In Others’ Words: Losing

I like to win.

Hang around me long enough — and especially if you play a game like Scotland Yard or Bohnanza! with me — and you’ll learn that I don’t like to lose. I know how to lose well, but, well … I embraced the whole  “If you’re going to play, then play to win” mantra years ago.

Let’s face it, we’re all going to lose sometime. Why not be really honest? We’re all going to lose multiple times.

I’ve found myself not just in second place … or third … or in the oh-so-comfortable middle of the pack.

There have been times I was exhausted beyond all my efforts, wondering how-did-I-end-up-here dead last. I mean, there’s losing … and then there’s l-o-s-i-n-g.

What have I gained from losing?

I’ve had to decide what defines me. Is it the winning? Or the losing? Both? Or neither? Am I more myself when I win? Or is the real me the one down on her knees, gasping for breath, wondering why my efforts failed? Am I only valid — valuable — when I hoist a trophy or clutch a ribbon? If that’s true — then I am worth less when I lose.

And that thought — I am worth less when I lose — is a lie from the pit of hell and smells like smoke, my friends.

In Your Words: What have you gained from losing?

Are you worth less when you lose? Click to Tweet

What have you gained from losing? Click to Tweet

 

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23 Comments

  1. Terri Tiffany
    June 24, 2013, 5:28 am   /  Reply

    I’ve lost so much recently. But you know…I have learned so much because of it. I see my relationships with others in a new way and that is gain.

    • June 24, 2013, 1:28 pm   /  Reply

      Seeing relationships in a new way — yes, an eternal gain, friend.

  2. June 24, 2013, 6:53 am   /  Reply

    Thanks for another heart-felt thought-provoking post, Beth. Losing is not as much fun as winning, but neither are a true measure of our worth, which may be the important point we need to remember. It’s good to set goals and work to approach them. I know we win skill and experience in doing so, whether we win the prize or not. In fact, that may be the prize.
    One major thing I learned from losing was that when I married, I wanted my marriage (and family) to succeed. When the marriage could not continue in many people’s estimation, I thought my life as a Christian woman able to have any influence through teaching, speaking, writing, was over. I was shocked, amazed, and blessed as over time I found that that part of my life was not over and God could still use me. And thankful.

    • June 24, 2013, 1:29 pm   /  Reply

      Ah, such insight you brought to the conversation today, Dee.
      Thank you for sharing your heart and your wisdom.

  3. Andrea Cox
    June 24, 2013, 7:14 am   /  Reply

    Hi Beth! Loved this post.

    What did I gain from losing?

    A fresh perspective…
    Greater depth of character…
    Perseverance…
    Gumption…
    A better-defined goal…
    Most importantly, a closer relationship with God.

    Blessings,
    Andrea

    • June 24, 2013, 1:41 pm   /  Reply

      Andrea:
      You know, gumption is a good thing. A good thing, indeed.

      • Andrea Cox
        June 26, 2013, 1:06 pm   /  Reply

        Yes, and such a fun word to say too!

  4. June 24, 2013, 7:43 am   /  Reply

    “And that thought — I am worth less when I lose — is a lie from the pit of hell and smells like smoke, my friends.” Huge, whoppin’ AMEN to that, Beth.

    You know, probably one of the things I (we) have gained most from losing is that very opportunity to stare down a “lie we believe” (to use MBT speak) and refute it. And when we do that, conquer a lie with truth, we’re winning, after all.

    • June 24, 2013, 8:18 am   /  Reply

      Melissa, I hadn’t thought about this in terms of losing/how I perceive it. So glad you mentioned it! 🙂

    • June 24, 2013, 1:42 pm   /  Reply

      Melissa:
      I love the visual of staring down a lie I believe.
      That takes courage … and sometimes it takes getting up of my knees and saying, “Get lost!”

  5. June 24, 2013, 8:10 am   /  Reply

    Love this post. As one who loves to win, it sure did hit home. I learned a long time ago that losing graciously is an opportunity to let Jesus shine through us. Does it take away the sting? Not completely, but when I remember that everything is in His timing and if I did my best, it just wasn’t in His plan for me.

    • June 24, 2013, 1:43 pm   /  Reply

      Pat,
      I always love it when you join in the conversation — you bring such wisdom to the table.
      Remembering everything is in His timing — the winning and the losing — is so, so comforting.

  6. June 24, 2013, 8:25 am   /  Reply

    What a beautiful post, Beth. Losing is humbling. And I think you’re right, the way I handle it reveals so much about what’s inside me.

    When we play games with the kids, one of my kids almost always wins. The other kiddo usually doesn’t (and I have my theories on why). The one who wins usually doesn’t gloat. We played Settlers of Catan recently, and I was determined to win. I lost. Last place. As the mom, I felt the need to set a good example for the kids, but I had to work through a bit of that sting. And, it helped me maintain a good attitude long after the game had been placed back on the shelf.

    When I lose at more important things in life, I’m learning to bring the disappointment to God. He has the right words, the right perspective for me. I am also learning to see the loss in the big picture of my life. This helps me not to dwell too deeply on losing.

    • June 24, 2013, 1:45 pm   /  Reply

      Ah, such insight: Sometimes the lesson learned from the loss is with us long after the game is back in the box on the shelf … Love it, Jeanne!

  7. June 24, 2013, 8:40 am   /  Reply

    Beth, running the race (or game of life) to win is exactly what Paul advocates in Scripture. But you pointed out a great question here: “Am I only valid—valuable—when I hoist a trophy or clutch a ribbon?” I struggle with that, as well. When I focus only on the finish line, people tend to get forgotten on the way. Our value isn’t finishing first—it’s in finishing well. Thanks for that great reminder today, my Friend.

    • June 24, 2013, 1:46 pm   /  Reply

      Donna:
      You added another valuable insight to today’s conversation: the people running the race beside us — literally, those people running alongside us! Sometimes it’s not about beating them … it’s about being with them as we run together. And really, it’s never about beating them.

  8. June 24, 2013, 10:34 am   /  Reply

    I’m going to take the “loss” from a different tack. But please know, I am NOT trying to shine a klieg light on my good fortune.

    On June 7th, I ‘lost’ touch with my (very happy) day to day life. For 2 weeks, I amassed a grand total of maybe 30 minutes of internet time. I gained well over 20160 minutes of “Mom and Jennifer” time.
    I was prepared to be separated from everything from my family to my flat iron, but what a joy it was to gain that precious, priceless time with my Mom and lose almost all touch with our worlds as we know them.
    We have basically decided to do another trip together. Not because the luxury is drawing us back, but because when we lost 2 weeks of our lives, we gained a lifetime of moments to share with each other.

    • June 24, 2013, 12:09 pm   /  Reply

      What a great affirming report, Jennifer.

    • June 24, 2013, 1:47 pm   /  Reply

      Nothing to add to that, my friend.
      Celebrating that loss with you.

  9. June 24, 2013, 4:56 pm   /  Reply

    I get competitive, but on the other hand I also grew up with a sibling (who shall remain unnamed) who was a very sore loser when it came to board games. If I wanted to have any fun during the game, I couldn’t be winning early on in the game. It’s funny to think about now, but I guess patience was the lesson there. 🙂

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