Second Fiddle

I played second fiddle for almost 8 years of my life. Through junior high and high school I fell just short of being the best.  I was almost evenly matched, but not quite.  For a few weeks in there I played first fiddle but I can probably count them on one, maybe two hands.

Our rivalry lasted 8 years and was somewhat of a legend during our time in school.  8 years of dueling in front of the same 60 people does that.  8 years of sharing first stand in the viola section.  As time went on I began to lose more often.

Can I say I lost when losing still meant 2nd place?  Yes, I lost.  I began to lose my joy in playing.  I tried almost my best and slowly gave up.  My rival seemed to have to win.  I lacked that competitive drive or maybe I just got tired of trying my best and coming up short.  Or maybe I just wasn’t as talented?

In my adult life, I prided myself on not being competitive.  I didn’t have to win like some other people.  I enjoyed the activity more than the outcome.  But, every time I got upset during competitive situations I faced more of the truth.  I am competitive.

Being second fiddle is a place of longing.  Longing to be first, to be recognized, to be better than, yet knowing the judgement has come down.  I’d been found wanting. I consoled myself that I would’ve won if I’d tried harder but he wanted it more.  Second best?  It sure feels better to say I just didn’t try.

Unique.  One of a kind.  Valuable.  So much is competition and it seems so ingrained in my soul.  To not rank, to not measure, feels wholly bizarre at times!  The body passages gain more ground these days as I think about unique.  Unique functions, unique places, unique value and purpose but altogether important to each other to work properly.  More and more, unique is becoming the lens I desire to see others and myself through.

How do you uniquely contribute to the body of Christ?  How can you encourage the uniqueness of others?

2 thoughts on “Second Fiddle

  1. I grew up in a family where competitiveness was discouraged. I always thought I wasn’t competitive, and like you I prided myself on it. A couple years ago a friend laughed and said, “Oh Gina, you’re SO competitive!” It was hard to hear, but I realized that what I was doing was having contempt for that part of me. The truth is that I am competitive too, and I am learning that it can be a strength or a weakness. I think it’s probably that way with much of our character.


    1. I think you hit the nail on the head! I don’t like admitting my competitiveness either for, I think, the same reasons. It’s safer to hold contempt for others rather than face shame–or at least it seems so on the surface. I’m ready to be done with that!

      Learning to accept that it can be good as a motivator towards the right things requires a real shift in my thinking.

      I’m also pondering what healthy competition looks like. My current thought is that it’s more like a race for an audience of One than for an audience of others.


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