Until recently I never thought of myself as a competitive person, there are many things I am not competitive about, such as running or games or sports. Then one day a couple of weeks ago, I was rushing around the house trying to get ready for the day, straighten everything in the house before I left and dressed Jackson (my 18-month-old); I was in a little bit of a flurry. For anyone of you who’ve had a toddler, you know that getting them dressed is quite a task in its self. Once I finally got in the car and was driving to work I started thinking about why it mattered that everything was right before I left the house and then it dawned on me… I want to be the best.
I want to be the best mother, the best wife, the best friend, the best sister, the best aunt, have the cleanest house, look like I have it all together and do it all whilst holding down a full-time job.
I think women are naturally competitive and that it surfaces in different areas for different people. For me, I realized that I was doing all those things for the wrong reasons. Now don’t get me wrong I think we shouldn’t settle for second best when we can do the best but I think it’s about doing our best instead of being the best. Plus I should be doing it for his glory and to build up those in my life rather than because I’m somehow competing against everyone else. The funny thing is as well was that I wasn’t actually looking for other people’s approval it was more about me living up to the impossible standards I have created in my head.
One story in the Bible that really resonates with me about this is the story of Mary and Martha.
In Luke 10:38-42 it says: ” As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
” As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
I don’t think Jesus was saying that making preparations was wrong but instead it was that her focus was wrong. She was worried about all these things that she was missing what was really important and that was being with Jesus.
So how do I change my mindset? Honestly, I think it all starts with my focus. Is my focus on me or on my heavenly father because if it’s on me then I’m just doing “good” things with selfish motives and in the end that will just crumble.
I’ve started evaluating why I do things. Why does it matter if my house is straight and tidy? Well if it’s about my heavenly father and his work then I want my house to be inviting and calming for people but it doesn’t need to be perfect. If some mornings I run out of time then that’s okay. Also, when I start evaluating things it’s easier to make a decision based on things that really matter. If I sat down and had breakfast with Jackson but I didn’t manage to finish the dishes then that’s okay. I want my decision to be based out of love for those around me and what the Lord is calling me to do, that means I can’t always be the best. If I am motivated by love and my doing my best rather than being the best I think I can truly do what God has called me to do. Being a mother, a wife, a friend and a sister are important and God has given me those relationships to honor and cultivate but I want to do it his way and not mine.
So here’s to learning what doing my best for Him looks like instead of being the best every day!
Beccy is a wife and a mother and also works as a Children’s Pastor in Greenville, SC. You can read her other blog posts at http://www.beresicfamily.com/