2 Corinthians 10:12 [NIV] states, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” I particularly like the [Message] version of this scripture that reads this way instead; “But in all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point.” Unhealthy competition and comparison can be two of the most self-destructive forces. It’s an ugly cycle that we get ourselves into which can begin early on in our lives. Most of you can think back to the very first time you ever felt rejected or inadequate. While there are some forms of healthy competition, the unhealthy forms can mold us into personalities that are always seeking what the person next to us has instead of being grateful for what we are blessed with already. We begin to compare our purpose to others purpose and our progress to others progress which rears this negativity that is toxic not only to our lives but to the lives of everyone around us. I encourage you today to focus on the positive things in your life – regardless of what everyone else either has or is doing in their life. Walk in your God-given purpose with the gifts that He has given to YOU. When we learn to do this, we can be free to just come to the feet of Jesus and say, “this is how you made me and I am well with it.” There is such freedom in that statement. It frees you from the need and tendency to measure yourself against others that are running in an entirely different course of life than you are. Let’s learn to develop and grow at our own pace and celebrate those around us as they grow and develop at their pace. Some may be further along than you, some may not have reached where you are yet; nevertheless we will celebrate one another as well as embrace ourselves in exchange for the competition and comparison. Today, we trade shame for happiness.