A few years ago I reconnected with a friend from high school. I was applying for a job at her company and asked for feedback on my resume. She said it looked good and sent me hers for reference. I was floored by her achievements. Ivy League school, internships with the federal government in foreign countries, started a nonprofit while in school. I felt small and mediocre in comparison, and wondered if I had wasted the past few years.

Several weeks later, we got lunch to catch up. I told her about my trips to Asia, my experience working with special needs students, and all the personal lessons from the past few years. She said “Wow, Joel, I’m really impressed. You’ve had a wonderful few years and I wish I had your experiences.” 

Every person has their own journey and their own lessons. I have wasted too much time wishing that my life would be different and comparing myself to others. It’s good and right to be inspired and challenged by others, but envy and jealousy are unhelpful. I am still learning how to appreciate the accomplishments of others without allowing myself to feel diminished.

A heart of peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. – Proverbs 14:30

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