Competing Ourselves to Death

Life definitely feels like a giant competition where the wages of defeat (and victory) are pain-filled.

This week Deidra and I had the pleasure of watching our 5th and 8th grade children promote to the next grade and next level of school. Both have done well in school (as well as their older brother), but I can’t help but notice how these wonderful kids have had to adapt as they have aged. As each child walked up to be recognized for their achievement, it wasn’t difficult to notice who the athletes were, the better dressed, or those that had a lot of kids cheering for them…and those who didn’t.

It wasn’t too long ago that children loved to play with anyone that was available. Athletic status didn’t matter, clothing didn’t matter, skin color and social status didn’t matter. Kids just loved being with each other.

It doesn’t take long before the life sapping activity of competing, or comparing sets in. Children begin to jockey for position believing that popularity is a scarce commodity that must be traded in to be happy.

Children compare themselves based on attractiveness, social status, and the number of friends on Instagram.
Did they make the sports teams or do they have a boyfriend/girlfriend.
Do they have the latest kicks or the right logo on their shirt.

It’s all a dangerous epidemic where we struggle with the very real sin of comparison.

Comparison is a sin, no matter how you use it. We compare, not to make all people equal, but to determine who is superior and who is not.

Comparison is the ultimate sign of insecurity.
“Who am I better than” and “Who is better than me” are the preeminent questions that flood a mind struggling to find self-worth.

It destroys contentment and peace and places our own lives at the center of the universe…
Leading to great frustration when the universe doesn’t respond in kind.

It’s maddening that such a debilitating process is learned and tempered in us at such an early age.

As adults we compare careers, financial portfolios, houses, cars and importance. Sometimes we even bring our kids into this mucky mire of self-important nonsense by comparing our own kids to those of our (obviously inferior) peers.

It’s as debilitating to us at it is to our kids and it destroys as many adult relationships as elementary aged relationships are destroyed in middle and high schools around the country.

It’s a trend that needs to be abandoned and it begins with us.

Will you fight the urge to compare?
Will you seek contentment instead of superiority.
It all starts with you and what you teach your own children about caring for one another.

You are enough, just as you are.
Jesus loves you and died for YOU.
Fight the urge to compare yourself to anyone else.
We (and they) just aren’t that important after all…our relationships with them, however, definitely are.

Mark Love
Lead Pastor

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