How was your bank holiday? Did you catch some sun? BBQ in the rain? Argue with your family in IKEA? (insert other British bank holiday stereotype here)?
I spent most of the weekend at Big Church Day Out, a two-day Christian music festival in Sussex. In amongst singing in the rain, singing in the sun. dancing in the rain (at one point I had to wring the excess rainwater out of my dress), dancing in the sun, eating hot doughnuts, observing some ridiculous sunburn (WHY DO YOU PEOPLE NOT WEAR ENOUGH SUNCREAM?! SKIN DAMAGE IS REAL Y’ALL), braving portaloos, being reminded of the wondrous and baffling diversity of those who follow Jesus, paying £2.30 for a cup of tea (48 HOURS LATER AND I’M STILL OUTRAGED BY THIS DAYLIGHT ROBBERY) and listening to some great music mostly about Jesus and such related themes I was reminded that:
- Success in the eyes of the world might not be success worth having. In fact what might be worth having may look like the exact opposite.
- Comparison is a waste of energy.
As ever, HRH Queen Beyonce helped me reach these conclusions.
One of the highlights of the festival was seeing Michelle ‘One Third of Destiny’s Child’ Williams. You know Michelle, right? The one that isn’t Beyonce or Kelly?
As we walked toward the stage for Michelle’s set I turned to my friend and asked “Do you think she ever looks at Beyonce and thinks, ‘That could have been me – I could have been Beyonce’?” We decided she probably did, “Poor Michelle,” we said, “She could have been Beyonce.”
45 minutes later and we’d been converted. I turned to my friend and asked “Do you think Beyonce ever looks at Michelle and thinks ‘That could have been me – I could have been Michelle’?” We decided she probably did “Poor Beyonce,” we said, “She could have been Michelle.”
In that 45 minutes, we realised we’d been looking at it all wrong.
We had looked at Beyonce’s world domination, we had looked at her millions of fans, we had looked at her gazillions of net worth, we had looked at her first name only recognition, we had looked at how love her or hate her you can’t deny that her career is a huge success.
And then we had looked at Michelle – sure, she achieved fame and fortune in Destiny’s Child but what since? Only her true fans know. She pops up every now and again in the shadow of Beyonce. Despite all the things Michelle has achieved it seems to pale in comparison to Beyonce. And so, we had decided that Michelle was less successful.
But during Michelle’s set we realised one crucial thing – Michelle is actually pretty good at her job too. She sang songs of hope, joy and victory. She shared her own struggles of dealing with comparison and not feeling like enough. She jumped off the stage, over the barrier and danced with the crowd:
We danced and sang and rejoiced.
And by the end of the set we realised we had fallen into the deadly trap of comparing one to another and judging one as better and another as lesser and then the reverse.
We realised that perhaps the success of the world didn’t count for as much as we thought.
So if you're in that place - feeling more Michelle than Beyonce. Just remember: comparison will always lie and tell you you're not good enough. Only you can run your race, no-one can do it better than you. And at the end of the day, Beyonce could have been Michelle.