The photo above is from a deck of "prompt cards" I recently acquired. One hundred cards to pose a question, present a topic or poke me in the eye. They are designed to generate conversation or suggestions for writing
Last night, Lisa and I sat with her 95-year-old father for a game of cards. This ritual has continued for the 35 years I've known this family, and it predates my entrance to the scene. I can't recall the name of the game. The basics are seven cards dealt with each player; the goal is to be the first to go down without any cards left in your hand. You play 12 hands and each hand the wild card changes starting with the Ace and continuing up through the King. You acquire points for cards in your hand when another player goes down first. Lowest score wins.
Last night, I won. Not only did I win, but I also clobbered everyone. My final score was 7. Lisa and her dad each had over 150.
What most people don’t understand about me is how intensely competitive I am. I may sit there calmly during a card game, looking as if I could care less. But, I am plotting, planning, watching, memorizing which cards have already been distributed. Card games are not for light chit-chat and socializing; they are competition. My goal is to win.
This characteristic of mine explains my desire to do things well. If I’m going to sign up for a class in the software Photoshop, I want to learn it all. If I’m invited to preach, I want it to be the most memorable sermon ever delivered. If I’m going to compete in a Triathlon for the first time at the age of 58, then by gosh, I’m going to train for it.
I acquired this characteristic from evolution, DNA, my mother and some Holy Spirit design that I don't fully understand. It's a quality that can be problematic at times, and I've had to learn to deal with some internal neurosis around the subject. However, it also serves me well in that I enjoy accomplishing goals.
I once toured a church in Baltimore, Maryland where a friend served as Pastor. I commented on how clean and well cared for the facility appeared. He responded, “Well, if we believe this is God’s church, then I think we should treat it with care and attention.” His comment stayed with me as an affirmation that doing things well can be a reflection of our attitude toward God.
For me, when my competitive nature is serving a noble purpose, and it's balanced healthily, it can be a reflection of my faith.
Doing something well has value. For me, it’s a competitive streak that drives that purpose.