For as long as I can remember (and who wouldn’t remember?), competition has always been fierce in the real world.
You are either too tall or too short; too skinny or too fat; less than talented or extremely gifted…
It didn’t matter whether I was at school, church, work, or wherever! Competition would always show up and smack me right in the face. And being a performer, I can honestly say that there are always people who make your talents, your gifts, & anything unique about you feel less than awesome.
Due to facing a lot of competition growing up, naturally, I became extremely competitive. I wanted and felt like I needed to be the best, because if I wasn’t… well, I obviously wasn’t good enough; I wasn’t special.
You see, I took competition to heart. I wanted so very much to stand out, but always seemed (and still, even today) to be one-upped by another person. Since I already battled with insecurity/low self-esteem, this only made matters worse for me.
I just couldn’t be happy for the other person who seemed to have it SO together professionally, intellectually, physically, spiritually, financially, or emotionally!
This mindset only paved the road for me to start believing that I wasn’t good enough. And because I started to believe that I could and would not be as talented or as unique as the person next to me, I began to believe my identity was tied to what I did or didn’t possess.
If I possessed a special talent that no one else had, I felt great. But if someone else possessed a talent that I had and even mastered it 100x better, I felt like a failure.
“What’s the point then? What’s the point of my gifts and talents? Someone else is going to top them so why even bother to master my own? What’s so special about me anyway?”
I’m sure it pleases Satan to see me sink into despair and discouragement. I’m sure he enjoys watching me believe that my identity is tied to what I can & can’t do. And I am positive he will always be looking for a way to make me believe that I’ll never be good enough if I don’t have what the other people around me have, whether it’s money, great jobs, kids, fancy cars, you name it!
“And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are God’s Son, command these stones to be made [loaves of] bread. But He replied, It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. [Deut. 8:3.]”
Something that I’ve learned to love and appreciate about Jesus was how He knew who He was. He didn’t have to prove himself to anyone to gain acceptance, honor, or recognition. Even when Satan tried to make Him question His identity, Jesus didn’t fall back.
Jesus was confident. He wasn’t afraid to be who He was meant to be- The Savior of the World. This, of course, didn’t sit well with some people, including the scribes and Pharisees and even Jesus’s family, but he still didn’t allow their thoughts and negative opinions about him to stop him from doing what he knew he was supposed to do.
He could have shrunk back into fear, feeling sorry for himself. He could have thought to himself that since he didn’t look nor act like any of the teachers of the law in his day, he had no business teaching people about God. He could have even complained about how he wasn’t given the appearance of an actual King. But he didn’t…
He knew who He was. He knew who sent Him. And He knew who and what He was living for. Because of that, He was able to fulfill his mission.
“SEE WHAT [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! The reason that the world does not know (recognize, acknowledge) us is that it does not know (recognize, acknowledge) Him.”
1 John 3:1 AMPC
As I continue learning and growing in my walk with God, I want to continue reminding myself who I truly am- a daughter of God. Without this important truth, I will try basing my identity, and worth, on my work, my talents, my looks, my number of followers on the social network, etc.
I’m also learning that while it is important to continue exercising the gifts God has given me, even adding to them and getting better at what I can do, it’s never healthy to believe that I am better than others for doing something differently or that my gifts have no worth simply because someone else has mastered it 10x better.
With God’s help, I can even learn to praise the talents and gifts of others, seek to learn from them if I wish to get better at what I do, and be perfectly happy with what I have too!
The competition will always be around. There will always be someone who can do something better…
But if God believes I’m awesome, and He loves me, I can learn to be content with what I have, enjoy my gifts, and continue striving to do better without fear or shame.