I was rounding the corner at mile 12 when I heard the sirens. One mile to go, but what’s with the sirens? And then I see them.
Three elite runners.
Synapses in my brain fired in spite of the excruciating pain radiating from my knee, and I realized that these guys were about the finish the marathon. “Yep, I’m being lapped by these guys,” I thought, instead of enjoying the fact that I was in my last mile. Of course, so is everyone else in the pack around me. Yet it stings. Or, maybe that was my knee.
And so began the trash talk in my head. You know – excuses, rationalizations, and the comparisons.
I wish I could run without knee problems, like Yolanda Younger-than-Me.
I wish I looked cuter in my running gear, like Nora No-muffin-top.
I wish I were faster, like Nancy Never-Stops-Training.
I wish I were running the full marathon, like I did last time.
What I really wish is that I’d silence these voices of comparison and condemnation. I’m pretty certain that I’m not alone in this. Most of us get caught up in noticing what other people are doing. And envy (or regret that we’re not doing it as well as they are) may even creep in. I see it in parenting, in homeschooling, in work, in ministry, in skill sets, in talents… And while we shouldn’t be walking around with blinders on, we should be wholly focused on the path that God has laid before us. Complete focus and dedication to Him. When we do that, we’re better equipped to look around and cheer for others instead of being critical or envious. We’re able to encourage others to run their own race, because we know that we’re not competing with them. We’re free to run our own race with peace and assurance because we know that God ordained it.
God has called each of us to a unique place in life. Let’s center ourselves – our thoughts and actions – on Him and celebrate that place. Let’s run the good race and follow the path that He lights for each of us. And, let’s cheer for each other along the way.
Happy running (or walking, or skipping, or hopping, or however you do it), my friend!