Freedom From Competition
October 2, 2010

This is not a writing about kids sports and the current trend towards removing competition and scoring in order to make everyone feel good. I have no problem with children (and even adults) competing in sports, band performances or other scored activities that cause them to work hard to achieve goals. Measuring yourself against other athletes can help you to improve in areas that are important to you.

As a mom, woman and daughter I have met more than my share of “competitors” in my life. Those women who cook better, clean faster and keep up with more children. Mothers who gave birth quicker, weaned later and still have time to make gifts for all of the teachers, bus drivers and aides at their children’s schools. Their children walked sooner, spoke fluently early and of course were potty trained before anyone else’s. I would love to tell you that I never tried to keep up but that would be a lie.
I too wasted many moments of my life trying to measure up to the standards of those around me. Being content with doing my best took second place to being first place. Attending certain functions meant making the most outstanding attractive dish, making people laugh or saying something memorable and profound.
Then along came the Princess. What a game changer she turned out to be. The focus turned from being the best to doing whatever was best for this vulnerable and sometimes very sick human being. Pursuing the best for her meant researching therapies, surgeries and treatments to allow her to be the best that she could be. For her to have the opportunity to someday walk, communicate and live through each scary hospital stay, my time would have to turn to seeking those things for her. We only compare to other children with her syndrome because it helps to try out what has worked for some an not for others.
What is so great about life lessons is that they bleed over into all areas. Being part of something is much more enjoyable when you don’t have to be the best but your best. You don’t have to win arguments in order to be valuable in fact sometimes its better not to win. You can’t grow from believing you already have the answers. Growth comes from pursuing what we don’t know.
The other lesson comes from knowing that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. You really don’t get that until you look into the face of a child who will never enter a competition let alone win one. This verse was not written only for the child whose name will be in the paper announcing their big achievement. Its not just pro-life rhetoric. It is the truth about every human ever created. Every person who has never even scored a point or achieved academic greatness is made as wonderfully as those who have.
God does not see us in light of our achievement but the light of His love. You cannot earn His grace, you only need to reach out and accept it. I am so blessed that He doesn’t only accept my failures, he turns them into triumphs. I am a winner in the eyes of a loving God and in pursuit of being the best mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and cook I can be at this moment. Most of all I am free.


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  1. Mem

    Wow Jem! I love that so much… It's something that I have struggled with in the past as well.. It's amazing when you find that place of peace, of contentment to just be who you were intended to be, regardless of what everone else is doing…it's so freeing isn't it.

  2. Mem

    Wow Jem, I loved that so much. It's something I have struggled with as well, trying so hard to be better or smarter or faster at something yet failing miserably every.stinkin.time.
    But when we realize that our perception of "imperfection" is really God's handiwork, well, it changes everything.
    Love you sister, love your heart.


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