This past week, my husband and I made our way down to my hometown to attend the funeral of a dear friend's father. We journeyed several hours to pay our last respect to a great father, whom I've known for nearly half my life.
I've been to my share of funerals and heard my fair share of sermons. To be honest, I haven't remembered many of those messages. Most, I assume, are calls to repentance and a cry to accept salvation. This one, however, was a bit different. It was a challenge to run the race that's set before us as instructed in Hebrews 12:1-2. Illustrating this message with stories from the Olympics, I left determined to run my own race in order to obtain the prize that is promised to those who endure.
I didn't think much of this message again until today. As I browsed through Instagram feeds, YouTube channels, and Facebook accounts I had an overwhelming feeling of needing to catch up. I may be running my race, doing what God called me to do, but it seemed as though I wasn't running fast enough. As I began to compare, I recalled the message. Are you running YOUR race?
Comparison is the thief of joy and I was about to hand all of my jewels over. When we neglect to focus on our own race, we risk the chance of falling behind and veering off course.
If you watched the Olympics last year, you saw this message personified. Who could forget the swimmer so focused on beating Michael Phelps that he lost? Or the runner who took his eyes off of his lane and ended up not making it past the qualifying round? When we treat life's race in this regard, it ends the same way. We end up diverting from the path that God has set before us in order to watch someone else's race. We fall behind on the progress we should make on account of being focused on where everyone else is in their lane. I don't know about you, but I don't want to suffer in my race because I'm focused on someone else's.
So, as the pastor posed to the congregation, I'll ask you, are you running YOUR race? Are you focused on the race, calling, and purpose that's in your life and working to fulfill it? Or, are you focused on what everyone else is doing. "You were running well, who hindered you?"