Last month I went to my first conference since seminary, Catalyst Conference out in Orange County, California. One word: Wow! It was absolutely unreal on so many different levels. Except in one way… the feelings of competition.
I’m not sure if people are just better looking in California than they are in South Dakota (Don’t share this with anyone from SoDak!), but most of the people looked like they could have walked right out of a magazine. Sporting their skinny jeans and TOMS, they were hipster to the core. (Note: I was wearing TOMS myself so I’m not judging, just observing here.) Of course I assumed they were just as great at leading and preaching as they were at dressing stylishly. Almost out of nowhere the feelings of comparison and competition immediately began to fill up and take over my heart. I realized it was the first time I had felt that way since… seminary. The last time I was surrounded by hundreds of people who were in or are going into ministry.
It’s strange how often (sometimes daily) I find myself asking the Lord the same me-centered question the disciples did. “Who is the greatest?” In this conversation the question was, “Who is the greatest in ministry?” A question that makes me feel empty, restless and broken. A question that never leaves me content after asking it. A question that we shouldn’t have to ask when Christ has so clearly made known to us His feelings about us. We know the list: we are His heirs, children, friends and masterpieces.
The feelings of competition had nothing to do with the conference, rather it had everything to with the condition of my heart. Insecurity comes up anytime I base my worth and identity on something other than my relationship to the Father. It doesn’t take a conference to play the comparison game, wherever two or more are gathered it shows up. Lord, forgive, free and fill me.
Is this something you regularly struggle with? How have you found victory in claiming your identity in Christ rather than your value based on where you are compared to the fellow laborers beside you?