(note: i wrote this several years ago, but it still rings true. it just shows up differently now.)
put me on a baseball field or place me on a basketball court and you won’t see a trace of competitiveness. i really could care less about winning or losing at sports. but enter my writing in a contest or place my name in the running for a leadership position and, although I may not show it on the outside, inwardly you would think my entire life depended on the outcome. if I don’t win, i’m crushed.
ever since high school, i’ve always felt like i’m on the “B” team. not at the top. not at the bottom. just right in the middle—average. never talented enough to win the trophies, but talented enough not to completely stink. that’s why i fight so hard to be recognized for something, but i never seem to get there.
i have a hard time rejoicing in other people’s accomplishments. i smile and say “that’s awesome,” but inside i’m thinking “Why didn’t that happen to me?” or “That’s great, but don’t forget about what I did.” i can’t stand it when someone is recognized for being better or more attractive. i instantly start tearing myself apart, evaluating where I don’t measure up. i judge people who get so competitive that they want to lose their tempers and squash others, but what i do is just as ugly.
but a thought popped in my head the other day . . . what if God doesn’t want me to be the best? what if He knows that being the best isn’t what I need? what if He knows that being the best may blur the way people see Him working in my life? what if my always coming in second, third or even last draws me closer to Him?
i don’t believe God wants us to dwell in mediocrity, that He wants us to be good stewards of the opportunities He gives us. and i think we should strive to do well with what we’ve been given—whether that be in relationships or being promoted to a manager position. He wants us to be the best at what He’s given us to do, but that doesn’t always mean we’re going to be better than other people.
i know that makes some of you cringe—those who believe that God wants us to be the best, because when we are the best, people see how awesome a Christian is. but when you really think about it, we don’t admire people who have achieved great success because of their faith. it’s not like being a Christian gave them an extra edge to win. we admire them because of what they’ve accomplished and think it’s cool that they’re also a Christian.
if you look at Jesus’ life, He really didn’t win too much. Oh, we all know He really did win on a much deeper more significant level, but just looking at the facts, He didn’t win. He had great crowds that followed Him, but He also had great crowds who turned away. but His apparent losses had a much deeper meaning.
maybe mine do too. maybe being better than other people isn’t equal to being Christlike. and maybe sometimes i understand and see Jesus more when I’m not.
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