October 26, 2016

Why Competition Isn't Always Good

Competition is good. Except when it isn’t. It’s good for board games and sports fields. But it can feel different when it comes to our most important work.

congratulations coworker Navigating the delicate art of comparison and unhealthy competition does not come naturally to me. I’ve wrestled through this. I’ve lost. I’ve won. And I’ve found it incredibly necessary to think about my pursuits in a better way. I’m an author. And like every author I know, the work doesn’t come easily. Several years ago, I poured out all the best words I had into a book proposal. My first. I tucked my heart and hopes into purple binders and dreamt about the day some publishing house would say yes. I can’t tell you the number of afternoons I stood at my mailbox, holding my breath, and praying there would be good news inside. When the rejection letters started coming, I tried to keep up the hope that surely there would be one positive letter. I only needed one. When the final rejection came, I felt so foolish for thinking I could actually write a book. I convinced myself my dream was nothing but a sham and I obviously had no writing skills.
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But at the same time, I had wannabe writer friends who were getting different letters from publishers. I’m talking amazing letters, dream-come-true letters, letters that turned into book contracts. In my better moments I celebrated them. But there were other moments. Hard moments. Moments when I felt my friends’ lives were rushing past me in a flurry of met goals, new opportunities, and professional affirmations. In those moments I said, “Good for them.” But on the inside I kept thinking, “Ouch. That means less opportunity for me.” The raw essence of honest hurting rarely produces pretty thoughts:
  • Why can’t I see the kind of breakthrough she’s experiencing?
  • He’s so much better connected, resourced, and talented than me.
  • Since they are already successful with their endeavors, I wonder if there’s even a need for mine.
When I wrote out these thoughts in my journal I was stunned at what I’d allowed to consume my thinking. Not one of these thoughts was helpful. And not one of these thoughts acknowledged God’s provision, which is big enough for us all. If I look at my dreams, desires, and hopes for the future as coming from a place of limited supply, it will constantly feed the notion that someone else’s success is a threat to mine. So what do we do? The very opposite of what feeds unhealthy comparison and competition. We ask God to bless others. We look for ways to help others succeed. We come alongside our fellow dream chasers and assure them this world needs more of what they uniquely have to offer. I know it sounds unusual, but couldn’t we all use a little more of this kind of unusual? I made the decision to start living this way twenty years and nineteen books ago, and it’s been the wildest ride of fantastic unusual. Just a couple of months ago I found out my dear friend Shauna Niequist was releasing a book the same day as me. My old thinking would have left me feeling alarmed. After all, she’s one of my favorite writers and an incredibly dear friend. No. I’ve trained my brain to think abundantly. I immediately told Shauna I wanted her to be the other keynote at my ministry’s conference where we could prelaunch both books together. Shauna was amazing. Her Present Over Perfect message was a terrific fit. And it’s clear people have enough room on their nightstands for both of our books. After all, we just got the news that we are side by side on the New York Times bestseller list. And who was the first person to send me a congrats text? Shauna. I know this isn’t always an easy message to live when our friends, coworkers, and even competitors are seeing the success we dream about. But take it from a girl who’s in your corner cheering for you like crazy. There is an abundant need in this world for your thoughts, words, ideas, and creativity. I promise, their success is no threat to yours. Click here to see this blog on Michael Hyatt's website where it was originally posted.
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A Summons to Witness, Protest, and Promise

We give thanks for this Summons to Witness, Protest and Promise written by the cabinet of the North Carolina Conference.  In our ongoing collaboration, we affirm these words alongside them.  Across our state, we invite all United Methodists to be a part of building “the new world God promises as heaven in time descends to earth.” (Revelation 21)

A Summons to Witness, Protest, & Promise

We, United Methodists in The Western North Carolina Conference, join our voices with The North Carolina Conference in witness, protest and promise in these times of violence against our Black brothers and sisters.

We believe. . .

We believe that the Holy Spirit is indeed poured out upon all people.
We believe that in baptism, we are incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation, and commissioned to resist evil, injustice and oppression, in whatever forms they present themselves.
We believe that God’s intent for humanity is community, compassion, and holiness, and that justice has been marred by the history of enslavement and racism.
We believe that repentance is urgent for the historic and ongoing violence against Black girls and boys, men and women.
We believe that in the wounding of Black bodies we see Christ crucified.
We believe that those who have been steeped in white privilege, through repentance, can be transformed into humble servants of the living God.
We believe we are called to work for the day when God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.

We protest. . .
We protest violent murders of Black men and women, most recently Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.
We protest the narratives of fear and suspicion that divide people from one another.
We protest our historic failure to ensure all our churches are places of hospitality, welcome, and belonging for our Black brothers and sisters.
We protest the historic and continuing suppression of voting and other basic rights.
We protest all incendiary public leadership in this time of crisis and turmoil.
We protest the lack of will in our communities, our state and our country to protect the lives of our Black brothers and sisters, and especially the most vulnerable, the young and the old.

We promise. . .
We promise to use our voices, resources and power to dismantle white privilege and racist systems, especially within our own United Methodist Church.
We promise to read the Scripture with ear and eye attentive to the continued call toward God’s will for all people.
We promise to exercise the right to vote and to work against voter suppression.
We promise to create around ourselves at all times hospitable space for all people.
We promise to name prejudice when we see it and to receive the correction of others who see prejudice in us.
We promise to be life-long learners, to constantly make adjustments in the way we use our power and influence, to be active participants in the building of the beloved community, and ultimately growing always in holiness toward the perfection we see in Christ.


Bishop Paul Leeland
Laura Auten
Carl Arrington
Michael Bailey
David Christy
Amy Coles
Bev Coppley
Beth Crissman
Otto Harris
David Hockett
Kim Ingram
Linda Kelly
Mark King
Melissa McGill
Samuel Moore, Jr.
Dan Pezet
Mark Ralls
David Snipes
Caroline Wood
Jane Wood

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
Tim Russell
Edie Gleaves
Ray Broadwell
Gil Wise
Gray Southern
Mike Frese
Kenneth Locklear
Randy Innes
Linda Taylor
Dena White
Tara Lain
Ismael Ruiz-Millan
Jon Strother
Beth Hood
Lisa Yebuah
Greg Moore
Steve Taylor

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