Are you feeling disadvantaged?
Have you ever felt like you had a disadvantage in sports? Perhaps your opponent had better equipment, better training, more experience, or just more fans cheering them on. What about at your job? Did you ever think that you could get a promotion if you had the same degree as Sally, or the same good timing that Fred always seemed to have? Maybe you’ve just felt disadvantaged at life in general from time to time. Why is it that the Joneses seemed to always be ahead? They have a nicer car, a nicer house, their kids are perfect and never talk back, and of course Mr. Jones is loved by everyone. I feel that way sometimes and I’m actually a Jones myself.
There are two things that I think can help rid us of that low feeling of being at a disadvantage. I’m sure there are more, but these two things have helped me to not focus so much on what I don’t have, and instead recognize what I do have. So, the first thing is to be content.
It’s not always easy to be content with everything that life throws your way. You can get so wrapped up in what everyone else has, that you fail to see that you are a lot better off than you could be. In fact, many of the people you are measuring yourself against could just be in more debt that you. Here’s a positive spin on reality. If you have a paid off 1998 Corolla, you may actually have more net worth than your neighbor that just bought a brand-new Tesla on credit yesterday. Now you can look at his shiny car and smile instead of letting it get you down.
You might also stop and think about how privileged we are to live in America. You’ve heard it said that we are richer than 99% of the rest of the world even if we are the poorest in the US. When you think about it that way, then we are all Joneses than the entire world is trying to keep up with.
Lastly, being content is much easier when you realize what’s really important in life is not how big your house is, or how much money you have in the bank. It is about how many relationships you have created, and most importantly, how good your relationship is with the one that created you.
Your disadvantage may actually be an advantage:
The second thing that helps me when I’m feeling disadvantaged, is the see how God may be using this situation to put me at an advantage. Now, I know that doesn’t make a lick of sense, but it is true. Take for example the story of Pharaoh and Joseph. There are two unlikely winners in this story. The obvious one is Joseph. He went through more than many of us will ever go through, but God used all of it to his advantage. The negative things that happened to him only led him closer to living out the dream that God gave him.
The other unlikely winner was Jacob. Something few people think about is the fact that God gave the dream about the oncoming famine to Pharaoh instead of Jacob. The dream that God gave Pharaoh allowed him to make Egypt the most powerful nation in the world. It caused other nations to come and basically beg him for food. No one else had any food during that famine.
I mean, why didn’t God just give Jacob that dream instead? Didn’t He promise his grandfather that He would make of him a great nation? It would have been a huge advantage for Jacob’s family to know about the 7 years of plenty and the subsequent 7 years of famine. Pharaoh would have been begging Israel for grain instead of the other way around.
I’ll tell you why God gave Pharaoh what seemed like an advantage. All that power went to Pharaoh’s head. It caused him to think that he was a god. Do you think maybe Jacob would have done the same? Instead, Jacob gave God the credit for taking care of his family during the famine. A family became a strong nation that trusted God due to what seemed like a disadvantage at the start. Also, remember the fact that God took care of them all along the way. That’s what He is doing for you today too.