Competition: it fuels some people but deters others; it’s a force that can grow so strong inside of you that it can lead to deep destruction personally or in relationships. Where’s the balance in it? Friendly competition versus over competiveness…as the timeless Irving Berlin song says: “Anything you can do I can do better, I can do anything better than you / Anything you can be I can be greater, sooner or later I’m greater than you.”
Most of my life I have been competitive to some extent, whether it be in the classroom, on the stage, in student government races, or some other aspect of my life. While I never wanted to hurt those I was competing against or discourage them from achieving their goals, I wanted to accomplish just as much or more. We all fight the battle, because we are all compared to others whether it be by ourselves, our parents, or some other individual with whom we associate. In college, it’s so easy to look at others’ grades, relationships, appearance, jobs, goals, aspirations, financial resources, families, friend groups, talent etc. and COMPARE them to our own.
My pastor at my home-church (CrossPoint), Pete Wilson, gave his message last Sunday on this very issue. While I couldn’t be there in person, I was able to watch the podcast online last night. Comparing ourselves to others often triggers a CONFORMING mechanism; we feel like we need to do whatever they’re doing, in order to accomplish what they are accomplishing, to have the things they have. The conforming leads to an internal instinct to COMPETE. The compare-conform-compete game has a negative effect mentally, physically, and emotionally. While it’s human nature to want what others have, there are four helpful reminders Pete gave us to reflect while in the struggle:
- Don’t use social media as a measuring tool. As a Millennial, I am hardly ever without my cell phone. I check Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter on a daily basis. I see my friends’ latest accomplishments, relationship updates, posts, etc. Rather than compare, conform, and compete, I am reminded to…
- Admire over envy. I am by nature an encourager; I want my friends to succeed in all they set out to do. I choose to admire them for reaching their goals and chasing their dreams.
- Allow comparison to become celebration.
- Get straight who God has made YOU to be.
God creates us all with different talents, skills, looks and personalities. In today’s society it’s easier to conform and be exactly like the person beside us; being different is OK. Our worth is not measured by others. Like Francesca Battistelli’s song says: “I’m not living for applause / I’m already so adored / It’s all His stage / He knows my name.” If the same God who created the universe created us, our value and worth in His eyes is immeasurable.
Look up to be sure of your value, not around.
“You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this. My bones were not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, when I was being skillfully woven in an underground workshop.”- Psalm 139:13-15