I absolutely hate competition. I was not born with a competitive nature, and was completely run over by those who were for a good part of my life. My world exists of multiple realms in which there are fleshly opportunities for pride and competition to come into play. And, in the past, it has, and has nearly destroyed me internally. Pride (both in the form of having too much as well as having too little) so easily gets in the way of us doing our best at that which we're called to; it makes it difficult to remember why we're there, and Who we're there for.
Two things I know: regardless of what I choose to do in life, there will always be someone who does the same thing and thinks they're better than me, and there will always be someone who does the same thing and is better than me. The important thing is not to waste a lot of time being pointlessly discouraged because of confusing the two groups. Most of the time the they don't mix; most of the time the latter doesn't have time to remind someone of their inferiority, they're too busy simply doing what they do.
Have you experienced this before? The nagging, insulting, or condescension of people who seem to thrive on constantly reminding you that they're superior, even if they're not? Or have you been that person yourself to someone else? I have done both, and they proved to be equally miserable. My encouragement - both to you and to myself - is to simply get off that path, and get back to the "plowing" you have been called to do. Don't look back, don't look to the right or the left, but keep at it. (And sometimes turning off your computer, and having a blindfold or pair of ear plugs can be handy in this!) ;)
Regardless of what it is you've been called to do, if you're working wholeheartedly and ultimately for the Lord, He will sustain you, with vision and energy to do the work, and success and good fruit as a result. And remember, success comes in many different forms, so don't ever think that because you may not be the "best" at what you do, that you're invaluable, or inferior to someone else. If you're being obedient to the call, there is no higher level you can achieve, and no one can restrain the blessing of God that will come to fruition accordingly. Ability is nothing when we have an all-powerful God on our side!
This isn't meant to be some long, fancy soap-box message, just an encouraging reminder (that I needed myself!) to anyone out there struggling with discouragement that they feel is unavoidable and/or inescapable. I hope it helps.
"The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give." - Howard Cosell
I will add to that only to say that make sure He is getting the best and most of what you have to give. :)
Be blessed and encouraged today, and let me know your thoughts, quotes, or verses that have helped you fight discouragement, past or present.
Until then, I'll still be laughing. :)