Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The competition no one can win

If you know me at all, you know that I am competitive. So last night at the gym while running next to a 16 year old on the treadmill, my competitive spirit kicked into high gear. There are about 15 machines to choose from and of course she chose the one next to me so I knew right away it was on! I was running at a lovely 5.5 pace when she mounted her lane. She started at level 5-ha, a slow start I see. Then progressed to 5.2, then 5.5, then 6. That is where she camped out for awhile. So in effort not to be outdone, I cranked up my machine to 6.2. Moments later she was up to 6.5 and so was I. Then we battled each other for level 7. Knowing that I would be risking injury for the marathon if I pushed myself too hard I camped out there. But in effort to prove her vitality and youth, she cranked herself up to 8 and even 9.9 for a few minutes. However the poor thing tuckered herself out after 20 minutes of running and while I was still at 7, she dropped down to a mere level 4 and began "walking it out." (Meanwhile I kept booking it for another 10 minutes).

I share this silly story with you as a picture showing that it doesnt matter what age, what religion, or what sex, we are all acutely aware of ourselves in comparison with those around us. Pick a task and inevitably, in the back of our minds, we are comparing our performance with that of someone else. Could it be that society has so ingrained itself in our bones that we choose this torture for ourselves on a daily basis? Or could it be that we were created this way?

Im not suggesting that we were created to compare ourselves with other people but that we are created to always be aware that we are incapable of perfecting anything. There will be shortcomings and limits to what we can do. Thats precisely why we need a Savior - to be our strength when we are weak. We just settle for a lower standard when we compare ourselves to other fallable human beings.

Now Im pretty sure that God isnt planning on stepping in during my next run and making me able to run 18 miles at a 9.9 treadmill level pace, but I am sure that when I see someone that is better than me at something or someone that makes me question my beauty, I have a place to go to where I will be reminded of how adequate and beautiful I am to my Creator.

PS Its not always bad to be challenged by the person running next to you either. Maybe they will help you reach a potential you didnt know you were capable of until they pushed you on by their sheer ability and your competitive comparison to them. As iron sharpens iron... (even if one of the pieces doesnt know its iron, it can still sharpen you if you let it.)


Bethany said...

This blog made me laugh....I have totally done this before- except that one time, I tripped on my tread mill b/c my legs couldn't keep up. So sometimes, also, God has a way of reminding us of pride in our hearts- however big or small! :-)

MOM said...

I totally understand the concept but when I'm walking briskly on my treadmill at a 3.3 pace, it seems a bit out of my league to envision 5 or 6 or more.......... sigh
And I HATE it when some young snarf hops on, puts on the headset, and TAKES OFF !!!!!!!!!! Drag racing on the treadmills and in life - yep, we all do it. Reminds me of the time I slid right off the back at the rec center - humility lesson

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