Encouragement 11-16-04


November 16, 2004
Encouragement for Today

Competition or Mission
by Rachel Olsen - Speaker Team Member, ETC Editor

Key Verse:

"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10 (NLT).

The children's museum in our city is moving to bigger and better digs downtown.  On the other end of town, a new play-place for kids has opened up.  It has various children's play stations with a coffee and snack bar for adults.  The eating area has large windows over looking the play center - allowing you to watch your children play but not hear them as you relax, eat or chat with other moms.  They even have "Parents' Night Out" nights where your kids enjoy supervised play while you and hubby go out for the evening.  I understand this place has been a big hit with local families.
I was recently at the children's museum.  From the art room where I painted with my daughter, I couldn't help but overhear the museum staff discussing options for the new building.  They talked about the new play-place and all it had to offer.  The conversation turned to formulating a plan to compete with this new program.  After some lively discussion about adding a restaurant or a supervised play time, a very wise woman said, "But that's not what our mission is. Our stated mission is to provide a stimulating environment where parents play with and along side of their children." 
While the children's museum serves the same audience as the new place across town, they do not share the same methods or purpose for serving these families.  I was struck by how easily, losing sight of this fact, they almost changed their course and invested thousands of dollars to conform to someone else's mission.  People do it all the time.
Do you ever look at other women and compare yourself to them - compare what you've got to what they have, or what you do to what they accomplish?  I know I sometimes do and every time I make that comparison, I come up short.  Either I'm not as pretty or not as smart, not as rich or not as popular, not as energetic or not as organized, not as creative or not as productive. 
God didn't create me, however, to live their life.  He gave me my own mission.  When I keep my eyes on the Lord and His plans for my life, it doesn't matter what others are doing.  I don't have to compete because there is no competition for the role of Rachel Olsen on this Earth.  I simply want to be the best Rachel Olsen God enables me to be. 

Friends, there is no true competition for your roles either. You were specifically knitted together in your mother's womb by God Himself with purpose and care (Psalm 139:13).  No one else has the exact same combination of personality traits, spiritual gifts and life experiences as you.  You are a one-of-a-kind, and you have a grand mission only you can fulfill.  Ephesians 2:10 says it this way, "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago" (NLT).

I can say with confidence that no one else can be your parents' daughter or your sibling's sister. I know that no one else can be your husband's wife or your children's mother.  I believe there are specific roles for you to play in your church and in your community. You were destined for these roles and nobody can do it like you!

I do not know all the designs God has on your life, but I know that they are good and worth pursuing wholeheartedly.  I also know you will not discover them by envying other women or accepting their mission in place of your own.  Ignore the competition; better yet be happy for their success!  They are no threat to you.  Just keep your eyes on the Lord and keep asking Him to bring about His plans for you today. 

My prayer for today:

Father God, I declare according to Ephesians 2:10 that you have good plans for my life.  I ask you to reveal them to me and bring them closer to completion today.  Convict me Holy Spirit when I begin to envy, covet or compare.  Remind me that I need not compete with others, but love them.  You are my source of fulfillment and in your name I pray, Jesus.

Application Steps:

Each time you find yourself feeling competitive or envious of another woman, march right up to her and with all the gracious sincerity you can find, congratulate or compliment her.  When you walk away, thank the Lord that you do not have to compete with anyone to have all that God intends for you

Reflection points:

Have you been comparing yourself to others, always coming up short?

Have you adopted someone else's mission as your own because they seem to be confident and successful in life?

Do you realize now that you will never be truly successful living out someone else's mission?

Are you willing to cast off your tendency to compare and compete?

Let go and let God work out His plans in your life!

Power Verses:

"Stand Firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."  1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV)

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving."  Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

"The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to their own labor."  1 Corinthians 3:8 (NIV)

"I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be." Philippians 3:12 (NLT)

Additional Resources:

Living Life on Purpose by Lysa TerKeurst

Dreams of a Woman by Sharon Jaynes

Originally published Tuesday, 16 November 2004.