Okay. So I've got this competitive streak in me. My earliest memory of me being this way, to a fault, was when I was 8. I owned an Odessy 2 video game. Now, everyone else had an Atari, but I wanted to be cooler, a little edgier, so I went with the Odessy (cool site here). One of my first games was Baseball.
Yeah, you could move your guys, but all three outfielders moved at the same time. Very high tech... My best friend, Greg, an Atari owner, came over one day to play. Greg was pretty much awesome at whatever Greg tried. So I should have known better than to challenge him to a game of Odessy baseball. I figured I had home-video-game advantage. Welllll, that didn't work out too great for me. He utterly STOMPED me, like 30-7. And, of course, Greg had to do the rub it in victory dance/chant after "oh-yeah! I'm awesome! oh-yeah! I'm the greatest!" or something like that. Yeah, this didn't settle too well with me, as you can imagine. I pretty violently through my game controller at him and began to bawl like a baby. "I should be the champion! It's not even YOUR game!!!" Not only did I want to win, I wanted to push my competition down and see them fail.
Yeah, we didn't play that game too much after that episode. I remember it so well, because I think I still carry it with me. The attitude, not the game. It manifests itself a little differently now. Sometimes I catch myself not only wanting to be the best at something, but wanting others to not be fully successful. I don't mind if they're good at something different than me (Atari), but when it's MY game, whoo baby, that can send me into places I don't like to go. The sad thing is that I stop focusing on doing MY best and just work on being better than others. Subtle difference, but way different outcome.
God keeps working on me with this one as he puts people in my path who challenge me. You'd be surprised that it's not the obvious people in my professional life that I compete with in my mind. My friend, Jason Miller gave me a good word: "It's not WANTING to win that's bad, it's NEEDING to win." Putting things like success and approval in front of God. Sounds like idols to me.
Galatians 1:10 "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of God."