Can I be brutally honest with you? When I started blogging years ago, I did not foresee the competition that will follow. I blogged for the pure joy of it, churning out articles and recipes that made me happy.
Then after a while, probably due to how much my blog had grown, I noticed I had competition. Ta da! Now I didn’t see what was clearly competition as “competition” at first. I saw it purely as a much needed addition to what I was doing. I was like, “yes, this is what I want! I want more people like me to inspire others.”
But… this was way beyond more people coming to inspire others like me.
It became more like people wanting to be me.
What do you do when you publish a recipe and shortly after, someone publishes the same recipe targeting basically the same audience as you?
Or what do you say when you visit a blog to read and you notice that most of the language and writing style is trying to mimic yours?
Or when you open social media and you find your timeline flooded with all sorts of rivalry.
Or when someone watermarks their photos with exactly the same font as yours. And you know it’s not just a coincidence because you’ve seen them trying to mimic you repeatedly over a course of time.
I am like “dude, don’t you have your own path? Don’t you have your own uniqueness?”
A popular saying stipulates that “imitation is the greatest form of flattery”. But I didn’t feel flattered by this copycatism. Instead, it left a sick feeling in my belly. So what did I do? I tried to fight back… because oh well, someone was trying to take my place. I tried to produce more content, to stay more relevant and ensure that my audience stayed connected to me.
To tell you the truth, it sucked. And I told myself that if I continued to fight back, I was not different from a pastor who complained about another pastor stealing his “sheep” (that’s church members).
When my work becomes about trying to counteract what someone is doing probably to rival me, I totally loose the joy and essence of it. My blog is my bond and not a place to fight against A, B or C.
However, while advising myself this way, I couldn’t help but wonder. To compete or not to compete?
It is tricky for me because my blog is both a business and a ministry. And in business, you have to deal with competition. I’m not sure I can say the same for ministry.
Then I came across Galatians 5:20 which clearly sites “rivalries” or “emulations” as a work of the flesh:
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21, KJV
This did it for me. I clearly saw that rivalry is not of God. And to tell you the truth, I feel spiritually drained and unconnected to God when I try to compete.
On the other hand, this doesn’t mean being passive about my work. Scripture says, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” I Corinthians 10:12, KJV
So at anytime if I think I am standing, or I have “arrived” I should be careful because I just may fall. To me this means, working hard and pouring my best into my blog constantly – not because of trying to rival someone else but because I am required by God to be diligent in everything I do.
One thing God had constantly reminded me of is that there is never a protagonist without an antagonist. We see this in every story. There is Jesus then there is the devil. There is Joseph then his brothers.
The wonderful thing is that while your antagonist tries to pull you down, God uses their antics to lift you up. God also uses their antics to distinguish you. Because, you know your work won’t stand out if there’s no one trying to fight against it.
Also, no one can hinder God’s plan in your life. See what they did to Joseph in the Bible. His brothers threw him in the pit because of his dreams that predicted that he would stand out among his brothers. But the pit and the prison did not stop his destiny. His dreams came to pass!
These are truths that have inspired me. May every competition only bring out the best in you.