We are ten minutes into the commute home. One minute he is watching something on his phone then he looks out the side window and then out the front.
“Oh that’s cool.” he says.
“What’s cool?” I ask.
“If you look out the side of the window it looks like you are going really fast, but if you look out the front & look ahead it looks like you are going really slow,” he replies.
“So it’s all about perspective.” I say.
Perspective. I think perspective is one of the easiest things to lose. We can get so caught up in the moment, in a situation, that we forget where our focus needs to be. I hear my son getting frustrated and upset over a video basketball game. And I think “really?” It’s just a game. Him and a machine. Does it really warrant that much energy?
Why does competition mean so much? Why does competition bring out the worst?
But then I am prone to losing my perspective also, especially in my creative pursuits. The perfectionist tries to come out to play ruining the focus I need. Under the surface it is about competition. It is about thinking what I am writing or painting or the photographs I produce are not good enough. I compare myself to others whose art I admire and compare my own to theirs. Why can’t I paint like her? Why can’t I write like him? Many times we forget how focused others are on their work. I can not expect myself to paint like my friend who paints five hours a day when I can only manage two or three a week. I cannot expect myself to write like a favorite blogger who pushes himself to thousands of words a day when I’m lucky if I can manage to sit long enough to write five hundred twice a week.
My son often compares himself to a teammate who is an incredible golfer. I am constantly reminding him that what makes his teammate an incredible golfer is the hours upon hours he puts into it.
Comparison is the biggest mistake we can make. Especially when it comes to artistic activities where one might see beauty and another may see a chaotic mess.
If my focus is in the wrong place, my perspective becomes skewed.
How do we remove our focus from comparison and competition when we are constantly bombarded by it?
By daily shifting our perspective to Him and the promises He gives. Yes, daily.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. – Psalm 139: 14
Two things catch my attention in this Psalm. The psalmist give thanks and he knows in his spirit that he belongs to God.
If we give thanks for who God created us to be and rest in His truths, we can maintain the perspective we need to keep the comparison trap from entangling our hearts and skewing our perspective. Does He want us to give our best to the areas He gifts us in and calls us to? Absolutely. But giving our best does not mean we need to feel the pressure of perfection or compare our endeavors to others.
Do you struggle to keep competition and comparison from skewing your perspective?