I wanted to make my mark in this world, don’t we all? This goal proved a challenge, however, when I seemed to get the short stick in the gifts and natural talents department. I felt like a square peg in a round hole in my competent family.
What was I to do? I began striving to compete and surpass my sister or anyone else I deemed more capable than myself.
I had chosen the wrong person to compete with, however. Joni was a scholar and became a lawyer, chief counselor, and vice president of her company. Every time I tried to get ahead, I failed.
Sibling rivalry or friend rivalry, for that matter, is as old as the Bible. There are many examples in the Bible of these same feelings. What were they commonly battling over: favor, possessions, children, husband, more desirable circumstances, others wives, or popularity.
I heard this song one day by Sly and the Family Stone, Everybody is a Star. The words that stuck in my mind were: I love you for who you are-not for who you think you need to be…I wish I had believed those words at the time but instead I became a poser and finally lost my identity altogether in the quest to pattern myself after the brilliant law career of my sister. I really just wanted to gain my parent’s favor.
That’s how it began-this competitive, comparing, jealous attitude that always loomed in the background and frequently proved my deficiency true.
Envy is desiring something someone else has. Jealousy is fear of losing what you already have. I was guilty of both. I envied my sister’s brains and was afraid of losing my parent’s attention.
I was reading in Ezekiel 18 one day and these words jumped off the page at me: Rid yourselves of all your offenses and get a new heart and spirit. What? I had always wanted to be liked and affirmed so that cannot be me. I had never hurt anyone on purpose or had I? On the other hand, when people had taken advantage of me, run over, or hurt me unfairly; well then, yes, I got offended.
I resented their treatment and began avoiding them altogether rather than talking to them about it. Regardless of how I found myself in this conflicted bitter state, or whose fault it was; I knew I was to go and get my part confessed and straightened out. Even if it was just a matter of pointing out a situation which had hurt my feelings, I was to put the offense back in the other party’s court to deal with.
As I went about breaking up this hardened ground in my life by clearing myself with each one, I began to feel much lighter. Facing my pain, telling the truth, and humbling myself seemed to be the formula that began to set me free. I found that often my vulnerable confession of envy or hurt feelings opened doors in the future for a salvation or new respect from others. Expressing myself gave me new tools to teach others how they should treat me. I could look people in the eye now and know I had followed what I felt God was guiding me to do. I no longer felt suppressed poisonous feelings inside. Most importantly, the offense was off of my hands.
The biggest benefit came when I made amends in my own family for competing with my sister. My sister promptly admitted her part in our division and together we realized we were unconsciously competing to win our parents’ attention. We became best friends as a result of this revelation and discovery of our own tailor made missions in life. Now we can sincerely be happy for each other and treasure the gift God has given us in each other.
Do you need to rid yourself of any offenses and get a new heart and spirit? Have you stuffed some feelings that are piling up and need to be set right in a healthy way? Do it today. The longterm benefits outweigh the initial discomfort. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. (James 5:16)
There will always be two kingdoms vying for our loyalty, co-existing in direct opposition to each other. Don’t get distracted by trying to live another’s destiny. The enemy uses this ploy to keep you from your own. You are the only one who can fulfill your mission so there’s no reason to compete. We can’t ever love someone completely when we are competing. Aren’t we to be known like the disciples for our love for one another?
Christ in you is your hope of glory. How freeing to please an audience of One and trust Him for the results of our journey, our healing, and who He designed us to be.