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I physically rolled off my side of the bed early Saturday morning so that I had enough time to be alert, eat breakfast and dress for the race. On the one day of the week allotted for sleep in, this is the moment where questions hound your thoughts, “Why did you choose to sign up for a voluntary 5k?” “Why did you clear your schedule to torture your out-of-shape body?”

Casting my thoughts aside, my girl and I backed into our parking spot at the race site and met our friends moments later. We attached our numbered bibs to our shirts, grouped in with our friends and began to pound the pavement at the sound of the shot gun. My much younger, more talented daughter, took off. The next times I would see her would be as the course overlapped and at the finish line. My friend’s husband, Nate, fell in line with another friend of ours from church. Dawn and I began in cadence, but it didn’t take long for me to fall behind her pace. My only aim was to finish without stopping.

Along the way, I began to draw spiritual parallels between this physical race and our spiritual race. It’s natural to play the comparison game. We look ahead and wish we were as fast as those with their backs to us, we look to the side and become competitive making our stride better than who we keep company with and we look behind us to feel better about the pace we are keeping.

The truth is that we are called to run our own race. My walk with Jesus and your walk with Him will look similar in that it is grounded in Scripture and empowered by the Holy Spirit. However, the way we endure the race will not be identical. The only way we are commanded to be the same is running the race set before us without relent. It doesn’t matter whether your time is better than mine is, if your stride is sleeker than mine, if you look more like a runner than I do, but that you keep running!

Instead of being consumed by comparison, which kills contentment, look ahead to be encouraged by the ones a few steps ahead, look to the side to be assured that you are not alone and look to the ones on your heels to motivate them to stay the course. God hasn’t called us to compare and compete in our walks with Him. Yet, He calls us to care for and exhort one another that we might all stand before Him one day hearing, “Well done; good and faithful servant.”

Lord, may we not be so concerned about reaching your throne in style or with accolades. Yet, most concerned about how many runners we bring with us.

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