Last week, I wrote about how we all need to run in our own lane. My whole point in that post was that we can't live someone else's life; we have to live the life God has ordained for us, and stop comparing ourselves to one another.
Today, I'd like to talk to you about competing for your own prize.
I used to be a very competitive person. The problem was that I was competing for everybody else's prize.
In 2002, I began working for a wonderful, Fortune 500 company (where I still work today). The job I was in at that time had a very specific career path, and my employer was great about promoting people through it. I worked hard for promotion. I was hungry for success. I was promoted four times in four years, which was a very quick ascension up the corporate ladder.
You know what it got me?
It got me stressed out, severely depressed, having panic attacks, nightmares, a short fuse, and multiple crying spells every day. Yes, it earned me a lot of money too. It was a prestigious job. But the money and prestige weren't worth it.
I was miserable.
The company was a great company, and it still is. I'm proud to work there. But the problem was that:
- I was in a job that other people said I should be in.
- I was working toward goals that other people said I should work toward.
- I was trying to gain prestige that other people said I needed.
I was competing for a prize that wasn't a good fit for my life.
After five and a half years, I finally decided that it wasn't worth it. I had to get out.
When I finally drew the line in the sand, God, in His mercy, allowed me to interview and be chosen for a job (at the same company) that was a great fit for me. It was technically a lower-ranking job than the job I had been in. It was not prestigious; I would be on a resource team instead of on the team that was calling the shots. But the job was perfect, and still is, six years later. I'm so honored to work for my company, and I really enjoy my job now.
Throughout that entire process, though, I learned something key:
You have to compete for your own prize.
I've heard people say that there's nothing worse than getting to the end of life and realizing that you were successful at the wrong thing. How true must that be. I pray that I will never know that feeling, because I've stopped trying to please people and compare myself to others, and now I'm competing for my own prize.
What about you? Whose prize are you competing for?
Acts 20:24 says, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace” (emphasis mine).
The whole purpose of our “race” in life is to get the prize Father God intends for us. I have my prize and you have your prize. Our prizes are unique and individual!
And we only get one shot at this race of life.
The band “33 Miles” has a song called “One Life to Love” that says: “You only get just one time around; you only get one shot at this. One chance to find out the one thing that you don't wanna miss. One day when it's all said and done, I hope you see that it was enough; one ride; one try; one life to love.” Take a listen:
We only get one shot. Life only happens once.
You could compete for everybody else's prize:
- the prize other people think you should compete for;
- the prize that looks good but you're not called to;
- or the prize you feel obligated to compete for.
But other people's prizes won't bring you any satisfaction. They'll only bring heartbreak. They won't contain the joy and fulfillment God intends for YOU to have.
So you've got to run in your own lane.
You've got to compete for your own prize.
You've got to live the life God ordained for you, not try to live a life somebody else is called to.
Take a minute to honestly evaluate your own life. Are there any areas of your life in which you're competing for someone else's prize?