I’m going to go ahead and spoil the whole point of this blog post right off the bat. We are not in competition with one another.
(Ok – those of you involved in athletics, musical groups, or reality-television elimination shows: you are actually in competition with each other. But that’s not what I’m talking about).
WE. US. You, me, that guy over there. That lady with the cat. Not in competition.
Why do we do this? I’m honestly asking. Why must we tear down those around us? Why must we snipe and pinch and carp and complain?
Why do we steal our own joy?
I’m going to break it down a bit. I really enjoy singing. I will never be a professional singer, but I love it. If I hear someone else sing, and it sounds lovely, I can say ‘They have a lovely voice!’ and then sit back and enjoy. But so many times in the past, I felt compelled to nitpick every reason why their voice (or looks, or clothes, or whatever) wasn’t as good as whatever praise they had gotten, because hey – I was good too!
Then, I sat myself down for a little talking to. Seriously? Do I want to live with that whiny voice in my head? Answer: I do not. Because whining is super-duper annoying, and because it was stealing my joy.
So, if I hear someone sing, and I like it – do you know what that means for my own singing? Absolutely nothing. Not related. Because I am not in competition with that person.
My body does not reflect my observations of the bodies I see. My clothes do not, my marriage does not, my bank-account does not.
By now, you are asking yourself, ‘why is the crazy lady rambling about competition?’
Because Christians do it to each other all the time. I’ve shared before, when I talk to people who have either drifted away from the church, or who have run away as if on fire, the number one reason I hear is the hypocrisy of other people in the church. This is ‘the church’ as in ‘Christian Church’ – not one specific church. And they weren’t literally on fire. I don’t think.
So, I was thinking about this, and I think it comes back to competition. I think we get the first part, ‘For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.’ Good! We understand! We ALL (I’m looking at you. And me. All means all) have sinned. None of us deserves the forgiveness we were offered.
So why do some insist on looking down on others, as if they are MORE undeserving? Perhaps because they are still figuring out this whole ‘life’ thing (its HARD!). Maybe they don’t find a seat in a church pew as often (do you all have pews? We don’t, we have padded chairs, but I still say pews, and I don’t know why) as someone else. They aren’t on the church council, they don’t teach in the Sunday School. They aren’t pillars of the PTA, and they don’t organize the bake sales.
Which is really too bad, because all of those things mean. . . . . . well, nothing. I don’t mean nothing – those are wonderful things, if the people doing them enjoy it and it adds to their life.
But it doesn’t move you ahead of someone else in the hierarchy of God’s love. Because God doesn’t have one. He’s awesome like that.
I guess what I’m saying is – do the things you are lead to do. Perhaps they help YOU develop a stronger relationship with God. Perhaps they fulfill you and bring you joy. I am the first to say – I am happy for you. I thank you for the service you offer. I appreciate what you do.
If you are someone who is just getting by, and feels disheartened by all those Christians who seem so much more ‘Christian’ than you? Don’t worry, you aren’t in competition. I’m not a huge scripture quoter, but I do know one of the most common phrases in the Bible is ‘Be not afraid.’ Here are my thoughts.
Be not afraid to be who you are.
Be not afraid to love deeply.
Be not afraid that you are not ‘doing enough.’
Be not afraid to follow the path in front of you – walk in faith, and the reason may become clear.
Be not afraid of what other people are doing – that’s their path, not yours.
Be not afraid of what other people think – Christ said ‘follow me’ not ‘follow those people over there.’
Be not afraid that God’s love will be used up on those ‘better’ than you. First – ‘better’ is competition, and we’ve agreed to stop doing that. Second- God’s capacity for love is so great that no amount of people could ever fill it. Third – you deserve that love.
Be not afraid to be.
And be not afraid to see the beauty, brilliance, and strengths of others. When you recognize it and honor it, you open your eyes to a new world.
And you’ll win back your joy.
If you enjoyed this, or it made you think, or you think I’m nice and I might bake you a cake, please LIKE and SHARE both this and my Facebook page! (Ok, so I know we’re not in competition, but I do kinda sorta want to get this out to more people, and that would be really helpful!).