I got home from the gym the other day, and I felt great. Well, I didn’t feel great physically. It took me an hour to stop sweating enough so I could take a shower.
But mentally? I felt great!
Because that workout was the kind of workout I wanted to skip.
This workout had 60 of them. With 60 wallballs thrown in for good measure.
The only silver lining was the 13 minute time cap. A guarantee that the misery would end. When I walked in, I honestly didn’t expect to finish. But I did. With time to spare.
So when I got home and my husband asked me how it went my response was, “Good! I finished!”
I felt pretty good about that all day. And then I messed up.
My result didn’t seem so good anymore. In fact, it stunk. It was ridiculous. I’ve been doing CrossFit for a year and a half and I still struggle with burpees. I bet the coaches see me coming and think, “We don’t know why she’s still so bad at this.”
Thankfully, this crazy train of thought didn’t last long, because as I was scrolling through the results, I saw where one friend had made this note on her time. “I showed up.”
The whiteboard isn’t intended to make anyone feel bad. It’s a record of your results, not so you can compare with everyone else but so you can compare yourself with yourself. So you can see YOUR progress on YOUR journey. Of course there’s room for some friendly competition, and that’s fine and healthy. But ultimately, when I walk into the gym, the only person I’m in competition with is myself.
Despite my ranking when compared to everyone else, I had left it all in the gym that morning. I went hard. I pushed myself. I had nothing to be ashamed of because I did the best workout I could do.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I do this in other areas of my life. Maybe you do to?
- We are pretty happy with the exercise we got this week until we see *that* mom at the pool. You know the one? Yeah, you do. We eye her from behind our sunglasses and determine to drink more water, eat less chocolate, and workout EVERY DAY.
- We are thrilled with the one baby carrot our picky eaters consumed with supper until we show up for lunch relief and see the kid eating an arugula salad with beets. Beets? Suddenly, our kids are the least healthy on the planet and they will be stunted for life if we don’t expand their culinary horizons.
- We had a great time on vacation until we open Facebook and see the family of five on a plane to some tropical location. We fight off the jealousy by assuming that they must be in debt up to their eyeballs to be able to afford that and at least we are better stewards of our money.
- We are proud of our kids’ A/B honor roll until we go to awards day and watch that one kid walk across the stage to receive every.single.award and then, because she’s so awesome, she gets one they had to make up just for her.
- We think we married a pretty good guy until we find out our neighbor’s husband comes home every day by five. Or he just got another promotion. Or he brings her flowers every week.
I’m not saying all comparison is a bad thing. I love to read blogs on healthy eating, parenting, education, and exercise. I’m always interested in how other people do things because I might discover a new way to approach something that we struggle with in our home.
The problem comes when we start comparing what someone else has (the perfect body, the perfect kid, the perfect home, the perfect job, the perfect spouse) without keeping a few key things in mind.
First, we need to remember that what we see as “perfect” might not seem so perfect if we knew all the details. But even if it is. Even if that woman you think has it ALL together really does, we must remember this:
It’s not a competition.
Who knows? That kid who won all the awards? That may be the very kid who is going to cure ALS. Her path will be hard. She will struggle. But she’s brilliant and talented and God has an extraordinary purpose for her.
You don’t have to try to turn your kids into her because you can rest in the certainty that God’s purpose for your child may not be as flashy, but for the Kingdom, that doesn’t mean it is any less valuable.
One of my favorite verses is Colossians 4:17. As Paul is wrapping up his epistle he has this to say, “And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you fulfill it.”
Do you see it? Do you see the freedom here?
Take heed to the ministry which YOU have received. Do that.
Your story will not read like anyone else’s. It’s uniquely yours.
That competition you think you’re in? It’s not with anyone else. It’s not even a competition.
It’s a calling.
All you need to do is that.
Filter everything through that.
When God leads you to eat healthier or watch less TV or stick to a budget or write a book, do it because HE IS CALLING YOU TO. Not for ANY OTHER REASON. Trust me, He’s going to call you to enough without you adding a whole bunch of other stuff to the list.
Goodness knows the whiteboards in life are everywhere but we can train our mind to see them, not as a record of a competition, but as proof that we are showing up for the ministry we’ve been called to.
So friends, this week my prayer for you and for myself is that we will take heed to the ministry which we have received in the Lord, that we fulfill it.
Grace and peace,