They got it, but I didn't.
I didn't mention who or what, but I bet a name and situation came to your mind when you read that sentence.
You see, we can all view life kind of like a competition.
They get the promotion first, so we put them down to heal our disappointment. They are prettier than we are, so we feel the need to make ourselves look better. They have the talent we want, so we criticize to make ourselves feel better.
We think that we have to compete in life to get what we want, and if they get it first, then we lost. And that can leave us feeling a whole lot of broken inside.
Girls, it's easy for us to do this, isn't it? It's easy for us to compete and strive for a level of perfection that we will never achieve. The perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect face, the perfect husband, the perfect dream. But when she gets it first? Look out.
Instead of continuing after what God has set before us, we get distracted by all the things that glitter. All the things the world says we must compete for.
But you know what, beautiful soul?
Life is not a competition.
And you are not competing against anyone.
You're not competing against your neighbor, your best friend, or the pretty girl you run into at the grocery store. Do you want to know why?
Well, let me share with you three areas we tend to compete in the most...
1) Pain is not a competition. Every single person you have ever met has faced some form of pain in their life. I know that you, reading this right now, have faced pain. Because sin is in this world, there will always be pain. There is no way to avoid it. Jesus never promised us a life with no pain. He only promised that through the pain, He would walk with us. But you know how it feels when you feel a little bit guilty over your pain? Maybe you think your story isn't as difficult as someone else. Maybe you think your pain isn't as deep as what that other girl has faced. So you feel guilty about your pain because you're constantly comparing it to others. You don't share your pain then, so it stays bottled up inside where it can never be healed fully. Or maybe you're on the other side of this. You've faced unimaginable pain and it has made you bitter. Pain has a way of doing that to a person when it is not taken to your Healer (Psalm 147:3). Through your glasses of bitterness, you hear the stories of others and you wonder how they have any reason to be complaining when you have suffered so much worse. Whatever side of this you are on, please hear me out. Pain is real. Pain is meant to be fully felt, so it can then be fully healed. If you continue to compare your pain to someone else, you will not heal. He wants you healed, sweet friend. Your Jesus wants to reach in and heal the deep and wounded places of your heart. And you know what else? He wants to use your pain as a testimony to help others through their pain too. So share your pain, share your story, be real. But don't let pain become a comparison game and a competition.
2) Beauty is not a competition. Has the world ever made you feel inadequate? This world has a way of deceiving girls into believing that their bodies and their faces have to be perfect. They give us this standard to live up to that we could never possibly achieve. This causes us to look to one another and compare. Why can't I be as pretty as her? I need to workout more so that I can look like she does. Why does she have to post all those flawless selfies? We fume on the inside over their beauty because we've convinced ourselves that we just don't measure up. We tell ourselves that our hair is too thick, our nose is too big, or we have too many freckles. On and on the list goes as we stand in front of the mirror and criticize every part of ourselves until we have nothing left. And when we have nothing left, we criticize them too. We criticize the girls we feel we are competing against to be the most beautiful. Lovely ladies, may I just take her chin in my hands for a moment and assure you of something? You are absolutely, amazingly, stunningly gorgeous. Because the God who made you? He shines within you, and He made you beautiful. "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well." (Psalm 139:13-14) You are beautiful, just as your sister in Christ next door or down the street is beautiful. Nothing can take away your beauty, because your beauty does not just come from what you look like on the outside. Your beauty comes from within.
3) Success is not a competition. Maybe this one is the toughest of all, right? Maybe this one is where it stings most. Because when she gets the promotion, the husband, or the dream you've been praying for, it all can seem just a little unfair. After all, we prayed for those things and instead she got them! We feel that her success or her answered prayers are a threat to our own. But the honest truth? Your success is not measured by their's, nor does your success depend on their failure. Here's the thing: we were meant to live in community. So all of this striving, this competing, this comparing, that we do every day to each other...none of it is how we were meant to live. Because the beautiful thing is that God has a perfect and good plan for your life that is so much better than anything you could imagine. So He doesn't want you to compete with someone else for the live He has for you. He is asking you to live out the story He is writing in your life that is so unique to you, it's crazy beautiful! And what He really wants is for all of us to join hands and walk together. To wave the white flags, stop the striving, and just celebrate life together. When she is in pain, to cry with her. When you think she looks more beautiful, to tell her what you love about how she looks today. When she gets the promotion or the dream, to celebrate and have a cupcake in her honor. Because the exciting part? Your celebration is coming too. And it's going to be greater than you ever imagined.
Let's stop competing, and let's join hands as we walk life together, shall we? ♥
Isabella Morganthal (20) is a homeschool high school graduate who loves Jesus with all of her heart. She is a drummer, writer, creative arts director, and modern-day abolitionist.