Losing Gracefully

By Dr. Jayce O’Neal
As we look at the world around us and the people in it, it is often difficult not to compare ourselves to others.
She is a great singer. I could never do that.
He is so much better than me at this and that.
These are the internal monologues we tell ourselves and save on the hard drives of our hearts – immobilizing our souls to truly and honestly be who we were created to be.
So much time is spent on what we do not have and what others do possess that we fulfill a self-prophecy that sends us into the cellar of impotency. We become timid, insecure, and complacent.
We become safe. What if I fail? What if I give my best, and it’s still not good enough?
When David met Goliath, he was not worried that Goliath had a sword and he had only a sling. He knew who he was and what he could do, and he met this situation with what he did have. Whether David lived or died was inconsequential to him. He met his challenge head-on.
Most of us these days would instead whimper in the corner, sucking our thumbs and crying, because our sling isn’t a sword. It’s not even a spear!
Honestly, does the Mona Lisa sit around saying, “If only I were a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David!” Seriously, does an orange complain that it is not an apple? Does the sky resent the earth? Do the stars envy the moon?
In 1 Corinthians 12:14-31 Paul talks about the very same thing.
“Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body, it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body” (I Corinthians 12:14-15, NIV).
We are all different. If the feet feel less than the hands, and the eyes are jealous of the ears, then we find ourselves impaired. We all have different strengths and weaknesses.
We have not learned to lose gracefully. We may think that losing is a bit of a stretch.
It’s as though we have a score card and we list who is better and worse than us. “She gets guys’ attention more than I do. Score one for her. Minus one for me.” Or, “He is stronger than me. Score one for him. Minus one for me.”
It is as though we say to ourselves, We must be the best! We can never fail because if we do, what might that say about us? We foolishly compare and compete, but in the end we all face the same fate.
Age is the great equalizer. Feeble bones and tattered memories sneak up on the young as they age, with or without their knowledge. In the end, the talented and gifted are no better off than the most average of us.
Why do we have to be the best? Why can’t we just be ourselves? It’s a freeing thought to finally realize we don’t have to be the best. We only have to be our best.
We may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but a hammer doesn’t need to be sharp. Can a hammer saw? Can a saw hammer? Can either do their job if they’re jealous of each other’s giftings and purpose?
This is a deep thought for a simple principle. Be free to be your best and free to do your job, not someone else’s. God has made us as different parts with different strengths. Freedom comes in relishing in what He’s made us to do, while admiring what He has made others to be as well.

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