You know that feeling when you are so proud and happy and excited about something you waited a long time for? You just feel so good when you have the long-awaited thing. Like on top of the world, get out of my way, I’m going to bask in the joy of this moment and forget about the dishes, the laundry, the meetings, the bills and S…O…A…K… it in kinda moment.
I had one of those recently. I was so proud to have finished my first 5k. (I walked people, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.) A 5k is something I really wanted to say I did. Mostly because it’s public exercise involving a lot of miles where there is no bathroom. It’s not like walking on the treadmill where I’m pretty isolated from other gym goers and there’s a bathroom nearby. I had a number pinned to me and there was an official start and finish line. This was serious business. And me, the non-athletic, “lifetime PE avoider” was doing this.
As I neared the finish line I was glowing. Mostly from sweat but you get the point. My husband Eric and I stepped in unison and I swear I heard the theme to Rocky in my head. I had just told him how proud I was of us and how excited I was that we did it. Sans potty break too. Then I heard my coworkers, the ones who had already finished, cheering from the sidelines.
Just like that, the pride of the moment and the joy in my heart was stolen. And it was my fault.
You see, I suddenly felt sad and inferior because so many had finished before me. I never set out to finish in a certain amount of time. I set out to FINISH. If I could finish without stopping in Starbucks to use the bathroom then I was going to consider myself a winner. Winner Winner chicken dinner and all. But in that moment I forgot all that and became deflated, sad, inferior and worthless. Harsh words to describe yourself, but over the next 4 dozen steps I beat myself up in ways no one would ever imagine. All because I was not them.
One of the fastest ways to grow discouraged is to compare yourself to others. God has given each of us specific gifts and our job is to use those gifts to bring joy to others, to love others as He loves us, to give others hope in a broken world, and to do the things He wants us to do. If all of us had the same skills and talents, it would be an odd world! We are all unique and have strengths in different areas. As soon as we start comparing, we discredit the gifts we were given. We start to feel inferior, less than we should and the devil exploits that. He uses that crack to slip in and cause things to look far worse than it did at first. Before you know it, you’re hanging your head at a moment where you should be holding it high and celebrating a victory.
Looking back I can so clearly see that in my moment of joy, Satan used comparison to steal my happiness and even worse I let him. It hit me when I saw these photos because I look like such a sad person. I know better. But he got to me. I’m not letting him do that next time. Next time I’m celebrating. Definitely need to work on that finish line crossing dance.
I’m a work in progress. 🙂
Galatians 6:4-5 The Message (MSG)
4-5 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.
Galatians 6:4-5 New International Version (NIV)
4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load.