When I graduated high school I was the valedictorian. (I cringe to think of what nonsense I probably said in my speech.) Don't be too impressed; it was a class of thirteen. Then I graduated college with a 4.0. I'm not saying all of this to brag just to let you know that I come to my work with a viewpoint of doing the best I can. And occasionally that best has been better than someone else's best. That's not always the case; high school and college are both years in the past now.
Now when I start questioning my abilities I want to stop everything. I want to stop going out in public because people might make judgments about me. (They will.) I want to stop playing the piano because so many people are better than I am. I want to hide and let fear win. But that's not the best option. You can't quit life because someone else possesses more skills and abilities than you do. And you certainly can't quit life because people aren't always going to like you.
Five Steps for Moving Forward
1. What God thinks about you is what counts.
I'm trying to remind myself that what really matters is what God thinks. This circles back to my tendency to people-pleasing. I want to only care what God (and my husband) think of me. But sometimes even what I think of me drags me down. I'm trying to replace my feelings with what God says because my feelings really don't matter at all. Confidence comes from obedience, not feelings.
2. You are not responsible for your talent, only for your work.
In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) the men weren't responsible for how many talents they got, just for what they did with them. Likewise, I'm not responsible for my talent, only for my hard work. I didn't get to choose what talents or abilities God gave me. I do get to choose how hard I work at what God has placed in front of me. I didn't get to give myself an ability to play the piano by ear, but I can choose how much I practice and how focused my practice is.
3. Don't compare. Work from a place of passion.
I must stop comparing. I want to start thinking, "Oh, I LOVE doing this!" instead of wanting to say I'm good at it and realizing I can't because a large proportion of society probably does that exact same thing much better. But if I do it from a place of passion and give it to God to use for Him instead of seeking glory for myself...if He can use that ability for His kingdom, for some eternal work, then that is enough. I must keep myself from focusing on whether others are impressed or not. That is not the point of life. I don't want to strive to impress others. Do it with love. Do it with excellence. Do it out of obedience.
4. Remember you are always improving.
I must remember that I'm learning every day. That's why I show up to the work with all my might every single day. That's why I learn from wiser people, why I take classes, why I read books, why I listen to podcasts, why I write to straighten out my thoughts. Because I am learning. In five years I will look back and be amazed at how far I have come. Especially when day by day there seemed to be no difference.
5. Realize what you are.
I am just the glove. The hands, the feet, the voice, the eyes that God uses. God supplies the power. I can do nothing by myself and God wants it that way. When it is obvious that I can't do anything God gets all the glory for the results.
Recognize those feelings of inferiority. Beverly Hyles once said, "You'll never be what God wants you to be as long as you hold yourself back by feeling inferior." I will never be the best at anything. But I can tackle my work with excellence and passion.
Don't let not being THE best keep you from being YOUR best. They are two different things. Whatever work God has given you deserves your excellence.
"Be the best you that you can be." Marlene Evans