I'm involved in high school speech and debate. We have club meetings, go to tournaments, give speeches, poke holes in debate cases, and have fun doing it.
But winning isn't our only concern. Sure, winning the first-place trophy is pretty awesome, but I gotta ask myself, what is more important to me?
Those three days in Houston (our very first real tournament), I had that decision to make. Was I there to win and blow everyone out of the water? Or was I there to do my best, make friends and glorify God?
So often when you get involved in a competition as strenuous as speech and debate, (or any competition for that matter) you have that choice to make. What is more important to you? Winning first prize, or being the most Christ-like team there?
I, as well as our team, have chosen the latter choice, and it has brought us much joy! We are continually at peace because we are striving to be like the Master, and NOT striving to be better than everyone else present. We try to mirror Christ in everything we say and do. It's not always easy, but the rewards are worth it!
You see, in such a high stress situation, it's easy to go with what the flesh man wants rather than what the spirit man wants. When you're tired after having run up three flights of stairs to get to one of your speech events on time, or you've had to (PATIENTLY) wait 45 minutes for all three judges to arrive, or if your feet just flat out hurt because no one told you that wearing heels at these tournaments was a dumb idea, it's easy to fall prey to the flesh. These tournaments are a test of character as well as skill.
So instead of complaining about how stressful and tiring these 16-hour-day tournaments are, I resolve to think of these as an opportunity to grow spiritually and emotionally. These tournaments are the training ground to help me become what God wants me to be, an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone, and do hard things.
Philippians 4:13. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."