"Sometimes while I'm talking to God, He'll show me something about myself in such a way that I have to laugh at my own humanity and how funny I must look to Him." - Donna

Donna...just found your blog...I absolutely love it! And I love your singing! I'm at work right now and it was just exactly what I needed to hear to help me make it through tonight! Thanks for your ministry here!
- Robert

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Saturday, January 15, 2005

Competitive Spirit

I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.Acts 20:24 niv

Many (many, many!) years ago, I attended a cheerleading camp. All week long, we practiced our cheers and choreographed our steps. At the end of the competition, the best squad won a trophy. Another competition went on simultaneously. Whoever won that one received the coveted ‘Spirit Stick.” After all, what would any self-respecting cheerleader be without that school spirit? The competition escalated as we neared the final ceremony. Many of the girls thrived on the tension. Not me. I became a nervous wreck.

I’m the type of person who throws in her cards when the competition heats up, or backs off when confronted with an overzealous opponent. My stomach quivers at the thought of such rivalry.

The apostle Paul, obviously well acquainted with competition, referred to winning quite often. In 1 Corinthians 9:23-24 (niv), Paul said, “I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

Paul encouraged us to run to win. What do we win? He goes on to say in verse 25, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

When I feel overwhelmed by an opponent, I might mutter, “It’s only a game” or “I don’t care about winning that much.”

But when we’re talking about eternity, I do care, and I do want to win – souls for the Lord, and the battle against Satan. And one day a crown of life. In order to win, we must aggressively pursue a relationship with God, our Father, and be willing to stay in strict training as we pursue His will.

I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone in the past few months to promote my writing. I’m not adverse to hard work, researching the market, and writing till my fingers ache. I don’t want to come across as so humble that I don’t praise the Lord for what He’s done through me. For every article published, for every heart touched, for every person who is encouraged, I give God the glory. I’m thrilled He will use me. I’m thankful that, instead of a ‘Spirit Stick,” I have the real Spirit to help me, to prod me on, to encourage, and empower me. Praise the Lord!

If God wants me to do cartwheels (oh, I hurt at just the thought of it!) across a platform, I’d do it – even though at this point, it would mean enthusiastically promoting my latest project – my mid-life version of a cartwheel.

I feel like my no-compete clause has caused me to retreat. I'm defeating that tendency with God’s help. In the Christian race, we don’t compete against each other. When we work together in unity as a team to tell others of Jesus’ love, we all win.

My cheerleading squad may not have won the ‘Spirit Stick’ but I did end up getting a trophy one year for being the “Best All-Round Cheerleader.” Now I’m afraid I might just win one for being round.

Keep pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly calling of God. Are you in the running? And just for old time’s sake: Go, Christian, go!

Prayer: God, I thank You for the promise of a crown of life. I ask for strength to persevere, and the wisdom to do Your will. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.


glenniah said...

I don't have a competitive spirit and I think that comes from my upbringing. I never really ever expect to beat anybody else. I suppose the best person for me to compete against is myself. I want to aim for one star and then reach for the next.
Yay for you stepping out of your comfort zone Donna and how God has used you its great.

Anonymous said...

God couldn't have picked a better cheerleader to lead HIS squad to victory Donna.

Queen Jaw Jaw
The Queen of Experiences

Anonymous said...

This has been happening since the fall of man. Remember - when Lot chose the best parcel of land, God provided better for Abram than he could have asked. There is no (I mean no) respect for these ones who choose to cheat to beat. Oh, by the way, thanks for this mornings devotional ..... amy

Paul said...

Hi Donna,

A super post my friend!

Thank you for sharing it!!

I know the Lord has taken me out my comfort zone a lot lately and that He has been with me each and every step of the way.

Thanks for cheering us on my friend!


Anonymous said...

Donna, You're getting better every day! I am enjoying drawing closer to Him through you, and closer to you through your writing about Him. You're gifted. Continue to use your gifts to glorify His name. I want to be one of the first to get an autographed copy of your devotion book. I know you have it in you!
Dotsie Bregel

Katy said...

Donna--This was a great post. I'm so like you on the subject of backing off when competition is involved. God is challenging me to promote my writing--and myself--and it goes against what "feels" right to me. But it's a process I must go through if the words I write are ever to see the light of day. So I'll do it.
But I still start sweating every time I think about it!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I wonder what that says about me. I USED to have a competitive spirit--I LOVED to win!...although I was a good sport, even as a loser. In recent years that drive to win has given way to a desire to help and support. I never realized it until reading your blog. I wonder what the Lord is doing in me...? Thanks for giving me something to pray specifically about.

Amber Lynn said...

"I do care." And there is nothing God would rather have you care about. Keep focused on heaven and his glory!

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