I’m competitive. Anyone who knows me in the least bit knows this about me. It’s a strength and a weakness all wrapped up into one overpowering character trait. I love the euphoria that accompanies a victory. It’s addicting and I crave it even in the littlest of things. You know the guy in the group who you can egg on to do most things by adding, “you won’t do that” to the end of the sentence? Yeah, that’s me. I can turn almost anything into a competition.
But on the flipside, my competitive nature is exhausting and partly motivated by something not so innocent: fear and anxiety.
I played baseball in college and my coach always used to say, “You’ve gotta hate losing more than you love winning”. I was afraid to lose, which motivated me to work my absolute hardest to be the best I could be. Now that I’m in the working world, my fear of failure continues to fight to control my motivation. I’m always pushing myself to be better, not always for the sake of being better, or glorifying God, but because I’m scared out of my mind that I’ll be seen as a failure if I don’t succeed.
What’s silly about my endless pursuit is that no matter how many championships I win, promotions I get, or accolades I garner, my fear of failure and ensuing anxiety, are never quenched. I am seemingly always toiling to build this façade that I can morph into and claim as my own. That is, until I look to Christ.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
I have to continually remind myself to look to Christ as my source of peace and contentment, rather than the next pay raise or victory. When I look to Christ, I experience the truth of the passage above.
There is peace in Christ that I’ve learned to love and crave when I’m cashing in and letting my fear and anxiety take hold.
Now, I’m not writing at the top of some accomplished mountain, but from the vantage point of one who knows and has experienced the joy that comes from the peace of God while simultaneously fighting off the constant urge to try to revert back to the pursuit of peace through my own victories in the world.
And so my prayer is this: that I may wake up each day and be reminded of the gospel. That Christ has come to earth, won over sin on my behalf, and now grants me peace by trusting in Him. It can be hard to believe that peace and joy are at hand when my fear and anxiety are banging down the door. But I know it is true. I’ve experienced the joy and freedom first hand, and I know you will too.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:4-7