Are You on the List?
Lisa Bevere | September 11, 2018
The following account is a sadly true and embarrassingly ridiculous story about me. I hope none of you has suffered from the temporary insanity disorder I am about to lay down here in words, but if you have experienced this…you are not alone.
My day started out innocently enough. I puttered around the kitchen, hovering in front of my espresso machine. The winter sun was just rising over our backyard. There was no flight to catch. No early morning meeting to shower for. There was perfect stillness.
Which is the very reason I should have paused to bask in God’s goodness to me. I should have known better than to turn on my phone. Believe me…I know now.
As I scanned my Twitter feed, I began to recognize my stream of friends acknowledging a list. This wasn’t just any list. This was the list—one I very much wanted to be part of.
Scanning the names, it wasn’t long before I realized I had not made the list. Just about everyone else I knew was on it. People I had mentored made the list. Someone who translates my books into Spanish had made the list.
You may be wondering…what was this list and why was it so important?
It was a list of the top one hundred female ministers in America.
Ridiculous questions and comparisons flew through my mind. Why hadn’t more than a million books sold and over two decades of traveling and ministering to countless women earned me a place on the list?
Realizing I was teetering ridiculously close to the brink of junior high insanity, I went looking for my husband. A fluffy whirlwind of pajamas, I stormed into his office bewailing, “John, I’m not on the list!”
When my rant was done, he calmly suggested a few Bible passages for me to review. This was not the response I was looking for!
No sympathy was going to be found in the company of my husband. I stormed out of his office yelling, “I don’t need to read those Bible verses to know I am wrong! I know I am wrong! But knowing I am wrong doesn’t make this feel right!”
Have you ever had one of those moments when you feel as though you are on the outside of yourself watching a crazy woman? That’s the moment I was having.
I put down my phone, closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and let it go. As I exhaled, I heard the Holy Spirit gently ask, “Lisa, would you be this upset about the list if you were on it?”
Truth time. I would not have. I would have used my social media platform to retweet as a way of pointing others to the list.
I am the wife of one, the mother of four, and a grandmother, but when I disconnect from my true identity I can still struggle with the cruelty of comparison. In that way, the list was a gift because it located me.
Comparison has a pull to it. If allowed to, it will always move you away from your truest center. We see this in 2 Corinthians, where Paul tells us:
“But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” (10:12 ESV)
And we are not those without understanding.
As fellow leaders in the body of Christ, let’s be diligent to rise above the petty fray of comparison. Let’s not be distracted by the accolades others may be getting. God isn’t concerned with these external things. He’s not worried about whether you made the list. God’s not impressed with how many followers you have on Instagram or how big of a crowd you can speak to.
He’s impressed with faithful obedience. You can always find someone who is ahead of you in some area if you look for it. So stop looking. Someone out there has a bigger audience, is more influential, is a better writer, a more gifted speaker, and so on. Let it go.
Because, at the end of the day, there is only one question that matters, and that’s this—are you being obedient to what God has called you to do? Don’t fall into the comparison trap like I did. How you stack up to others is not something God cares about, so why should you? You aren’t accountable for what anyone else does or doesn’t do.
So stop looking to the right or to the left. Stay in your lane. Fix your eyes straight ahead. Do what God has called you to do with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and let God worry about the rest. Let’s be found among the company of the faithful.
That’s the only list that will matter in the end!