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TONIGHT, as I watch 53 contestants grace a stage in Las Vegas to compete
When I was old enough to compete, I won a local title and made my way to the weeklong competition that would determine who would represent Maryland in that year's national pageant. Even though the official competition did not begin until preliminaries on Thursday, the judging actually started the moment we walked into orientation.
Who were the judges, you might ask? Well, we would not meet the official judges for a few more days, but the judges in the room that morning were the other contestants. From the minute we walked into the room, we began sizing each other up.
As I assessed the other ladies, every time I saw someone who looked like she was strong competition, my defenses would go up and I would try to find something wrong with them. "She is pretty, but her thighs are big. Her community service is strong, but she can't put two words together to form a complete sentence. She speaks well, but her makeup is awful."
My experience at that pageant is not really any different from what many of us encounter in our everyday lives. How often do we find ourselves sizing up the people around us as though we were in competition with them? We compare ourselves to them and when we feel as if we don't measure up, we try to find their faults as a way of making ourselves feel better.
But life is not like a pageant where there is only one winner. God has given each of us gifts that we are to use to serve Him. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12 that "just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ . Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."