Knowing You Are Without Rival

A few years ago, a list of influential Canadian Christian women was published online. It was interesting, and fun to see friends’ names on it, but with only 100 spots available and an Ontario-based focus, it was just a start (which was humbly acknowledged by the author). Droves of names got added after the fact, in the comments, and I loved seeing women “nominating” other women this way. Still though, a lot of amazing leaders across the country didn’t make the list. I suspect there were people who felt passed over. I think even I thought, “of course, I wouldn’t be on a list like this.”

Without RivalAnd that’s exactly why I chose Without Rival by Lisa Bevere to be our Ellen’s Picks book this summer. If women who lead would read only chapter four, I think it would be worth the price of the book. In those pages, she shares her own story of not making a Top 100 List. A list she really wanted to be part of. I loved that, even for a woman who had published many bestselling books, who preached and taught all over the world, and was enormously high profile, she had a day of feeling less-than because of being excluded by others. (Others, I might add – that she didn’t even know or care about the opinion of. We’re weird like that, aren’t we?)

I loved the recalling of Lisa’s frenzied conversations about not being on the list. With her husband (who gave no sympathy) and her conversation with a friend (who was on the list), looking for some sympathy. I loved her realization that the cruelty of comparison, and looking to others for affirmation made her forget that she was created and equipped uniquely, without rival.

The reality is, when you’re in leadership there is always some kind of list, and no shortage of opportunity to compare yourself to others, and be compared to others. We live in a world who pits us as rivals even while delivering accolades. A world that neglects our God-given uniquenesses, classifying and comparing us.

When I was 23, I left for the mission field the second time. In between terms with Operation Mobilization, I had been fully embraced by my church, especially for worship ministry. I loved to sing, and they loved having me sing. After a farewell during a service at the church, a woman I didn’t really know approached me. She was about 10 years older than me, married and with a family. She actually said to me, “I am glad you’re leaving. Now maybe some of the rest of us will get a chance to sing.” How do you respond to that? Thanks?

I have no idea whether that dear, honest sister in the Lord ever did sing in church. I don’t know how others would have compared our voices. I know that her words have stuck with me though, not as a hurt but as a reminder. A reminder that someone likely sees me as a rival at any time, even when I’m just doing what God has asked me to do. And that rivalry is hurting them – not me. I’ve tried hard (sometimes unsuccessfully) to not see other women as rivals, but to choose to champion their calls, because I believe deeply that there is room at the table for all of us, even if there might be only 100 spots on “the list.”

Without RivalWithout Rival pulls great Biblical examples of how we serve a God without rival, are called to a promise and calling without rival, and are in a long line of uniquely called and equipped God-followers like David who faced great rivals. I think that, especially as women who lead (or maybe just as women), we need to know these truths deep down, because knowing the truth will set us free to live and lead, without rival.

Want to know more about our Ellen’s Picks community? Check it out here!

This post is part of our Ellen’s Picks community linkup! Please visit my friends below and say hello.

Ellens Picks Affiliate

 Loading InLinkz ...