In college, I prided myself on being the only girl in my friend group. I led worship every week and my best friends were the musicians in our church’s band. If they had questions about girls they were dating, they came to me. If they wanted to record vocals for a new song, they asked me. If they wanted to grab pizza late one night, I was always in the group text.

Then, one December night, everything changed.

A bunch of us got together for a birthday party and my friend said, “Sav! I invited a new girl named Kendall— you’re going to love her. She sings, too!”

A few minutes later, Kendall walked through the front door in all her glory: an effervescent laugh, larger-than-life presence, long blonde hair, trendy outfit, and warm smile. Everyone gravitated towards her because she had such a magnetic personality. My friend (the one who invited her) stood on a chair and shushed the room, saying, “Guys… you have to hear Kendall’s voice!”

She laughed and sang a quick chorus of some pop song. Her voice was stunning and effortless. Everyone cheered at the end and I heard a friend say, “The new girl is amazing!”

My heart sank. I felt replaced.

For the rest of the night I avoided Kendall because I was insecure. Part of my identity— part of my belovedness— was wrapped up in being the only girl. Being the only good singer. Being the only one my friends went to for dating advice. The minute she stepped on the scene I felt threatened because I saw her as someone to compete with, not someone to befriend.

Driving home that night, I sensed God’s whisper: “You are seen. You are known. You are loved. Kendall is not a threat.”

My first experience with Kendall exposed a scarcity mindset I held since I was young.

I believed there wasn’t enough room for both of us to shine so I categorized Kendall as an enemy instead of a friend. Instead of celebrating her, I turned inward and self-protected.

This is what a scarce mindset does. It causes you to think of others as obstacles to your own flourishing instead of collaborators in our pursuit of collective flourishing. A scarce mindset morphs everything into a competition. It sizes up the value of others by determining who has more likes, more friends, more attention from boys, better grades, or a smaller waist. Scarcity is driven by comparison and insecurity.

This is how the world operates, right? Maybe you even see patterns of scarcity in your own life.

After that experience, God started a years-long surgery on my heart. He began to teach me how, in the Kingdom, everyone has a vitally important role to play.

Here’s what I learned: Like precious diamonds, you and I are unique. You cannot fill my shoes and I cannot fill yours. This is a freeing truth, isn’t it?! It removes any need for competition because each of us are designed to reflect God’s glory in a one-of-a-kind way. If you don’t show up, fully you, the party just wouldn’t be the same!

God taught me how the Kingdom is designed for collaboration, not competition.

Although it was a painful experience, I’m so grateful for the night I met Kendall and the way it exposed an area of growth for my character. It prepared me for a future of amazing collaborations with talented, wonderful women. It formed me into a person who cheers for others as they succeed because we are all part of the same body— and when one part of the body thrives, I thrive.

Fast-forward 8 years or so, when I walked into a room of 25 creative women to collaborate on a project called Faithful. These women are unbelievably gifted authors, songwriters, singers, and speakers. Each of them has carved out unique paths in their respective industries, writing songs sung by the masses and authoring books you and I have read.

During our two-day retreat, I often exhaled deeply in gratitude because my insecurity was not the loudest voice in the room. Instead of seeing 25 women with whom I could compete, I saw 25 women I could learn from, celebrate, cheer on, and collaborate with. Because of the work God had been doing in my heart for the past 8 years, I was able to securely rest in my own identity as a loved child of God. And, from that groundedness, I found myself writing songs and sharing stories and creating memories I couldn’t have done on my own.

We need each other. We are made for connection. We are designed to create in community.

The Faithful Project was born from that kind of space. It arose from a Kingdom-oriented community of women whose aim was to amplify the stories of Biblical heroines. We studied Rahab and imagined a lullaby she might have sung to her son, Boaz, at night. We read about Esther and clung to the truth that God is writing a sweeping, redemptive story. We found renewed confidence in the resurrected Jesus’ commission to Mary Magdalene to go and speak of the things she had seen.

 In each story, we saw a scarlet thread of God’s faithfulness tying a lineage of women together. Though each woman experienced her share of suffering, God remained faithful to the end, pulling beauty from ashes and wonder from despair. In these stories, we found traces of our own. We walked away with a renewed sense of hope that our lives are part of something much bigger than the 80-something years we have on Earth. Our lives are enmeshed in a colossally beautiful love story.

You know the feeling you get when you’re staring at the ocean and the sand is in your toes and you are keenly aware of how small yet important you are? That’s what the Faithful Project was like. It reminded me that there’s no such thing as a small life because every person has a bespoke part to play in God’s story. It also reminded me that I am just one person out of seven billion people on our tiny planet, and there’s no reason to get caught up in fruitless ego trips. We are always better together and we are designed to bring the Kingdom to earth in collaborative community.

PS: Remember Kendall? She ended up being one of my best friends. She was in my wedding. I hosted her baby shower. We talked on the phone just hours before she gave birth to her daughter, Lucy. She has been one of the most faithful friends I’ve ever had. Take it from me— don’t let your insecurity drive the ship. Don’t miss out on amazing community because you’re stuck in a pattern of competition. They might be your future best friends!

Savanah Locke is a Christian artist, songwriter and blogger. She wrote the chapter on Mary Magdalene in the Faithful book, available now. She is also a songwriter / guest on the Faithful: Go And Speak album that is out now. Be sure to check out the Faithful Project here!

Follow Savannah on Instagram @savannah_locke

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Savannah Locke

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