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Do You Feel Like a Loser?

Do you ever wonder if you are winning or losing in life? How do you keep score? Those of us who are born competitors (usually 3’s or 8’s on the Enneagram or a high D on the DISC), struggle with winning and losing on a daily basis. I am a 3 and I can’t help myself, I love to win.  Let me be…
By Seth Barnes

Do you ever wonder if you are winning or losing in life? How do you keep score?

Those of us who are born competitors (usually 3’s or 8’s on the Enneagram or a high D on the DISC), struggle with winning and losing on a daily basis. I am a 3 and I can’t help myself, I love to win. 

Let me be a little vulnerable here as this is a problem. The real issue is that I often don’t know where the scoreboard is or what the score is. So, I may be losing, but not even know it, which is even worse!

Growing up in Columbia, MO, certain members of our family were ultra competitive. Losing was not acceptable. Playing Monopoly was an ugly scene. I learned to make myself scarce when the board came out, partly because I didn’t trust myself to win or lose well.

Here was how I kept score on my life then:

Girls – Didn’t understand them. Every day interactions posed a high potential for embarrassment. It was better to not say anything than it was to potentially expose myself for the loser I suspected I was.

Grades – I was not as smart as my neighbor who always wanted to debate with me on the school bus. I was bored in class. Chemistry was a foreign language. I felt like Brian Regan standing there with a cup of dirt. Every day held the potential for losing.

Sports – Football  confirmed my loser status.  I was 112 pounds – way too small to compete. We had a state champion football team that never lost. We were winners, but I was a loser.

Faith – Church was inevitably embarrassing. My family was always late! Sometimes we would arrive so late, I would just go hang out in the nursery rather than suffer through the humiliation of showing up with 15 minutes left. Also, we were the last ones to leave after the service because mom had so many people to talk to. Plus she would cry when we sang hymns. And on Christmas, she would have the family get up in front and sing to the congregation! I wanted to die of embarrassment and felt like a total loser.

Self-image – Ouch. I was short, shy and constantly applying too much Clearasil and cologne in a desperate attempt to prop up my loser self. I was depressed and couldn’t wait to leave home.

Growing up was a disaster. I had an inner drive to win, but I felt like a loser. How about you – how did it feel growing up? I hope you fared better than me.

The good news is that I’m actually OK now. God took the shambles of my false self and said that he sees me as a winner, so I can just relax. Wow – I can breathe again. This is the good news that the whole world needs!

Does it mean that I am a completely different person and I don’t keep score? No. I was born an Enneagram 3 and will always want to win. But it does mean that the stakes are completely different. You and I don’t have to work at being OK. We are already loved exactly for who we are.


Really?

I’m not being glib. Recently someone showed me an anonymous blog that calls us a cult and says that I’m a cult leader. There’s my picture accompanied by some really horrible accusations. It’s slanderous stuff. I know it’s not true. If God didn’t love me, it could really wreck my day and tap into the pain of my high school years. But I’ve already got the scars from that battle – it’s over, I don’t need to re-fight it.

I help steward a ministry that is all about helping people grow. It’s about connecting people to Jesus and empowering them. We are big on helping people take responsibility for their actions. We’re big on vulnerability and feedback – it’s one of our values. I try to lead by putting my own mess out there. That can make me an easy target. 

Why do it? Because a whole generation struggles like I did. They need to know they’re OK and need to be set free. They are not losers. They are loved. They are going to make it.

Maybe you’re a part of that generation. I long to introduce you to the God who knows you’re really a winner.

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