Quit the Game

A friend challenged me to come up with twenty-six goals for my twenty-sixth year of life. (Well really, she jokingly asked me what my 26 goals were, and now I’ve made it a challenge for myself.)

So far I have come up with some pretty good ones: read 26 books (send me recommendations!!), blog for 26 straight Fridays (wish me luck!), cook for friends (be my friend!), and make my bed everyday (yes, I made it to 26 without this being a real value. It now is. Sorry Mama.)

There are more, but a girl doesn’t share all her goals, right?!

I know that you are supposed to only make “S.M.A.R.T.” goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound. But some goals just can’t really fit in those categories and I’m not so tightly-wound as to try to make them.

One of these goals is this: Stop playing point guard in the comparison game.

UGH. I recently deleted all social media off my phone because I couldn’t even handle it. Every time I opened Instagram all the things I am not were right in my face. When I looked at Facebook, I was reminded of everyone who has a “better” life than I do.

That is when I realized, I am tired of living as if life is a zero-sum game. That is what we preach when we practice comparison.

If she has the happiness of getting engaged, there is less happiness available for me.

If he writes a book, then there is less chance/reason/hope for me to do that.

If they love her, then there is less love for me.

 Don’t tell me I’m the only one who does this!? Very few things in this arena are actually zero-sum. Yes, every girl who gets married actually eliminates one possible guy I could have married. But every person who reads someone else’s writing does not mean one less who could read mine. One compliment given does not mean there is one less available to me.

As I tried to think of things that were actually zero-sum, this is what I came up with:

Husbands. Chocolate. Attention. Recognition. Time.

As in, he is her husband, he cannot be mine. As Donna Meagle says on Parks and Recreation, “Dating is a zero-sum game. If you get a man, I don’t get that man.”

She ate that chocolate, it cannot be mine. She has his attention, it cannot be mine. They gave him that recognition, they cannot give it to me. You gave them your time, it cannot be given to me. (sounds very, very selfish.)

How about some non-zero-sum things?

Words. Love. Jesus. JOY. Friendship. (Such sunshiny things!)

Even with the zero-sum list, I found myself saying, “But even then…” There are still other men and other M&M’s. You don’t have to choose just one person to give your time and attention to. Yes, the “Nobel Peace Prize of 2015” can only be given once, but we can be recognized in other ways.

Also, time, recognition, attention, chocolate, husbands? Not great for you in excess. We just need some. (Except husbands, let’s stick to one there.)

But the non zero-sum things? There is a reason they are unlimited. We all need a whole lot of love, friendship, Jesus, JOY, and words. And just as we come to believe that just because they are given to others doesn’t mean they can’t be given to us, we also should realize that we can give these out freely as well.

Hand out compliments like you’re Donald Trump (oh, bad reference? Ok, how about…Oprah?). Like you’re rich, and want everyone to have them.

 Be a friend to everyone you meet. Make sure everyone knows about Jesus. Spread JOY. It is like peanut butter, it makes everything better.

I’m reminding myself constantly, there is room at the table. There is room for people to have great lives, fall in love, have babies (just don’t post pics of them like errryday, k?), and have success. It doesn’t take away from the story God is writing for you. Your success does not require someone else’s failure. Your love story doesn’t require someone else’s heartbreak. Don’t approach life like a zero-sum game. We serve and follow the God of life abundant – not scarcity. He has enough love and life to go around a billion times eternity. He literally has life enough for us all to live forever.

Make some goals for yourself, and include benching yourself from the comparison game. Nobody wants to be the MVP for that team.

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I write to process, and sometimes send those thoughts out into the void. Passionate about Jesus and people and bringing those two together. Living in and loving Denver. Working with college students, who are the coolest. Seeking Jesus and JOY in everything.

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