Somebody Else’s Life





by Elizabeth Schenkel

I stood in front of the sink filled with dirty dishes. Again. How many dishes have I washed in my lifetime? A lot. My mom says she enjoys washing dishes but I don’t believe her. And the very familiarity of the task somehow drove home my loneliness. I was sad and there was no one to talk to, no friend to call.

This was not what I had signed up for. I had moved to Central Asia to change the world, not to clean and cook and wash dishes! If I had to be in this hard place I wanted to make a difference, do something significant for a change. I secretly wished I could lead somebody else’s life!

How many times have you chaffed against your day-to-day realities? How many times have you felt insignificant or frustrated? And what about those days or weeks or months when you are actually suffering? Suffering with pain, or sickness, grief or rejection?  

We all have times like that. Jesus actually promised them. He said, “In this world you will have tribulations (a fancy word for troubles).” But then he said, “Fear not, for I have overcome the world.” He also said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” And the apostle Paul observed:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God  (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, English Standard Version).

Later in that same letter, Paul actually boasted about his troubles. How many times have you heard someone do that? Or done it yourself? How could he do that? Paul understood that everything in his life ultimately came from God. He saw everything in his life connecting with God’s call on him.  

If God has called us and we are following Him, that reality should color everything that happens to us and everything we do. His calling gives meaning to our lives.  

Here’s the thing:  If we don’t recognize the meaning and purpose that is resident in everything we do (“Do all that you do UNTO THE LORD”) then we are robbing ourselves of the comfort, the encouragement, the enabling that the Holy Spirit wants to make available to us. We actually convince ourselves (or maybe more accurately, the enemy of our souls convinces us) that all those comforting and encouraging and enabling passages of Scripture are for “somebody else’s life.” We allow ourselves to be robbed of the joy of serving the Lord and suffering with and for Him.  

Don’t wish you could live somebody else’s life! Live your life! God has called you to your life today. Seriously. He understands. He is at work. He is with you!



Elizabeth Schenkel has been actively involved in Christian ministry on four continents over the past 40 years. After a violent attack nearly ended her life in 2000, Elizabeth became a spokesperson for the persecuted church and for fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission through bold steps of faith. Elizabeth co-wrote the evangelistic, follow-up film series for the “Magdalena” film entitled “Rivka.” After serving overseas for sixteen years, Elizabeth and her husband Erick moved to Orlando, Florida in April of 2012, where Erick is serving as the Executive Director of Jesus Film Project®. The Schenkels have five grown children and three grandchildren.