Best. Better. Top. Favorite.
That’s all I wanted. Was that too much to ask?
I deeply desired to be a favorite aunt of one of my nieces or nephews. I craved being someone’s best friend … above anyone else. I wanted to win a writing contest.
It all circled around the same thing.
Attention. Accolades. Applause. Significance. Acceptance.
We all have hopes, right? That thing or things that we think will add value somewhere in us.
Problem is that when I didn’t win, felt I wasn’t a favorite or best, jealousy built. Envy grew. Bitterness as to why I wasn’t chosen, took up more of my heart’s landscape.
I’m sure if God had taken a picture of my heart, the thing most prevalent would have been an area of overgrown weeds, thistles, and greyness. And yet, that’s where I asked His Spirit to live.
I prayed for release. I cried out for the ability to celebrate someone else’s victory though it meant my defeat. I sought a way to cheer on someone else who received more notice or consideration.
Still, when I watched a different person receive recognition, the comparison emptiness taunted me and cried out that I was less than and not even in the same league. Do you know that feeling? Comparison kills potential, humility, and relationships.
I knew the truth. I read verses about putting others first or about only needing God’s approval and not a person’s. Only God’s favor should I seek. I didn’t even have to pursue it since this is a gift already provided through the Holy Spirit within me.
Sometimes, even when I know the truth, lies scream and fear cries simultaneously attempting to drown out what I know.
Seeking only God gives my heart its fullest sense of belonging.
Searching for God’s desires alone keep my mind from straying.
Looking to Him for my identity allows my soul to find a hiding place.
So why don’t I?
Significance outside of Him disappoints.
Applause doesn’t last.
Accolades are temperamental.
Even acceptance is determined by fleeting emotions.
Attention depends on circumstances.
These things are true, and yet even in knowing, I wanted them.
I asked God for a change of heart. I begged Him to remove the self-centered thoughts. I cried out that He would catch me in the moment and help me make a different decision.
I still fought.
I trust I’ll never forget the day His light shone on reality in such a deep way.
Once again, the emotions of feeling like someone loved me less hit my heart like a bowling ball. Thoughts flew like the pins after being hit. Tears threatened to flood.
And in the stillness of that moment, my thoughts grasped a truth I’d never acknowledged.
If I’m my niece’s favorite, then her other aunts are not.
If I am loved more, someone else might be loved less.
If I win the contest, someone else loses.
I started thinking about how someone else might feel in that situation.
Now, before you start reasoning about the truth that someone can have multiple favorites or bests or love more than one person deeply, let me assure you, I know that.
But in that moment, the walls fell down from around my heart and I felt for the other person.
I don’t want someone else to struggle with and feel what I’ve felt. Less than. Not as good as.
I took the truths I’ve known all of my life and looked at someone else. God shifted my heart and my focus.
I can honestly say, since that moment of healing, I’ve rejoiced in the relationships my sisters have with my nieces and nephews and what I have with them as well. Not comparatively. Simply for what they are.
I’ve been happy to hear of someone else’s victory in a contest.
I’ve rejoiced in a friend’s relationship with a different friend.
I wish I had an easy answer, but in a way, I did, though difficult to detect at the time. I kept coming back to God.
Recognition was the key to seeing the lies and fear. I needed to hurt before I could be healed. I had to die to self to live the way He desired.
Since this experience, the old inner battle has not re-surfaced. I put on His armor (Ephesians 6: 10-17) daily and do (or will) not entertain the thoughts which previously pummeled my spirit.
When there is an inner war that keeps coming to the surface, don’t give up. Continue taking it to God and when He knows your heart is ready, He will take down the wall of fear and reveal His truth to your soul.
Photos: Unsplash 1. Ezra Comeau Jeff 2. Todd Diemer
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