Raise your hand if there's someone in your life, past or present, that you would unofficially say is your rival. They're just as good or better than you, the competition with them is always neck and neck, and when they outshine you, it stings all inside your insides. If you can't think of anyone then you're either a very tender-hearted person who's blessed with overflowing humility, or you're lying. Everyone has a rival. Or if not a rival, you can think of someone who digs deep under your skin. The natural reaction we have to our rivals is to want and strive to be better than them. We want to show them up. They dig under our skin and drive us bananas, and all we want to do is drop the mic on their faces and show everyone that we're better. This is one of those things that for some reason, I told myself I was really good at handling. Yeah, no. Apparently, I don't really excel at humility within rivalries.
This past week, there was an event with tons of people that I know happening in my home town. My plan was to take a mini-crash run trip to go to the party, hang out with some old friends, and celebrate. It really was a great plan, until I realized that the person who I unofficially consider my rival would also be attending. This is the part of the blog post where my pride gets drop kicked in the face. Hello ego. My little rival is a person who has hurt me deeply, deeply in the past, so to show them up would boost my ego that little extra mile. Once I realized that we'd both be at the party, I devoted my time to finding the perfect outfit, because when you're crafting a selfish and immature plan to show someone up, your first concern is always making it on the best dressed list. I needed to outshine them. Then, I moved on to making a list of my accomplishments so that when they asked what I had been up to, I could say a bunch of fluffy things to make me sound like I'm really good at being a Christian. Picking up on the irony there? Then I decided that I would tell a few stories of the super cool and totally interesting things I did this summer to make it seem like I am a little, edgy, adventurer lady. And lastly, I worked out a couple of humble brags I could weave into a story or two. Fortunately, God is a God of chastisement and He kicked my butt in a loving way only He can do.
My plan was to drive home, which is a 6 hour road trip. Two days before I left, my car broke down next to an intersection and I found out my timing belt broke and my engine was destroyed. Not a good sign. The auto shop told me it would take around 10 days to fix, aka no road trip home. I was not a happy camper. I kept praying and praying that I would find a way home, but God kept making it clear it was a no. I was so upset. Like. Nuclear bomb upset. It was like the horrible week of the black hole that just kept getting more ridiculously horrible, and my car was the icing on the black hole cake. I looked for plane tickets and tried to convince my boyfriend that it made sense for him to drive to California from Utah at 7:30pm on a Friday night so that he could give me a ride to the party. It didn't work out, shocker, and I was a wreck. I was so mad that I couldn't make it. I had had the worst week, I was lonely and needed to see my friends, I had made plans with my family, and it all fell through. Then I realized, a big reason why I wanted to go home, was to see my rival. I wanted to show them that I was capable of pulling myself up by my bootstraps. I wanted them to know that even though they had hurt me so deeply over and over, I was going to make it. I listened to the song Confident by Demi Lovato like 12 times in preparation for the moment where I could tell them the great things I was up to. That's when God pulled the crazy rug out from under my feet and knocked some sense into me. I realized the reason I wasn't on my way to the party I had been looking forward to all summer was because of my super selfish and incredibly sinful attitude. My intentions were 100% about myself, and not only on making me look like Mother Theresa, but making my rival feel like they were less than. The Holy Spirit convicted that one out of me pretty quickly. God kept reminding me over and over, "What you're doing now, has nothing to do with you. If you think ministry is about what you're doing, then find a new job honey bunch. You have worth because you're mine. I created and gifted and made you how I wanted you to be, and I was the one who scraped you up off the ground and gave you bootstraps to pull yourself up on in the first place."
Needless to say, that knocked the wind out of me. I was baffled at how selfish I am. I was baffled at how I was just as bad as the things that my rival had done to me because of my actions. I was trying to humble brag and manipulate my way into looking like a better person. My mom is reading this right now and thinking, "you could have saved us a couple of thousand dollars on your car by not being so selfish?" Well yeah. But I did get a very important reminder; I didn't bring myself here. I didn't pull my life together and become something. When I said I've decided to pursue ministry, it wasn't a wow, look at me, I did a humble and noble thing, moment. It was a God you brought me here and I'm ready for you to equip and enable me to move forward because of your grace moment. We're God's tools. He doesn't need us, he choses to use us. It's like a building. God is the architect. He's building the house and He's the wood that makes up the walls, the stones that make up the foundation, the bricks that make up the facade, the nails, grout, the glass, everything that makes up the house, that's God. We're the tools that He choses to use to help build the house. No one looks at a beautiful building and says, "Wow, the hammer that nailed those nails in that wall is spectacular."
We aren't the stars of the show. We are who we are by the grace of God. He gives us our worth, and gives us our purpose.
2 Corinthians 10:17-18
KYLE LOVES TORI PHOTOGRAPHY