Women and Competition

Women. Competition.

It seems that these two words tend to go hand-in-hand in our society these days.  Whether we’re attempting to look better, have a more beautifully-decorated home, or be a better mother than every other woman…we’re paralyzing our effectiveness through our attacks on each other and even our jealousy of one another.  This was blatantly apparent in the comments on a post I shared earlier this week and it seems to be encouraged in the media today.

I want to tell you a little story that has to do with this very issue.

There were once two girls who were seniors in high school who had gone to the same school together since kindergarten.  Both of these girls chose to run for Student Body President in their school.  They were also best friends at the time.

(I’m sure at this point you might be envisioning a major cat fight and a lost friendship due to the circumstances of these two women competing against each other for the same position.)

Instead of competing against each other, these two girls began campaigning for each other, speaking highly of the other person at every opportunity they could.  When it came time to deliver their speeches to the entire student body, these girls chose to wear matching outfits and went out on the stage together.  Instead of delivering a speech about each of their individual qualifications to be student body president, each girl chose to exalt her friend instead…in essence, delivering a campaign speech of the other person’s behalf.

When it came time to vote, only one of the best friends won.  But the other girl was genuinely happy for her friend.  She celebrated with her friend and then won the election for Senior Class President.  They served together side-by-side for their final year of high school, even closer to each other than ever before.

Are you touched?  Me too.  You see, I was one of those girls.

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This was another time we wore matching outfits...I couldn't find the one from our speeches. :)

 

I don’t tell you this to make myself look good.  In fact, I tell you this for the exact opposite reason:  There is absolutely no way I could have acted this way on my own.  I struggle with self-confidence and jealousy, which typically only add fuel to the fire in this type of situation.  But because of my friend’s encouragement and our common faith in God, we were able to treat each other with respect, love, and admiration even in the midst of ‘competition’ with one another.

 

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I have had the immense blessing of having some incredible Christian friends throughout my life.  This friendship is certainly no exception.  I have always been the type of person who has needed one or two REALLY strong friendships (and then I can have lots of more surface-level friendships).  I am a bit of an introvert, so I don’t typically open up to large groups of people.  And by large, I typically mean more than 2 or maybe 3.  Finding a friend like this one who I can fully trust and who I know will encourage me to be a better person is truly a treasure.

The moral of the story is that we, as women, do not need to be in competition with one another.  We need to be encouraging one another.  We need to be accountable to one another.  We need to be cheering one another on!

This certainly isn’t something we can do on our own, though.  It goes against everything “natural” inside of us NOT to be jealous of someone who has something we want…whether that is a better body, a more beautiful house, or smarter, more well-behaved children!

We need two things to stop this epidemic:

1) God.  He is the only one who can heal our hearts from jealousy.

2) To find friends in whom we can confide and who will encourage us to be a better person.

When we are tempted to compete with other women, let’s take a step back.  If we can muster the strength (with God’s help), find a way to encourage that other woman.  If we simply cannot, even after praying for strength, let’s just decide to remove ourselves from the situation entirely and refuse to compete.

 

“So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind…”  -1 Thessalonians 5:11 (MSG)

 

(On a somewhat unrelated note, it makes me wonder how different our elections might be if those running for office took this approach instead of all the mud-slinging…)

 

19 Comments
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Comments

  1. Dee says

    It’s funny! When I read this I remember a time when I asked some female Christians of mine how to handle a particular situation. At the time I was in college and homeschooling. I asked if anyone else was going to school and homeschooling, and could they give me and idea of the schedule they were using so I could try to implement it. I needed to reorganize and see if I could make better use of my time. To say I was shocked when I received a reply from a woman who told me to stop trying to be Super Woman would be an understatement. I remember saying to my husband “Sheesh, I wish I knew we were competing so I could at least participate.” Being very sarcastic in my tone when I said it. I think people would be wise to try and help each other and stop viewing everything just from their own perspective. Being on the receiving end of that statement I was quite frustrated. ;)

  2. Kimberly says

    Well said. Sorry you had to read negative comments on your earlier post. I never understand why people bother to leave negative comments… weird. Competition is certainly something I have struggled with. You make an interesting point saying we need to choose friends who are uplifting. Maybe that has been my problem in the past. I love reading your posts and seeing your lessons with your children. Keep up the good work!! God bless :)

  3. says

    I know this might sound weird, but I struggle a lot with competition in my heart toward my husband…. And we are suppose to be on the same TEAM! We often remind each other of this… “Remember, honey, we are on the same team-together!” It seems like I want to compare myself to him and say in my heart “I work harder, I do more with the kids, He’s lazier, He’s not this, or not that, ect….” But when I focus my heart on serving my true master-JESUS CHRIST- I can do all things with an attitude of service for My Lord and for others. Then I start trying to out-serve my husband in LOVE rather than in competition. I loose sight of that so often! What an excellent example of you and your friend from school.

  4. says

    AMEN!! and i mean that in the truest of spirits. I’m reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (AH-MAY-ZING book i highly highly did i mention highly recommend it, lol), it’s what she feels that Jesus is saying and the scripture verses to support HER thoughts, again this is her interpretation, but this one hit home. And when i read this post it immediately popped into my head on Feb 28, she says, “…stop comparing yourself with others. this produces feelings of pride or inferiority; sometimes a mixture of both. I lead each of My children along a patht that is uniquelytailor-made for him or her.Comparing is not only wrong, it is meaningless.” And whenever we start to compare it always leads to competition. I think without Him, we easily fall into that trap, thanks for this post. It makes us know and realize that as GROWN women we can accomplish this thru Him. and what a gift we would be giving our children for them to see that example and replicate it him/herself from a young age.

  5. says

    Thanks for this. I actually have been working on a post talking about the same thing, but I just couldn’t get it “right” in a tactful way. I always struggle with that. Well put post. I think it is beyond true. We don’t see men get so caught up in these things. Think how powerful we could be if we built one another up instead tearing each other down at every turn.

  6. Suz says

    This is beautiful. As are you my sweet, dear friend. After reading this I can’t help but thank our God for you once again. Love you so, so much.

  7. Jenn S says

    Thank you for posting this. I was incredibly discouraged while reading the comments on the earlier post you mentioned and appreciate you addressing that and sharing your life!

  8. says

    I cannot think of a better post to read wen i start off my monday mornings…god bless you for this…

  9. says

    Great message! Definitely something I needed to hear.

    Now can someone write one on how to deal with competitive women in the workplace who don’t ascribe to our values? :-)

  10. Kristie says

    Thank you so much for posting this. You and I sound a lot alike. I had a great friend and she turned on me a year ago so I have been praying God will bring me another great friend to confide in and encourage one another. I have one sister and she is constantly trying to one up e and compete with me. She is a social butterfly with hundreds of friends and loves attention whether good or bad. I only hope one day we can be the sisters God would have us to be and be there for each other rather than her trying to one up everything I do. Life is not a competition. We are all in this journey together so we might as well love each other and get along in the process. Thank you again for your wonderful blog! Blessings!

  11. says

    Really great post, Janae! It’s so easy to let that spirit creep in, but what a good reminder that we need to be encouraging and building up each other!

    Love ya!

  12. says

    I didn’t get to read the discouraging comments but I’m glad. You’ve written from the heart and it’s a wonderful message all of our hearts need to hear. Thanks for your honesty and encouragement.

  13. says

    Such a great post… thank you. You’re absolutely right, jealousy is in our human nature. God, and good friends, as you say help us to overcome this. I also imagine you both had families that raised you to appreciate others. I’ve been struggling a bit with this issue lately and appreciate your inspiration.

  14. says

    Thank you Janae. Once again you hit the nail exactly on the head, and said it so beautifully. I appreciate your insights and perspective very much.

  15. says

    I came across your blog following a link on Pinterest for your homemade laundry soap. What a beautiful blog! I am always so encouraged when I find strong Christian women who love the Lord, honor their husbands and guide their children. I will definitely be following your blog!

    I enjoyed reading your post – your words are true and encouraging. Thank you!

  16. Ann says

    I’m usually not the type to leave comments on blogs (simply because I just don’t find the time). But I’m taking a little bit out of my “me” time to leave a comment here. I just loved reading this article!

    In fact, stumbling upon this blog of yours has been God-sent! I have two boys myself, a pre-schooler and a toddler just like you. We just moved in to the US a few months back. I gave up my job of 7 years to be a stay-at-home mom. Being in a new place, with two little kids, and with hardly any support system and the new role of a stay-a-home mom isn’t easy. Your blog inspires me everyday about what I can do for my kids.. but this particular post inspires me on what I can be as an individual too! Thank you!!!

  17. Misha says

    Hello!

    I have just read your article. But, my question would be… How would you deal with another girl who is competing with you, coveting after what (she thinks) you have? (This girl is not my friend, but someone i know).

    I would appreciate if you can answer me. Thank you!

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