Written By: Halina Ostapchuk
If there was one thing that I loved most about living at my parents’ house, it was that my mom would always have fresh flowers either in our kitchen or hallway. Eventually, though, no matter how fun it was to go to floral shops or farmer’s markets to select our favourite blooms, after a few days the flowers would always die. We refreshed the water and trimmed the stems, but eventually the flowers lost their petals. I noticed two things from these experiences. First, each flower is unique. Whether the flower was part of a bouquet or if it was a stand alone stem, the fragrance or beauty never altered. The second thing I realized is you can’t force a flower to thrive in an environment it was not intended for.
If you’re anything like me, then you know what it’s like to struggle with comparison. I’ve come to realize comparing your life to someone else’s is not worth it. Comparison makes experiencing contentment so much harder. Easier said than done, I know.
I’m in my mid-twenties, and it seems every weekend (okay that’s a slight exaggeration… every other weekend), I’m attending or hosting engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, weddings, or baby showers. Now don’t get me wrong. I love planning and participating in these events and I have no problem with genuinely celebrating with my friends and family. However, when these major life celebrations surround you so often, it’s easy to start that comparison game. I wonder…should I be at a different point in my life? Should my priorities be different? Am I missing out?
If you would have asked me in high school what my life would look like in the next five years, my answer would have sounded like this: “I will be married right out of university, have lots of kids, be a stay at home mom, and spend my time volunteering in ministry.” I was convinced I knew exactly how my life would turn out. I was, and still am, very ‘others’ oriented. As long as the important people in my life were happy, I would be happy, right? I was never driven by the thought of a career, and if I’m being honest, I never put much thought into my own dreams and goals.
Fast forward to today. I’ve been out of school for quite a few years now. I’m single, I have a career that I love, God has filled me with passions I would have never dreamed or imagined, and I thrive on being independent. This is not quite what I expected considering my high school predictions. I used to ask: “Why isn’t my life panning out as I planned?” I even prayed that those same life celebrations that other people were experiencing would also happen to me. But then I realized that God had something different for me. He saw potential that I never knew I had.
As they say, hindsight is 20/20. If my life had turned out exactly how I thought it would, I would have never been forced to explore my passions, or been pushed out of my comfort zone. I would have never taken on various leadership roles (didn’t see that coming!), or had the freedom to go where God lead, without anyone or anything holding me back.
To be honest, comparison and the fear of failure are things that will be a constant struggle for me. I always have to stay attuned to the reminder that God didn’t ask me to be her, he asked me to be me! If she is a peony and I am not, then so be it. There is no need for comparison or competition because there is plenty of room for each of us to bloom.
God has planted me where I am, for this moment in time to live out my purpose, whether it be in my workplace, my relationships, or communities where I serve.
I encourage you, wherever God has you planted in this season, bloom with grace and confidence!