Healthy competition in life is good for us all. It forces us to stretch beyond our normal capabilities into new levels of potential. We meet our match, enjoy victory, or experience a thrashing that may bruise the ego but inspire perseverance to overcome the next time.
Competition in inappropriate contexts, however, can destroy the joy within organizations, relationships, within oneself.
It starts in us as a feeling of insecurity. We notice the gifting and abilities of other people and compare them to our own, fearing our shortcomings in contrast to their strengths. We worry about rejection or playing ‘second fiddle’ or what other people might think of us. We feel intimidated. Jealousy grows and the competition begins. Subtle ploys, manipulative alliances, or undercutting words rise out of us to pull the ‘competitor’ down—we find ourselves caught in a trap as we experience inability to bless and celebrate with others because of how that might affect US.
We may sense there is a huge LACK in life (starting with the void in our own hearts) and if we don’t grab everything, there won’t be enough to go around—for everyone to reach their full potential.
Our unstated agenda becomes building ourselves up to be #1.
Because of our own lack of confidence, we too often trample on the hearts, character, and reputation of unsuspecting people that don’t deserve our negativity. We see their abilities and want what they have, but we don’t see the hidden hurts or the price they have paid to operate at their level of strength.
Jealousy kills. It does not build teamwork, but tears it down. And the way I see it, we are all on the same ‘team’ of humanity.
Ancient scriptures tell us, “Where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice” (James 3:16). We are talking about a spiritual sickness that permeates every part of our perspective and behavior. If not recognized and renounced in our lives, eventually we turn into miserable people that make other people miserable.
Being on the receiving end of someone’s insecurity and jealousy is brutal. It is difficult to determine the cause or any effective solutions, especially if no one is willing to address it. But nearly everyone around can sense it.
What if we settled into contentment with our present circumstances and rejoiced with others in their successes without the nagging thought, “What about me?” What would our relationships be like if we truly embraced others as supporters and crucial missing pieces, instead of possible threats?
May God’s peace and confidence in who you are—as you are connected to Him—resonate in your life today. You are unique and special, in just the right place at just the right time, not lacking in any good thing. You are a work of art in progress—just like everyone else. We are all on the same team, each with a very cool destiny….we need to cheer each other on!
From now on, just say ‘No!” to killer comparison.