02 February 2011


One of my many hobbies is photography. Now, let me back up and emphatically state: I don’t call myself a “photographer”, although I never leave home without my trusty, dusty, I really need a new one, digital camera and a memory card of at least 2GB. (you neva know who (or what) you might see when you are out and about.) I keep my camera with me in order to capture the memories. As I get older, it becomes easier and easier to forget – who I was with, where I’ve been, what I ate – so, if I take a picture, I have something tangible in my hands to look at, hold onto and go “oh yeah, I remember that!”

But, as I have taken more and more pictures, as I “hone my craft” by participating in online contests or just by posting them to my Facebook page or website: I have found myself comparing myself to other “real” photographers. I have several friends who take such wonderfully amazing pictures that I often feel like, “why am I even trying? – I thought I had a good eye, but obviously, I don’t – I should just pack my camera away and never shoot another thing again – EVER!” I expressed this to one of those amazing photographers recently and she responded with the following quote from an ebook she was reading called "Photo NUTS and shots", written by Neil Creek:

"One serious mistake I see many new photographers making is to compare themselves and their photos to other, more experienced photographers, and feel inadequate. Every great photographer was once a beginner, who fumbled with their first camera and made exactly the same mistakes all new photographers make. Do not forget that photography isn’t just about taking jaw-dropping photos, it’s also about capturing memories and emotions. It’s about sharing your experiences with others and your future self."

She then followed this quote with words of encouragement to “keep shooting and keep sharing, Kristina.” Since our conversation, I have taken more pictures and captured more memories and snapshots of my life and for that, I will forever be grateful.

But it got me to thinking, how often do we compare ourselves to others in our Christian walk? How often do we look at a saint in the church and think, “Man, if I had a relationship with Christ like Sister So-and-So does, I’d be straight” – or – “Bro. Man really has his act together. I wish my walk with the Lord was as strong as his.” I know I have been guilty of this. Looking at people when I should have been focusing on Christ. He is the only One Who ever truly had it all together with the Father. The rest of us have just been stumbling along trying to find our way. Behind her leading of the praise team or telling the Children’s Story each week, Sis. So-and-So may be dealing with an abusive husband or with unruly children. And Bro. Man may be struggling with the demons of alcoholism or drug abuse or promiscuous behavior. Don’t let the good suit (or dress) fool ya. Stop comparing yourself to other sinners and look to Jesus Christ, the one and only Example worth comparing yourself (myself) against in your Christian walk.

To wrap this all up, I looked for a Bible text talking about the uniqueness of each child of God. I couldn’t find one that I thought fit “perfectly”, so I offer this passage to you as an encouragement: Matthew 10:29-31, NIV: Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

In other words, God KNOWS you – warts and all – and loves you (in spite of them – or even better, He loves you because of them). He is not expecting you to be anyone other than who you are. And He doesn’t expect you to be anywhere other than where you are right now in your walk with Him. Now, that does not mean that you (I) STAY where you are (I am) right now – we MUST grow in Him – in our relationship with Him, but at the pace He sets for us. And we cannot master that growth if we keep looking around to see what other people are doing. Keep your eyes on Jesus – He is the only One worth comparing yourself to.

Be blessed.

© 2011 Kristina E. Smith
Wednesday, February 02, 2011

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