“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus,
the pioneer and perfecter of faith . . . Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners,
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
My feet hit the pavement in a slow, steady rhythm. I am not fast. I am not graceful. But I like how stress rolls off me, along with the sweat from my forehead, the way my favorite songs match the beat of my heart and the satisfaction of discovering I’m capable of more than I first thought.
The sky spreads blue above me and I’m content . . . until I see another runner out of the corner of my eye with a smooth, speedy stride I can hardly fathom. And suddenly I feel like I’m not doing anything right. Have you ever felt the same?
You love the blog post you wrote until you see someone else’s got ten more Facebook likes.
You’re happy with your tried-and-true marriage until you see that lovey-dovey newlywed pic on Instagram.
You think your personality is just fine until everyone flocks around the new cool girl.
We can so quickly shift from focusing on “the race marked out for us” to comparing ourselves with someone else.
And as every runner knows, where your eyes go your feet (and heart and life) will follow.
The cure to comparing is considering. We’re to fix our eyes on Jesus and “consider” all He went through for us. In other words, if we’re going to focus on a path besides our own, then we’re to think about the one that led to the cross. Because that changes everything.
Instead of what we don’t have, it reminds us of all we’ve been given.
Instead of how we don’t measure up, it reminds us of the limitless grace that’s ours.
Instead of self-pity, it gives us a reason to lift our hands and hearts in praise.
The path to the cross is what enables us to “not grow weary and lose heart.” In other words, it helps us keep pursuing God’s best for us and protects us from distraction. It also reminds us that the journey we’re on is not about competition but completion.
These days when I find myself trying to be like someone else, I go back to a phrase someone shared with me long ago: “Not my race, not my pace.” As the runner passes me, I repeat this over and over again in my mind. Soon Ms. Speedy Feet is out of sight. I wonder where she’s going, and I smile as I remember where I’m headed. Home to where I belong — to the place where I’m loved as I am. Isn’t that what really matters?
I so easily forget this truth: When I choose someone else’s route; I also choose their destination. And I don’t want to miss out on the goodness God has prepared just for me in this life. Or the next. Even if sometimes I’m a little slower and less graceful getting there.