Serena, Second Best and the Diotrephes Syndrome

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Second Best

Welcome to “Athlos” a weekly Wednesday blog which examines pillars of personal excellence and regularly brings together the worlds of spirituality and sport.

Being First

“I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority.”-3 John 9

Being Second

It may seem almost scandalous to suggest that it is okay to be second best. Aren’t we usually encouraged to put our best foot forward so that we can be on top of our game? I think I have some explaining to do.

Some of you may have heard about the acronym G.O.A.T. It means Greatest Of All Time and is often used in the sporting context to determine who is the best athlete that a particular sport has ever seen.

With the expected retirement of Serena Williams as a competitive tennis player, it is not surprising that her name is being touted as the G.OA.T. However, in terms of strict numbers when it comes to Grand Slam tournaments, she is second best. Australian Margaret Court (with quite a suitable surname for a tennis player!) won 24 titles and Serena was victorious in 23. Case closed, right?

I am not sure if it really matters. They both excelled during different eras and have inspired many to aim high. That should be enough. You see, in biblical times as I have cited above, there was a man, possibly a spiritual leader, by the name of Diotrephes who loved to be first. His conduct wreaked of narcissism and egocentricity. This caused him to be dangerous as he behaved harshly and refused to accept the legitimate authority of others. The problem was that being on top, apparently, became an idol in his heart.

Are you overly concerned with your position in the pecking order? Do you find yourself comparing your achievements and possessions with those of others? I issue a gentle warning to be conscious of the Diotrephes syndrome. When we remember that it is grace that, ultimately, opens the door for any successes that we have, it will keep insidious over-competitiveness in check

Being Your Best

Do your best without obsessing about being the best.

If you were inspired by this blog, please consider sharing it with one other person today. To learn more about these and other related themes that promote the cultivation of an integrated inner self, read UNBEATABLE! which is available on Amazon in print and as an e-book.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Allan Cunningham

    “Do your best without obsessing about being the best.” Thanks for this; it also helps with the struggle with not being good enough and the receipt that can be in the heart, thinking you are striving to do your best, but there is a battle to be the best.

    Being grounded means I will aim to ” Do my best without obsessing about being the best.”

    Thank you again

  2. Michelle Marcus

    Thank you Tyrone. It is such a hard call because the world measures us that way. It gets challenging when you dont measure up. I have to be at peace with myself once I give the best and allow God to work out the rest, putting back the focus on the creator and not the created.

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