I considered myself fearless; I looked at the stairs and knew I was ready to jump down.
Just as I was about to take off toward the stairs, another skater jumped down in front of me. He was clearly better than me. I immediately compared my beginner skills to his advanced ones, and my courage to was suddenly nowhere to be found. I thought to myself, “What makes me think I can do that?!”
That’s exactly what all the soldiers thought in 1 Samuel when they stared out on the battlefield at Goliath. How could they fight this formidable giant? Before they got to the battle, one can assume that they were ready to go to war and be victorious. Why else would you set up an army?
When David shows up on the scene, he is perplexed; David sees a whole army of God’s chosen people looking at the talents of another and not looking at the talent-giver. In fact, David calls out Goliath with a biblical roast: “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” Boom, roasted. Later, when David finally encounters Goliath, he reaffirms God as the gift giver and trusts in His providence for the victory. David’s courage is not in his talent, but the talent-giver. The soldiers compared themselves to Goliath instead of trusting in the promise of God to supply all their needs in every circumstance.
Comparisons can cause us to back down from our calling. You might be thinking that you don’t have enough of a social media following, or your youth group doesn’t have a great band, outstanding volunteers or a large budget. Whatever you lack, it is okay to desire those things, but do not let the absence of them keep you from your calling.
Remember, 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” What you’re doing—your calling—is good work!
Back to skateboarding: I actually knew I could do the obstacle, but it wasn’t going be like the other skater. I thought of the hours of practice I’d put in on my street, and my courage came back. I didn’t even thinking about the other skateboarder. I was locked in and focused on what I knew I could do. Shortly thereafter, I landed it. To this day I still skate, it’s one of my loves. I’ve accomplished a lot of tricks as a skater, but I might have let all that pass me by because I was looking at someone else and comparing my skill to them, talking myself out of what I was meant to do.
What comparison are you allowing in your life that is killing your courage?