Written by: Amy Dalke
Luke can run fast. (Well, for a second grader anyway.) If you know me well enough by now, it’s safe to assume that I
like love that.
He’s also competitive. (I like that, too.)
`But he came in second last week during his field day race.
And he did not like that.
He won last year, so he had a title to defend, and some pride to keep.
But he handed that title over with a difference of .44 seconds. (I know this, because I timed it.) (Yes, I’m that mom.)
First world problems, right?
Because, sure, getting second place in a race against your eight year old peers is not an earth shattering situation. I get that.
But the lesson learned in loss is a huge thing.
I don’t love Luke any more or less when he wins or loses.
And good thing, because there will always be someone in this world who is faster than Luke.
As his mother, I can wholeheartedly say that his quickness is not his value-defining attribute.
Having grown up as that girl who valued herself completely through the lens of performance, I want to raise a child who doesn’t.
Our competitive drive isn’t limited to track meets and baseball games, though. Whether you love or detest sports, you are a natural competitor in some sense.
There is a part of us that gets caught up in a tail-chasing frenzy to “compete” or compare ourselves to others in nearly every aspect of life.
They are richer.
She is thinner.
He is stronger.
They are happier.
They have a bigger house.
Their kids are better fill-in-the-blanks.
Think about it: are you constantly stacking yourself up against those around you?
I’m fairly certain that I, for one, can take this to extremes. (Field day stopwatch, anyone?)
But using other people as a benchmark is not an accurate measure.
And while inaccurate measures can definitely kick up the drive to better ourselves, they don’t appropriately value the height and depth of our unique worth.
“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” 2 Corinthians 10:12 NIV
In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul points out that comparing ourselves to someone else does not give us true results. In fact, he points out that there is no more fruitful source of error, then to judge others and ourselves by our own limited understanding.
Because from God’s perspective, human’s have grossly inaccurate yardsticks.
Truth be told, He made us all differently.
So we basically rig the comparison game by using those apples to oranges!
Further to that…if we measure ourselves against this person, or that person…and then base our opinion [of our self-worth] on that measurement, then are missing the boat kind of big time.
God, as a loving parent, knows that the worth of His children cannot be summed up by the capacity of their brainpower, the curves of their bodies, their batting averages, or by their financial net worth.
He does not compare me to you, nor does God compare you, to me.
Before the foundation of the world, He set you apart. (see Galatians 1:15)
And by His grace, God gifted you with special gifts, talents, and abilities, which He intended for you to use for in service for others, for His glory. (Not yours.) (Just in case you’re like me, and need to be reminded of that.)
In light of what God says about me…and about you…we are all a bit delusional to get caught up in earth’s value system.
And whether you get high strung about competition on the field, or you get tangled up in comparing your have-not’s to their have’s, it’s all tied back to whose perspective you value most.
Do you seek God’s approval? Or theirs?
God is just fine with you. Even if you aren’t.
He knows where you are…and how far you have to go.
He isn’t shaking His holy head in disgust at the gap between who you are, and who you want to be.
So the secret of winning the comparison game? It’s refusing to play.
I hope the next time you are tempted to measure yourself on those inaccurate, human yardsticks, you will pause…to remind yourself that false measuring sticks beget false measurements.
Luke bravely fought tears after he lost that race. (Which made me want to cry myself.)
But when I saw his forced, nonchalant smile, God immediately reminded me that losing would provide the perfect opportunity for Luke to learn the truth about himself.
I’m hoping I can keeping learning that, too.
By the grace of God, I am what I am…
p.s. I am withdrawing my petition to have that fast kid moved out of our school district before next year’s Field Day. (Oh, I’m kidding.) (I only thought for a tiny second that it would be nice if his Dad got transferred or something.)