I once had to have a semi-hard conversation with a friend. The reason I say it was semi-hard is because this friend and I have the kind of relationship where we can say what we need to say and move on. But still, this one wasn’t fun.
She was struggling because someone had started a business similar to hers. And this other person had a good following, was building a respected reputation in the industry, and showed decent potential for her business to thrive.
My friend admittedly felt threatened.
But she didn’t just feel threatened, she started acting threatened.
Each time we talked, I sensed more defeat and desperation in her voice than the time before, as she verbally weighed all the possibilities of what could happen with this new business scenario. And the longer this went on, the more often her roller coaster of emotions began riding on jealousy. Whenever she would say something about this new business owner, I would take a deep breath, waiting to feel my stomach twist and turn. I knew I needed to say something, but I didn’t want to hurt her already fragile spirit.
Finally one afternoon, while we were on the phone discussing things, I gently walked her through all the reasons why her business was awesome. I reassured her that I was in her corner, that I truly believed in her, in her talent, and in her ideas. But then I said something really hard about this spirit of competition she felt with the other person: “You gotta let her be her and you be you. You are both called and chosen to do this assignment. Not either/or. But this anxiety you feel? It has the potential to ruin you.”
I don’t think it’s what she wanted me to say in that moment, but it’s what she needed to hear. Know how I know? Because I needed someone to say it to me years ago when I walked through a similar situation. I let being threatened by someone else’s success ruin days and weeks of my life. And it took what seemed like forever to get over it.
Here’s the thing I’d say to you if you were in a situation like this, where the comparison was controlling you. I know what she is doing looks really awesome. And she makes it look effortless. Maybe she can actually do it better. But she is called, chosen, and set apart by God for a purpose. Hers.
And so are you. For yours.
God’s purpose isn’t a battlefield for competition. It’s a safe haven
Instead of letting this why her struggle become a rivalry game, we can instead choose to use the energy it generates and turn it into something that actually benefits us. Her and us. Because believe it or not, it’s really possible for comparison to become a good thing. A healthy thing.
Spiritually, it begins where all good things begin—in the presence of God. In order to see the goodness of God in our lives, we need the presence of God. Because the presence of God is what keeps us humble.
Humility is the by-product of God’s presence flowing in our lives.
When we are in His presence through studying His Word, worshiping, serving, and being around others who love Him, He gives us a humble, healthy confidence. This comes only from Him, the confidence of knowing He’s created us to do something great with our lives. His presence whispers assurance over our souls, even when we feel the most vulnerable.
His presence gives us the ability to keep walking in His favor while cheering on that girl next to us, regardless of how threatened we feel. By staying in His continual presence, we learn that our God-given gifts and talents are not for making ourselves better than the woman next to us. In fact, we learn to value what she’s doing more than what we’re doing.
"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." Philippians 2:3 (ESV).
I realize this is hard to do. It takes guts to release your insecurities to God and confidently be yourself while watching someone else live out their dream (especially in places where it looks like your dream). But it’s more than possible. Great favor and blessing
Excerpted with permission from Why Her? 6 Truths We Need To Hear When Measuring Up Leaves Us Falling Behind by Nicki Koziarz. Copyright 2018, B&H Publishing Group.