Turn on your television, browse the Internet or flip through the pages of some popular magazines and what will you see? You'll see images of success everywhere. You'll see popular, smiling, good looking people with perfect teeth, perfect hair, fit bodies, big houses, fancy cars, money to spare, happy families, amazing talents, thriving careers and everything else you DO NOT have. Compare yourself to any of them and what happens? You will feel the pressure of not measuring up. Man! If I was just a few inches taller. Man! If I was just a few sizes smaller. Man! If I just had a better job. Man! If I could just do something with these gray hairs that keep popping out. Man! If my knees would just stop hurting me. Man! If someone would just notice me. Goodness! My name is not AIR. I'm not transparent. Give me a chance!

2 Corinthians 10:12(NKJV) - For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

Comparison is so dangerous. When you compare yourself to other people it is not wise. Nothing good usually comes out of it. If you look down, you'll feel like you're higher than you really are. If you look up you'll feel like you're lower than you really are. If you look around you'll feel average. When we measure ourselves among ourselves, we measure with a sliding scale which is skewed in whatever direction the world wants it to be. The scale changes suddenly so even if we measure up today, tomorrow we might be big disappointments.

If any of this connects with you, keep reading. Welcome to today's blog. If you enable the audio capabilities of the device you are using to read this message right now you will hear the song, "Pressure" from Jonathan McReynolds playing in the background. Scroll down and you'll also see the video. All I can say is "Wow!" That song has been ministering to my soul for the last two days. The Lord has been using this brother to speak the powerful truth which has the power to bring freedom in every way. He's been assigned to remind me of what really matters.

John 21:19-22(NLT) - Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.” Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?” Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”

Take a look at that fascinating exchange between Peter and Jesus. After Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him, Jesus told Peter how he would die as a martyr. Peter looked around and saw John. So He asked Jesus about John. Jesus' response was classic; "Why is that any of your business? You follow me!" Wow! Jesus made it clear that what He called Peter to do was between Peter and Him and what He called John to do was between John and Him. He didn't want Peter comparing himself to John. That's the Word of The Lord for us too. You be who God created you to be and do what He created you to do. Don't worry about what anyone else is doing or not doing.

Revelation 12:11(KJV) - And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

This topic is close to my heart because just like you, I have had to deal with this in my own life. Let me be real with you for a minute. The pressure is real. Ministry pressure, career pressure, social pressure, etc. abound and have done so for years. Yet, nothing and nobody puts more pressure on me than I do. Everyday I wake up, everything I do, everywhere I go, I constantly remind myself that I could be better and I could do so much better. I'm 35 years old and I wonder, "What have I done with my life?"

When I look around at the kinds of amazing things people have accomplished at my age around this earth I'm reminded that I'm nowhere close to the best. So what do I do? I work harder. I try harder. I think harder. And what happens? Nothing really. I just end up tired. Tired of trying and getting mixed results. Tired of giving it everything yet not getting everything in return. Tired of wondering when I'll finally get invited to join the others at the top. Tired of getting a pat on my back and the customary "Good job. You're the man." Then nothing but the sound of crickets when it's time for something substantial.

I thought the system was "merit-based". At least that's what I was told by those who seem to be enjoying the benefits. If you work hard, it will happen for you too, they said. 🙂 Umm.. really. So, where does that leave me? LOL! I stopped being angry about it a while ago. I can laugh about it now but there was a stage in my life when it was not funny at all. Thankfully, God was with me all along and one day, He decided to kick in the door and turn things around. Now I have a testimony and it's real. If God brought me through the pressure I was under during some of the toughest seasons of my life He can do the same for you.

Psalms 139:13-18(NLT) - You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

Lord, how can I thank you? I know the truth and it cannot be taken from me. I matter to you. I mattered to you while I was in my mother's womb. I mattered to you the day I was born. You made me exactly the way you wanted me to be. I'm not in a competition with random people all over the world. I am in a competition with my best self. Your expectation is that I be the man you created me to be and I do what you created me to do. You laid out all the days of my life in full detail before it started. You spoke the end of it before the beginning. You did it. It was you all along. I love you.

Romans 12:2(NLT) - Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Oh, you're still reading. I just had a little personal time with The Lord there. Now, back to the blog. Don't be a copy of anyone else but let your thoughts match God's thoughts concerning you. Renew your self-image by seeking out your true self through the scriptures. It's time to discover your purpose. Aren't you curious to find out what God had in mind when He laid out the days of your life? Find out now.

One of the greatest sources of pressure is the lack of knowing who you are and what you were born to do. It's easy to measure yourself against other people when you are unable to measure yourself by your best self. If you don't know who you are you won't know what's best for you. Changing yourself to match what you see around you is a fruitless exercise. Find out who you are and just be you. If you need help, we have resources available at Well Done Online.

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