Why InterVarsity will always Confuse me.

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I don’t think a lot of people notice this about me, but I’m a very competitive person.  I’ve always been a competitive person.  From as far back as I can remember, I have competed for something.  I remember being maybe 9 or 10 years old sitting with my brother and eating some oreos when suddenly a competition of “Who could eat the most oreos?!” was created.  The prize was a horrible stomach ache.

Fast forward to high school and I join DECA.  What is DECA?  Well DECA was my life but more specifically it was a organization of business students with regional, state-wide, and national competitions.  I loved it.  I was one of those really annoying people who really took it way to seriously.  I loved pin trading (Every state had a pin and at nationals you could trade pins with different states), I loved the adrenaline rush of presenting.  I loved winning.  I wasn’t too keen on losing though, but you need to lose some in order to win some.  In fact you need to lose a lot to win even a little.

With that being said, I have always hated the fact that I’m competitive.  And I’ve tried my best to not be the type of competitive person who steps on people to reach the top.  Do you know who these people are?  I think we ALL know who those people are.  I remember going into one DECA competition introducing myself to one of my competitors and having her greet me by saying, “Hi, I’m going to beat you!”.  Yeah, I actually wish I was joking.

I know people who send people the wrong words to memorize or conveniently have someone miss their presentation time.  I’ve seen them and find them repulsive.  More so because if I didn’t I think I would be one of those people.

But now back to the title of this blog, which is probably why you started reading this post.  InterVarsity is the christian fellowship on my campus (also an international organization…I think) and from what I’ve found, it’s done none of these things.  I go to a business school and even though I’m not at the point where there is even a need to be competitive, I know there are people I can’t trust.  I know that there are people who are really just looking for their best interest.  Can I blame them?  Not really.

I know these people and they are not few and far between.  In fact sometimes I feel like they engulf the school.  And being a competitive person, I’ve grown tired of being competitive and now just want to do my best.

The thing about InterVarsity that feels so odd is that fact that in the midst of all this I know so many selfless people.  I know people who barley even knew me but took the time out to mentor me and guide me.  I know people who took the time to see what I wanted and how I was feeling.  I know people who actually cared about me as a person.  Because at the end of the day with InterVarsity, it’s different.  We’re not subject to beating someone out for a test grade to feel self validated.  We serve a God who teaches us that love, peace, joy and kindness and the values we must emulate.

So this confuses me because most people I know are selfish.  Again, how can they not be?  But there is so much more to be gained in giving than receiving.  And maybe InterVarsity will always confuse me, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Winning isn’t everything. 43/365

photo from deviantart.com

This post isn’t all too relevant to people who aren’t big on competitions…or who don’t go to my church!  But I decided to post about it anyway because there are so many people who I think might benefit from this.

I used to think that competitions in church were horrible, when I wouldn’t win in topics like memory verse or bible quiz or singing or ANYTHING when I was younger, it was really discouraging.  I felt as though since I didn’t win then I would never win and it made me never want to participate in competition again.

I won’t lie and say I outgrew my childish fears, but on Saturday I honestly just refused to take the bible quiz given to us because I thought I would lose.  And I memorized the bare minimum number of memory verses because I thought I would lose.  I was wrong.

For the topics that I was good in: essay, speech & singing [well…now for singing and still that’s up for debate].  It was really encouraging, it gave me a chance to practice my talents to see what I was good at and feel confident in my abilities.  I remember public speaking for my first REAL time outside of school [besides presentations and etc. ] and I was so nervous that I was honestly HORRIBLE! I just kept thinking about the fact that if that was the first time I ever spoke in public, I probably would have never let myself go through that experience again.  But I was lucky,  I was given the opportunity to try public speaking in my church and build up my talent and then finally compete.

At the end of the day I think competition can be either pointless or extremely beneficial, it all just depends on your outlook.  If you’re the person who did bad in a topic once and then refuses to participate in it again [like me…] then your going to hate competition.  I’m not going to lie to you, your going to gain nothing and in the end waste your time by showing up.  BUT if you’re the type of person who grows from your mistakes, and tries to learn from them, who doesn’t care so much about the prize but how you can grow, then competition is amazing!

I make it a point now to ask people whenever I go on stage, what I can do to make myself better.  Sometimes it can be hard to receive critique, but without it, you leave the same way you came.  I may never memorize a million trillion verses or memorize every fact in the bible for competition  [or for myself], but I can try.  Just as Luke 18: 27 reads “Jesus replied ‘What is impossible with men is possible with God.’ “.

Today I want you change your outlook.

See you tomorrow,

Nina