Christine Stone is the longest member of the Collide team! She has been apart of this journey since she was a college student meeting in my living room studying scripture seeing Jesus collide with people and forever transform them! She now has the amazing and big job of coordinating the food and drink hospitality for all of our day of gatherings. I am so thankful for who she is and what she means to our team! She has a beautiful heart and great wisdom, as you will enjoy here. – Willow
Living in competition with others is one of the most exhausting, unproductive, and anxiety-filled ways to live. Even though I know this is true, I still find myself in the midst of a competitive struggle from time to time. It makes me feel small, immature, and unworthy, and I don’t think I’m the only one.
Whether it’s your job, your spiritual gifts, your Instagram feed, your relationships, your house, your lawn, your wedding, your parenting, or your waist size–it is so easy to fall into competition with those around us. We fill our heads with endless lies about how much worse she is and how much better he is and what I should be doing in comparison–over and over again, robbing ourselves and our relationships of the joy we could be experiencing. I’ve even gone so far as to revel in others’ failures as a way to elevate myself. What a terribly wounded way to live.
It’s all. so. exhausting.
After a recent lapse into comparison, I started wondering what exactly made me feel like I had to be in competition. Why was it so important for me to be the best? To be better than her, more unique? I noticed this competitive tendency only occurred with things I value greatly–the things I find my identity in.
I’ve always found great pride in creativity–making new things, coming up with new ideas, doing something unique that hasn’t been done before. I’ve misplaced my identity in it – I feel more valuable when people tell me I’m creative, and then it becomes important to be better than the next person. Because if I’m the best, I’m worth more, right?
But I have it backwards. Really, I should find my purpose, my identity, my joy in the One who created me, the One who made me genuinely unique. It is not really my own creativity at all. It all comes from Him. And if I’m grounded in that truth, then it’s all of sudden not important to be better than the next person, because God made that person too: not better, not worse, just different. Beautiful. One of a kind. Just the way He intended.
If we find our identity in Christ, from whom flows our value and worth, then the need to compare disappears. Competition can be replaced with celebration. Celebration of differences. Celebration of ourselves, our own personalities, and creativity. Celebration of others’ successes, as well as our own. Living in this truth creates freedom to just be who we were meant to be.
I love the way The Message puts it in Galatians 5:19-23, 25-26 (emphasis added): “It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.……But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.”
Here’s to working out these implications in our lives, here’s to celebrating more and competing less and here’s to finding our worth in Christ! After all, we really do have far more interesting things to do. -Christine