I am a competitor. When I compete, its not for the fun of it, but it's to win. As a child, I attempted to master everything that I encountered. If it was sports, I had to be better than the boys. If it was music, I had to be first chair. If it was academics, I had to be number one. I didn't always "win," but I sure as heck tried.
As an adult, the opportunities to compete became few and far in between. There was no more sports, competitive music, or academics. It was just life-- me against my own goals and aspirations. Life's arena was a lot more forgiving, as my goals adjusted and I determined what winning was. I wasn't subjected to anyone else's opinion of my performance. It was just me, my goals, and my own critique.
However, recently that I had the opportunity to compete again. This time, it was work related. I had a chance to showcase my hard work and apply for a top award at my company. It's quite competitive, but like my past had proven, I was confident that I could win. I had the backing and letters of support of several company and community leaders, I had the numbers to show my success on the job and, more importantly, I had the confidence and faith that I could win it. I knew I had it!
The day to contact winners came and went....no news. "Are they behind with judging? Or, did I lose? I most certainly could not have lost. There was no way!"
A week later...still no news. "Ok, now, it's just tacky that they haven't even told me that I've lost."
By default, I conceded to defeat. What a tough cookie to swallow for competitor like me. So, I vowed never to compete in that arena again.
Why was I so hurt? Why such a sore loser? Because I had done my very best, presented a great case, had the endorsement of some very influential folks, but my worthiness of this honor was subjective-- left to the opinion of others. My value was placed in the opinion of others, and to them, I wasn't worthy.
I learned a very important lesson through this disappointment. There is danger in placing your value in the opinion of others.
How could I profess that my identity is rooted in Christ, when my confidence is shaken at the mere loss of a competition? Every part of me has to be rooted in Christ, even my work. No opinion could take away what I had already accomplished to even get this far, all of which I achieved by God's grace. So if God gave it to me, He is the only one who can validate it.
Do your disappointments in life have you questioning your worth? Have you let others' opinions of you validate you?
Pushing past life's disappointments means truly accepting what God says about you in all areas of your life. It means not letting a setback or loss define who you are. It means being free from the bondage of someone else's opinion and walking confidently in Christ. It is putting your hope in God and Him alone.