I sometimes have an embarrassingly competitive nature. I say sometimes because the competitiveness really only comes out when I think I have some kind of a chance. For example, I’m not competitive when it comes to mini golf… at all. In fact, I’ll be your tee-side entertainment as you experience a whole new level of horrible golfing. On the other hand, get me started in a game of scrabble (or practically any board/card game) and you won’t know what hit you. I don’t really know where this trait came from. I mean, my family and two siblings aren’t and never have been super-competitive, even amongst each other. The only sport any of us have ever played on some sort of competitive team was basketball. It’s also not much of a stretch to say that we weren’t what you would consider the “star players.” But goodness, when I’m in that competitive mode, you can bet your bottom dollar my laser-like focus will be on coming out on top.
I can remember during those two months at Craig Hospital in 2013, my competitive side was certainly present. You see, spinal cord injuries are pretty male dominated. In practically every one of the group classes I was in (especially the physical ones) I was always the only lady in the crew. On those long pushes to the Safe Way grocery store a few blocks away in wheelchair skills class and some of the CrossFit style weightlifting, there was no way this 21-year old female was gonna be in the bottom of the pack.
I think it’s natural to want to win. To succeed. To triumph. To overcome any and every obstacle. To be the first to the finish line that can be so easily envisioned in one’s mind. To want to push forward into the future, looking towards tomorrow, to the week after that, to the month after that, to the year after that.
Preparing for the future is awesome, but it causes me to forget that my present contains many of the moments I was once looking forward to. I’m one of those people who struggles with being content. It’s like I’m constantly seeking more; competing against myself and my situation to achieve even greater things.
I’m in a season of my life right now that I certainly hadn’t imagined. I’m living at home as a woman in my mid 20’s. I’m single after having been engaged and expecting to get married. I’m entering into the slow and arduous application cycle for medical school for the entering class of fall 2017. I’m in a season of transition and waiting. Transition is hard, waiting is even harder.
But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand. ~Isaiah 64:8
It’s really hard to let go, to surrender that fighting and competitive spirit and realize I’m right where God wants me to be. This season, this season of trial, pause, and singleness is an important part of His beautiful plan for my life. I know and need to trust that God is using this time to mold and shape me both as a person and in my faith. Now I will be the first to say that waving the white flag of surrender is anything less than a challenge. I don’t “give-up” easily and when I hear of surrendering, I assume that that is exactly what is going on. Yet, I don’t think that is really the case here.
Surrendering to this season, to these moments, and to this present, I’m able to see some pretty amazing things. When I was in the hospital, I looked forward to the day I could get out of bed without a nurse’s assistance. I dreamed of being able to dress myself without any kind of help. After being discharged, I just wanted to regain my independence as a driver. To be able to go and sit at a coffee shop by myself and not have to call someone for a ride back home.
You know, I’m there now. I’m there and even further beyond.
I’ve never been very good at art so I imagine my pottery skills would leave something to be desired. It sure doesn’t appear to be that way with God. Submitting to Him in any and all times, allowing Him to work His callused and practiced potter hands on this lowly lump of clay sure does yield some remarkable results.
Sometimes there is no need to compete.
Sometimes surrender is the best and most beautiful option.