I get phrases stuck in my head. Often they go around and around and around. Something I’ve been thinking on lately is this;
‘keep your eyes on your own paper’
I’m sure you’ve probably heard that statement before, or something similar. It’s a saying that my school teachers used to use at test time.
What did it mean?
At the time, it was the teachers way of telling us not to cheat – it was their way of making sure we didn’t copy other people’s work.
As I’ve been contemplating the phrase it’s taken on a whole new meaning. Now it’s a statement about keeping focused on my own path, the things God has for me, and not on what He’s up to in the life of anyone else.
It’s been really helpful to have a way of reminding myself to enjoy every stage of my journey, even when it feels like I’m taking a ‘long-cut’. It’s a way of telling myself to play to my strength and to trust God for the details of the life He has for me.
I’ve realised lately that it doesn’t seem to matter what age, or stage of life people are at, we all have trouble keeping our eyes on our own paper. People of all walks of life look at the lives of others and want what they have. Even the most successful people do it. The most enviable people do it. People who should know better still seem to do it.
It’s a trap!
The trap begins when we start to look at the lives of other people. Instead of being satisfied and faithful with what God has given us, we can so very easily begin to want what they have. A casual glance instantly turns into full blown jealousy. We fall into sin without even realising it.
Life will test you!
Life will present you with constant opportunities to watch other peoples journey. If you’re not careful, the temptation will be to compare yourself. Comparison by its very nature makes you see what you don’t have, or what you haven’t experienced. When your timing doesn’t match God’s timing, the comparisons you’ve made can lead you to believe you’ve missed out, or worse, that God’s forgotten you.
God hasn’t forgotten you!
If we’re going to avoid all this, we need to remember that God hasn’t forgotten. Then we need to keep our eyes on our own paper. That means we’re going to have to choose not to look around for who’s got it better. We don’t need to be looking at anyone else’s life. Instead, we need to be firmly focused on God’s faithful to us. Then on being faithful with the things God has placed in our hands. Our responsibility is to live and steward the life He has for us, not live someone else’s life.
Things may not turn out as we expect. We may never do the things we see other people doing. We can either allow jealousy to set in, or we can get on with doing everything we can to serve Him where we find ourselves.
So, when you find yourself looking over at someone else’s life, or comparing yourself, do as I do and remind yourself to ‘keep your eyes on your own paper’ – it works for me and I’m sure it will help you too!
Over to you!