rebelling against low expectations

Success Is Not a Competition


They got it, but I didn’t.

I didn’t specify who or what, but I would venture to guess that someone and something came to your mind when you read that statement.

If we’re honest, we can all view life a little bit like a competition.

They got that promotion and I didn’t, so I’ll put them down because I clearly deserved it more. They got the dream I prayed for and I didn’t, so obviously that means that my dream is going to crumble. They got the good news and I got the bad, so that must mean God listened to their prayers and ignored mine.

The world places so much emphasis on doing better and being more than someone else that we can get lost in all of the striving.

The striving to achieve success first. The striving to make our dreams bigger and better than theirs.

And in the midst of all this striving, we miss it. We miss what really matters.

Because if we’re being honest, then we have to realize that life isn’t a competition at all. Life is a journey that we’re walking with each other, not against each other.

As I have contemplated this, I have come to learn a few things about success and why we can tend to view it a little bit like a competition.

Your worth is not defined by your success.

Have you ever received a rejection on something you worked really hard for? Have you ever fought for a dream, only to watch it crumble in front of you? Sometimes when we watch someone else live out a dream that we failed to achieve, we can allow it to define us as a failure.

And maybe this is why we can get so hurt when someone else achieves what we hoped for.

Because we let success define us.

Let me reassure you. Your success and your achievements do not define who you are. Your worth is not measured by how much you achieve in life. Your worth is measured in Whose you are. As a child of God, you are completely loved by God (1 John 3:1)–with or without success.

Their success does not affect your success.

Have you ever watched someone else achieve the same dream you prayed so hard for? Maybe it felt a little bit unfair, because maybe it felt like it would overshadow your success.

First, let’s set something straight.

Someone else’s success does not have the power to interrupt God’s plan for your life.

Just because they succeeded does not mean that you won’t succeed too. If you’re feeling like their success overshadows yours, perhaps you should re-evaluate your heart to make sure it’s in the right place. Our focus for success should be on glorifying Christ, not on our own fame or spotlight.

We need to celebrate the success of others.

Romans 12:15 (ESV) tells us, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

We’re all doing life together. We’re all figuring this out together. And fighting against one another or turning life into a competition is not how we are to represent Christ.

When someone achieves an important success, rejoice with them! Celebrate with them. Show them that you care.

Trust me, I know it can be hard to watch your dream stay stuck where it is, when someone else lives out what you’re praying for. But jealously isn’t going to hurry your dream along any.

If it’s in God’s plan for your life, your success will come. Nothing in this world can stop God’s plan for you.

So in the meantime, keep serving and loving how he would have you serve and love.

Your time is coming too.

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About the author

Bella Morganthal

Bella Morganthal (22) is a writing coach, editor, and author. She is passionate about leading teens and young adults to a relationship with Christ through her work as a Student Ministries Team Leader at a local church in Maryland. She’d love to hear from you.

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rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →