If you struggle with feeling second best, pinpointing life-events that shaped this perception come easy. Maybe, you felt the least growing up in your family, or the last to be considered in social events. Perhaps you were always second choice in relationships, or passed-over for a job promotion–whatever the situation, coming in second (especially multiple experiences) can leave an impression on the heart that lasts a life time.
People deal with the effects of being bypassed (or discounted) differently. One person might be inclined to fold on an opportunity too soon because they don’t want to deal with losing to someone else. Another person might be inclined to aggressively pursue an opportunity in efforts to come in first place. Either way the motives are stemming from the same place; that nagging fear of not quite measuring up.
What can be done for the dilemma of feeling second best? Firstly, it is good to be aware that the “emptiness” felt in this struggle is normal. However, trying to fill that space with the wrong kind of reassurance leads to an even greater void. This is why it is important to recognize that the deep sensation of emptiness is not a reflection on you or your value. It has nothing to do with the real you, only the perceived you in someone elses faulty perception. Which brings us to our second point, more often than not, it is not you, but something off in the heart of the favorer.
A favorer is easy to recognize. They tend to favor superficial things or people for superficial reasons. You may have all the necessary qualifications and still be overlooked simply out of shallow preference. It is good to remember that the word superficial has the meaning of lacking depth. Therefore, not only is the recipient being favored for a reason that lacks substance, but the favorer themselves are lacking in depth of an important character, “But if you show favoritism, you sin…” (James 2:9). Remember, someone else being favored over you never takes away your true value, but is generally an indication that the favorer needs a heart adjustment. We have all been here at some point “favoring.” Our “feeling second best” can serve as a reminder to resist the favoring of others for superficial reasons.
Consider David the shepherd boy in the Bible. Even the prophet Samuel (a man of God) erroneously miscalculated his value, favoring the impressive. When God called Samuel to anoint His choice for a new king from among Jesse’s sons, David was not first, second, or third …but eighth choice in Samuel’s estimation. My goodness! talk about not measuring up!
Do you remember what God said to Samuel regarding this error of judgement?
“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”(1 Samuel 16:7)
The Scripture is replete with similar scenarios. Consider for yourself the great men and women used of God. Were they not second choice in the world’s eyes? What about Gideon? How about Joseph? Think about Esther, and don’t forget the impoverished Mary. And the list goes on.
Based on God’s Word we can confidently assert that not measuring up by the world’s standards is never a deterrent. In God’s economy it is rather a catalyst for great things. Extraordinary adventures await those who are overlooked in this this world!
“…But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”
(1 Cor 1:26-29)
Joy and peace come from learning to walk in the design God has for our thinking. Every day we battle with old thought patterns and emotions that hold us captive. Blue Skies: Beyond The Dark Clouds Of Broken Thinking leads us step by step; taking us deep into truths that set us free to live into a new narrative, one of confidence and purpose—the story we were meant to live.
When the bible talks about the parable of the talents we might initially think it’s referring to “performance”. Although the mind naturally gravitates towards manifestations of achievement, the bible is not speaking in these terms when giving instructions on how to live or give. Being good steward of our talents is not an increase of works, but increase of our conscious connection to God, and the choices that flow from that connection in everyday life. A perfect God working through imperfect people through grace–if not for grace we could not even have this mental and spiritual acumen at all.
For example in the story of Rahab…her actions by our standards of Christian morality would seem tainted at the very least. In her lauded works of faith we find great moral discrepancy. She was first off a prostitute, not a typical vessel one might see carrying out divine plans of faith. Secondly, while performing this holy endeavor she blatantly lies and deceives when confronted. Where is the moral fiber in this story? Wouldn’t we say of Rahab that she came up short in deposit of talents in the spiritual bank?
Indeed not. Rahab pictures perfectly for us the stewardship of conscious connection to God. What we see pouring out of her life is faith-works wrought through grace. The grace God had given her opening her mind to His reality. It was a work done inside her heart. Knowing very little about theology of the Hebrew God–she simply believed. That belief in turn spurred in her actions moved by her conscious connection to the Living God. Faith! A sure conviction that He was, indeed, true.
Interesting that God would use such an rough, uncouth, and imperfect person in bringing about the rescue of his people–redeeming her own soul at the very same time.
This is not a random story that happened to make it into the bible–but the way God is pleased to work. He chooses the broken and least of the world, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are.” (1 Cor 1:27-29). True acts of faith showcase God, not us. A talent that puts us on stage can’t multiply. Sure, Rahab may have turned over a new moral leaf in life after these historical events took place. But those are not the things listed of her in the hall of faith recorded Hebrews 11. God did not give Rahab the idea that she had to get her act together in order to be used mightily of Him. It was all a part of His grace reaching down and opening up her heart to Him. Seeds of grace God planted in Rehab’s that sprung forth and multiplied… Dare I even say that we are even a direct product of this faith-work.
Absolutely! This is our spiritual lineage–she is one of the matriarchs listed in the geology of Christ. So the next time you feel like you aren’t good enough, a failure, or any other critical judgment that comes from the world…Think of Rahab. Or, if we should think of ourselves more highly than we ought, polished with all the right Christian trimmings…let us again think of our dear mother Rehab. It’s only when God through the work of Jesus begins to reveal to our heart His complete love and acceptance of us that our faith becomes activated–and instantly we become a good steward of a sure and certain truth that we can take to the spiritual bank.