Competing is for Athletes…not Friends

Sharon JaynesA Sudden Glory 36 Comments

One thing I love about summer is hummingbirds…except when they fight.

I just don’t get it.

The feeder is full. The nectar is fresh. The four yellow perches are available and waiting.

And two hummingbirds are fighting over it.

Every morning I get up and have a cup of coffee with God on my screened-in back porch. Right outside the door is a bright red hummingbird feeder. And even though there’s more than enough food for an army of these enchanting creatures, they fight like there’s only one drop to be had.

Swoop…bomb…squeak. There goes another one. They squeak rather than tweet.

As soon as one bird hovers to take a sip from the feeder, another one swoops down, takes aim with his needle-like beak, and drives him away. They fight mid-air for a few seconds and then flee to separate trees like fighters in two corners of a boxing ring. Neither is satisfied. Neither is happy. Neither is filled.

The hummingbirds are stunning with their beautiful jewel tone feathers of iridescent greens and blues. They flap their Tinkerbell wings at about 200 beats per second and flit about like pixies. And even though they appear to be dainty little darlings, the truth is, they are pretty little mean things.

What I want to say to them is this…actually, I do say it. Yes, I talk out loud to the birds as if they had ears to hear.

“Look, guys, what are you fighting about? I’ve got this nice hummingbird feeder all ready for you. There is enough nectar for both of you—for a hundred of you. I’m not going to run out of the sweet sugar water. There’s plenty. I promise.

“The feeder has four perches. Count them. 1-2-3-4. And there’s only two of you.

“Why can’t you both drink at the same time and be happy? Content? Grateful?  Why are you fighting and acting like there’s not enough for both of you? Stop competing for what is so plentifully provided.

“Eat up!  Drink up! Rejoice that your fellow feathered friend has food and drink! Celebrate that you have it too!”

Lest you think I’m a little feather brained for talking to the birds, my little speech was not wasted. It hit me square in the face.  It was one of those moments of Sudden Glory I’m so prone to talk about.

I started thinking of God’s provisions. Full. Abundant.  PlentifulHis blessings never run out; they never go dry.

And yet, sometimes brothers and sisters in the faith act like God has only a limited amount of resources at His disposal.

Some pout when God blesses someone else as if He only has a certain allotment of blessings to parcel out.

Others refuse to celebrate when someone succeeds as if God has only a limited number of success stories to write.

And still, others become jealous when someone prospers as if God is stingy with His promises rather than lavish and eager to give.

I dare say, some even knock another off his or her perch if they think it will help them get ahead. It’s certainly what Cain did with Abel.

But we would never act like hummingbirds…would we?

Let’s determine right now. In our lives, there will be “no hummingbird activity allowed.”  NHAA.

Let’s determine to rejoice over others’ successes and blessings, knowing that God has plenty of goodness to go around. .

As a matter of fact, let’s celebrate right now. Tell me one way God has blessed you over the past few months. Leave a comment and tell me a victory, a success, or a miracle, and then let’s celebrate together.

Want More?

Sudden Glory CoverToday’s blog post is an example of what I talk about in A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More. More than you wanting to hear from God, He wants to talk to you. The key is recognizing His presence in our busy lives…catching glimpses of majesty in the mundane. Hearing Him. Seeing Him.  That’s what A Sudden Glory is all about. Click here to download a free chapter or watch free videos. Then be on the lookout this summer for God to make His presence known.

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Comments 36

  1. My parents are back together after legally separating. God has won the battle. Pray that they can love each other more everyday.

  2. My 70th Birthday was Sunday. My children and all of my grands were there to celebrate with me. That was a desire of my heart that God gave me. My heart is full.

  3. My daughter tried out for the competition gymnastics team for the first time and made it, however, she wasn’t going to get to be a part of it due to the cost. I just couldn’t afford it on my own. Two weeks later, the owner of the gym offered her a scholarship so that she could be a member of the team. God is good! ❤️

  4. I thought I was the only human on the planet who questioned the hummingbird ‘s quest for nectar. Thank you for such a quaint but powerful story.

  5. How true. Hummingbirds are indeed beautiful as well as daring, inquisitive and feisty. One of God’s recent blessings to me is the opportunity of starting my own Art Studio at home and allowing me to venture in a new territory in the world of Art. But His blessings are many every day if I choose to recognize them and give Him thanks for them.

  6. God provided the way for the financial needs of our college-aged son to return in the fall to a wonderful Christian college when it was literally impossible for us to come up with what was needed ourselves. As we prayed together and trusted God to show us His will, He fulfilled Ephesians 3:20 by answering the need above and beyond what we dreamed or imagined. It was a milestone in our faith journey as parents and for our son as well. Praise be to God!

  7. Hi Sharon! Thanks so much for your blog on competing. You know, last night I went to bed crying because I saw yet another Facebook post of another friend getting married. I’m 45 and still haven’t found that special someone and crazy though it might be, I was still hoping to have a child (great, tears again.) I haven’t been in a serious relationship for 12 years and it feels like it’s never going to happen. Dating when you’re over 40, heavyset, Christian and diagnosed with a major mental illness (albeit recovered fully) It’s not an exercise in humility, but humiliation. It’s so hard to have faith at this point. Yet I have given your advice to my friends before and I guess I need to take a bit of my own teaching. Thank you for the much-needed reminder. I know that just because God is blessing someone, somewhere else that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a blessing in store for me. ~Susan

  8. My 28 year old son was in a bad accident. Numerous CT scans showed a damaged aorta and he needed emergency surgery. Surgeons told me that even if it could be repaired, they had concerns about further heart and brain damage from the accident. They opened him up to find a completely perfect aorta!! No damage of any kind to his heart, brain, nothing!! All he needed to recuperate from was the broken sternum that the surgeons had to do for surgery!! The surgeons and doctors had no explanation. WE DID!!! All Honor and Praise goes to JESUS!!!! 🙂

  9. God has blessed me with a friend. I moved from the East Coast to Texas knowing only my husband.

    I turned away from God a while ago and I wanted to turn to him, but did not know how.

    I met a friend that brought me to her church, reads the Bible with me, and has healthy conversations with me. I am blessed that she has helped me become closer to God again.

  10. My family is on vacation right now at Universal studios in Florida! My husband and I are both blessed with good jobs and God blessed us with this vacation

  11. My son wants me to move closer to his family. A move that would take me from Northern California to Southern California. A move that takes me out of a home that I love and away from my dear friends. I’ve been praying but not hearing God’s answer. I finally decided to list my house trusting this was God’s will – actually “hoping” is a better word! The day a “coming soon” sign was posted in my yard, a car pulled up as I was putting my trash cans at the curb. A man got out of his car and handed me his card. He is a realtor and wondered if I could give him some information about my house. He has an auntie that he wants to move closer to his family. I let him see my house, he called his auntie, and the next day they put in an offer on my house for $5,000 over asking. I had the pleasure of meeting “auntie” and she’s A Christian too. We just hugged and felt God put us both in the right spot and the right time.

  12. Blessed to watch my son and his soccer team win their tournament on Memorial Day. Seeing my son score the winning goal knowing that he has overcome injury and put in so much hard work was even better! He was brimming with confidence and pure joy!

  13. God has blessed me with your encouraging words! I am so eager to read your devotionals! Thank you for your faithfulness to encourage women with His word and your sweet stories of life! Love the hummingbird example- brought back sweet memories of my MIL feeding the hummingbirds at her home! God bless you!

  14. I’ve been going thru a divorce these past 4 1/2 years. The reason to being so long is God has been helping me (His timing not mine). I had to build my credit up so I would get to keep my home. I had to get my own financing and pay my ex off. And all Glory and Praise goes to Abba God. I signed the closing papers this past Friday and that means my divorce will be final soon. I cried tears of joy and immediately thanked God. He has held me, binded my wounds let me cry and scream and has helped to forgive those who have hurt and betrayed me, He’s healed my heart and soul. Praise be to God and all the glory.

  15. God brought a young Christian man into my life as a support. He is studying to be a computer engineer and I will only see him casually at my HOme in August. He realizes I need a friend and how it will work out remains to be seen as we are different ages and I just want a friend, nothing else.

  16. We just had a women’s Bible study at my house last Tuesday evening. I was so blessed to be able to host because I am entering into a new venture in my life….retirement! After 20 years of being super busy as an elementary teacher, I am retired and excited to see where God is leading me. I was thrilled when I reached out to the women’s committee at church and said I was willing to host the study if they needed a home. I came away from that evening honored and blessed that God allowed our home to be used for 14 ladies in our church to hear God’s word in a Bible study.

  17. My blessings run over.

    God brought my husband home safe from his deployment to Afghanistan.
    God has given us time together to reconnect.
    God is moving us to another state, and I’m excited for the opportunity. It is an answered prayer, and huge move for my husbands military career.

  18. Hi Sharon, my husband likes fishing very much. But I don’t like it because the sea gets very choppy when you get off the bay. This weekend it was our 18 wedding anniversary and i wanted to surprise him inviting him to go out on the boat without being scared. I know that was what he wanted the most. I prayed, and guess what, all weekend long the sea was extremely calm with no waves at all! Like in a movie or one of those pictures we use for backdrops. It was like that. I’m crying as i write this. He calmed the sea so I know He is the same He was when He did it for Peter. He loves me just as much He loved Peter. Im amazed of knowing how much God cares for me. 💜

  19. We have had an ongoing trial. It has been three years, now. My blessing is “peace in the midst of our storm.” Ron Hamilton (aka Patch the Pirate) has a song called “Mountain Moving Faith.” That has been my prayer this year. Increase my faith and trust in You, God.

  20. I am thoroughly blessed not only with my wonderful husband, but more recently with my new friends. They love me unconditionally!!

  21. God got me through my long journey of breast cancer. In may I celebrated 5 yrs. Of being cancer free.
    God has surrounded me with a group of women who inspire me and has helped me grow in my Christian Walk with Jesus.
    Which is something I have prayed for. God blesses me every day.
    I asked Jesus in my heart at the age of 6. But not until I was in my 30’s did I surrender my life to Jesus. Because of the studies I was doing with Girl friends in God. I could go on with my testimony. But I’ll leave it with God has changed my life, my heart. And I’m so glad He did.

  22. The Lord has given me higher paychecks this year, happiness, old friends coming back into my life, a great job, healing, food to eat, adventures, and so much more. The Lord has blessed me immensely. I love you Jesus!

  23. God has blessed me with a healthy husband, children (4) , grandchildren (10). My mom is 80 and my father is 84 (soon to be 85 in July) are healthy and mobile. In the last year friends have lost family members or have been given bad medical news.
    So, I give praise to my Lord and Savior for the blessings he has given me.

  24. He shows me that He’ll always be there. My 7 year old boys were flipping through channels, they stopped to listen to a story about a man who was in a terrible accident and thought to be dead or come out with brain damage. He was in a coma for 20 days and when he woke up, he could do anything, no handicaps of any kind. Peter was amazed and I was able to talk about the miracles of God and how He is still doing miracles today. I’ve seen Peter return to that channel hoping to hear more. It was the 700 Club.

  25. Oh Sharon! I surely needed to hear this! God has blessed me with being able to retire this year and a brand new most adorable puppy! And yet I still look at what others have. Thank you so much for helping me see my jealousy in a whole new light. God indeed has enough ans is enough for me.

    Bless you and your ministry.

  26. Dear Sharon,
    I too am a bird lover and as watch my mostly sparrows, I am reminded that, “His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me”. So I don’t mind feeding the greedy little creatures as I know He doesn’t mind feeding me even though I can be greedy.
    Thank you so much for your hummingbird analogy. Our eight year old grandson is going through what I am calling a “contrary” phase. Always ready to argue about anything and everything! I am going to share this with him. I like that I will be able to just say hummingbird to remind him of God’s blessings.

  27. The last quarter of last year was horrific for me and my husband. We were trying to reconcile. And what started out as wonderful, blew up. We split Christmas Day for the 2nd time. But I made some bad choices and got drunk and went to the bar he was at Christmas Eve when he didn’t come home. We had been married 24 years with 2 adult children at that time. I ended up slipping on ice and breaking my ankle. Jan. 2 he left to drive truck over-the-road. Jan. 14 I fell down our steps because of the cast and broke my wrist in two places requiring surgery. I had to move out of my home and to my folks’ ranch home while they were in FL so I didn’t have steps. And my daughter moved out. Despite everything, I was doing well until the middle of May when my spouse announced he had been introduced to someone through a mutual friend. It was not a set up. He wanted me to know he was going to pursue things and we would not be riding on the motorcycle with the veterans riding organization we are both officers of.

    I know this sounds like a lot of negatives. But I feel incredibly blessed. God has been right there holding me the entire way. M and I are still friends although right now he is concentrating on himself and I feel like a fish out of water. I’ve always been his rock and the one he leaned on. He is no longer spending time with the other woman. I see good things happening although I know they are hard on him. He is not distracting himself any longer with other people. He is trying to get back into a routine. And I don’t think he is drinking as heavily. He is working on healing and said he’s going to go to the VA for counseling and get help. After 21 1/2 years of praying for him, he finally admits he has major depression caused by the end of his military service. He was medically discharged after being temporarily paralyzed in a training accident in 1997. To the best of my knowledge, he never saw combat. But I didn’t know he was in Bosnia on a sniper mission until it was declassified in 2016 so who knows. He was a second generation Marine so losing the Corps also took the only life he ever knew away from him. He felt it took his past, present and future and he blamed God. M was raised in the church and we were equally yoked at marriage.

    Most would say that what I have experienced the last few months would be unbearable. And I love when they ask, “How do you do it?” What a great opening to tell them about God’s grace and glory. It is only because of Him. So I see changes that are positive for M, for me and for our kids. He can’t love me or anyone else the way God intended until he learns to love himself again. And he hasn’t done that in years. He must get help for himself and I understand that. And I know that he can’t have me too close when he does that because he will be overwhelmed by everything he has done to me in the last 21 1/2 years when he has been in the bad mental state.

    But God said don’t leave him for all those years. “I will return him to the man he married.” And in some ways he has. But in 2016 God also said that M is not my future. I know that is because M is not letting God in to help him change. But I”m still optimistic. I told God that I will gladly lose my marriage if I can help bring M back to God. Everyday I pray for M using your app. I believe with every ounce of my being that the way I treat M through this and live my life will bring him to God. So I continue to pray, encourage and plant seeds. And I see changes. It is hard because he has always depended on me to help him figure things out. I’ve always been his rock. But I know he must make this journey on his own with me cheering him on from the sidelines as he rediscovers himself. I did that process when we split the year of 2017.

    A near death experience where he literally stopped breathing and had no heartbeat had a profound impact on him. It was our first anniversary apart. God used it for His good. But it didn’t last. I’m hoping now that M realizes that he needs to make changes in his life for himself and not because he is trying to be the man he feels I deserve that it will last longer than 9 months. So I continue to support and encourage through messenger. He said when we split that he will not return to me again. Not because he doesn’t love me. He will love me until they put him in the grave he always says. But he won’t be the source of my pain and hurt anymore. He said that seeing the woman I have become through the last 3 1/2 years makes him want to be a better man. But that he has to become that on his own. I remind him he can’t do it on his own or he would have already and that he needs to forgive himself and asks God’s forgiveness. I’m seeing less pride and more humility.

    I know this has been a rant but I want to share the good that is coming out of this. I have called out to God and asked what purpose this season has. He has told me to help M and others. As far as I know, there are no programs for veteran spouses to help them as their spouse struggles like this. We are left to our own devises. But I have learned that if we can work on ourselves in a Biblical way, it can have a profound positive effect on our spouse. It almost saved our marriage twice. But God gave man free will and until M calls out for God, nothing will change. But I know I did my part in a godly way. So I am writing curriculum to share some things that I did in my healing journey to find peace to share with others. I know people of high respect in the Marine Corps and they are willing to help me once I’m ready. I have godly people and pastors willing to help. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel by coming up with new programs like Divorce Care or the other ones that are out there and so helpful. I went through Divorce Care in 2017 when we were split for the year. Great program! I want to start in our local community through the Veteran’s Transition House and our local state congressman who I met two years ago at the Marine Corps Ball and asked what they need to do better for veteran. Mental health for sure but also the spouses. We can no longer be left to our own devices. And nothing against the establish churches, but frequently civilians just don’t understand.

    So what many would consider a messy life, I feel blessed to have. God is going to use me for his glory. The program I hope to establish may not change the world but I know it will touch lives and bring people to God. He will lead me to the summit to a life better than I can imagine. Perhaps the godly person I know God intends for me may be M after he becomes a new person in Christ. I don’t know and its not my job to worry about it. Its just my job to trust, obey and be faithful to what the Lord is trying to show me and do in my life. I’m thankful to have authors such as yourself who help provide folks like me with resources so we can grow in God’s love. And that is my messy story of how blessed I feel. I still struggle from being married one day to separated the next with no closure. But I know God will help me find peace in that too and help M and I find our place in each other’s lives.

    May you be blessed,

    Thank you for not posting publicly.

  28. Hi Sharon. God has done a glorious work in me these past few months. I live in a senior building that accepts younger people if they are disabled. My 93 year old neighbor went to a nursing home. My new next door neighbor is in her forties. Has her abusive boyfriend living there and their fighting has put me into PTSD episodes. We now have drug addicts here. Some selling. I feel as unsafe as I did as a child living in chaos.
    In dealing with this person I have discovered that I have unforgiveness blocking my Spirit. I have been praying for discernment on who what or why.
    I did was shown that it was unforgivness for myself and the poor choices I allowed myself to do that went against my Spirit and I chose anyway. I told myself that God would not judge me by the strict standards because he knew the incest perpetrated on me starting at 3 years old.
    More lies of the devil

  29. Miracles all around us. Thank you Jesus that He doesn’t answer your requests the way you want Him to. He is faithful to give you what you need not what you ask for . God is more than wonderful!

  30. God indeed has enough goodness for all. He has multiplied my finances this year by giving me a viable business idea and blessing it. I am able to meet my needs and bless others. This has strengthened my faith a great deal

  31. God has blessed my life continually through both trials and celebrations. I would not be the woman that I am today. Most recently, He has blessed us with a beautiful new home. God is so good. ALL the time.

  32. I set up a small business a while ago and I had my first sale last week praise God for His abundance and blessings

  33. I snoozed this devo so I could read it again during June – hummingbird season! I enjoy watching many birds, including the hummers. But what gives me great joy is pondering my answer to the question I recently read with my son in his Christian science curriculum – is it easier to recognize God in nature, or through my own life experiences? How many ways I see God at work in nature! Through the rebirth of spring, flowers, birds, my amazing dogs, sunrises and sunsets. However, personally experiencing God at work in my life and the life of my family is an incredible way to recognize God, realize that He is personal, and feel His love for us. He carried us through seven rough years, one day at a time, until we reached what I dub our year of jubilee. The stories of His provision for us through that time are ones that my children (now 12 – 20) love to hear me tell again and again. Oh, God is good, and He is giving. Yes! Let us rejoice with one another over what He does for each of us personally!

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