Competition and the Lie of the Finite
“The atmosphere of competition is overwhelming,” a friend recently said when we were talking about her professional situation. Mix that with having several friends over the past few weeks tell me that they felt as though they were in direct competition with other nurses for promotions or job opportunities and we seem to have a problem here. Where are we left, as nurses, when competition sneaks into our profession?
I’m not immune to these feelings of intense competition. There have been lots of times when I felt less than or left out when someone else has gotten a job I wanted, or started a masters program, or been recognized within our field for something that I have also accomplished. I’ve let jealousy and feelings of inadequacy dictate how I see myself and my abilities.
I have a secret that might just blow some peoples minds: There is no hourglass of success that is dropping grain after grain of opportunity and once the last one has fallen that’s it, game over. Success is not finite and whoever came up with this lie was crafty to say the least. The idea that if another person obtains an opportunity it somehow effects us plays on all our insecurities. We start to believe that someone else is better than us – more skilled, more advanced, more liked – when the fact of the matter is that we are all completely unique.
If we truly believe that we were created by the God of the Universe – the same one who spoke life into being – we can’t for a minute buy in to the lie that we are on a ‘worse’ path than somebody else. Each journey is directed by God and for us to look at another persons success and truly believe that that somehow robs us of our own is to deny God’s promises. John 15 tells us:
“As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete” vs. 9-11
If we follow the Lord we will find our joy. We won’t find it in earthly things like promotions, advancements, peer acceptance, and recognition – though all these things are certainly nice! But if we remain in Christ’s love and follow him he will lead us on a path that brings peace and joy and the knowledge that we have been obedient to his calling. He has “success” mapped out for you. And while it may not be what you expect it to be, and it certainly will not look like someone else’s, it is perfectly designed to bring you the deepest satisfaction. God’s success is not finite, because He is not finite.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and was, and who is to come, the Almighty” Revelation 1:8
Let’s remain with him, lean on him even, when we feel overwhelmed by competition or feelings of inadequacy in our work. He isn’t calling you to run someone else’s race. He wants you to devote your life to the path he has chosen for you.
I have found the book Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst to be so helpful when it comes to understanding how to protect our hearts from feelings of rejection, through Christ’s great love for us. I hope you will find that book, read it and be blessed. You can learn more about Lysa TerKeurst here.