Winners vs. Losers
I hate failing. I absolutely loathe the feeling when I play a game of scrabble with my mum, and she absolutely decimates every opponent, including me. I remember once, I protested in disbelief that she defeated everyone. The rest of the players had accepted that they lost but I struggled to gracefully lose.
If you want to see another example of a bitter loser, then look no further than across the pond, at the contested results of the US Elections.
Even though I was dejected by the defeat at scrabble, I recognised that it didn’t change the circumstances. My mum won, I lost. It was an uncomfortable reality that I had to become accustomed to.
Recently, I came to the realisation that I viewed life from the same prism with which I viewed the game. Hence, I felt as if I was losing in life whereas others were winning. The difference is, life isn’t a game, and it can be detrimental to view it as a race against others.
The ideology of winning and losing that I developed was based on societies standards of success. Success in quantifiable achievements i.e. completing my Honours Degree, acquiring a house, passing my practical driver’s test and having a full time job.
I understood that these accomplishments wouldn’t get me to heaven and I would never be satiated by comparing myself to others. However, I couldn’t change my mindset.
Then, the penny dropped when I had my therapy session. I spoke to my therapist about my debilitating thoughts and she reminded me that
Comparison is the thief of joy.
As soon as I heard that proverb, I mentally time-travelled to the past, when I listened to a sermon about God ordering our steps. The sentiments of the sermon were that God has placed each one of us on a unique path because He wants to build our character and He has set us apart (ordained us) for a specific purpose.
In the sermon, the preacher used the quote “Comparison is the thief of joy” and related it to the children of Israel, who were encouraged to follow the “cloud” not the “crowd”. The cloud represented the glory of God and the crowd represented human beings. This resonated with me as, at times, I felt like it was easier to follow the crowd rather than follow God.
When I recognised that my therapist and the preacher used the same maxim, it reinforced the importance of applying the message to my life. If I wanted to overcome the feeling of lack of fulfilment and worthlessness, I had to cease comparing myself to others and see myself through God’s lenses.
God doesn’t look at us the way we tend to look at others – by their actions and the way they are in that moment. Rather, He looks at our potential [through Him] and believes that we have the victory because He already won the battle for us. He won when He sent His only begotten son, Jesus, to die for our sins.
Focus on the process not the outcome
Another gem that my therapist shared was,
Don’t focus only on the outcome, focus on the process.
This was something that I needed to hear as I was tunnel visioned with regards to achieving my goals, to the extent that I would not consider the journey to accomplishing my hearts desires.
I have learnt to appreciate the journey that God has placed me on. Even when I think that it isn’t where I expected to be, it is exactly where I need to be.
There is a Proverb in the Bible which says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” (Proverbs 16:9).
Sometimes it seems like you are taking steps backwards, but remember that you are exactly where you need to be. The journey to your destination is not linear. It isn’t easy. It will include some highs and lows but you have to keep pushing forward.
Where is your destination?
So we have comprehended that life isn’t a race and we should focus on the process. But the question still remains, where are we going?
Some people hate formulating goals. Others can’t function without them. Regardless of whether you love or hate goals, the fact of the matter is that we all have aspirations of some kind. The aspirations could range from being a data scientist to possessing a peace of mind.
It is natural to aspire to obtain something that you don’t already have. However, we need to recognise that we already have a great amount of blessings.
Having a sound mind, good physical health, knowing that you are loved by God, family, friends, and the list goes on. There are so many blessings in our lives that we often take them for granted.
My challenge to you is to count your blessings each day and see how your perspective changes. Once you’re perspective changes, you will be content before you even reach your final destination.