I crouched at the starting line of the 100-meter sprint, adrenaline rushing around the twisted knot in my stomach and surging through the rest of my body. The starting gun sounded—and we were off. I was shocked to find myself in the lead. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t expect it to last, given the pounding footsteps that were rapidly gaining. Or were they? I cast a quick glance over my shoulder to see how close the next person was, then whipped my head back around just as I crossed the finish line. My lungs burned, my legs ached, but I’d done it! I’d come in first. I was exhilarated.
My excitement was hastily dispelled when I learned that I’d been, of all things, disqualified from that very race. I’d envisioned myself coming in last, even remaining frozen at the starting line, but this? What could I possibly have done? I hadn’t tripped, elbowed, or otherwise caused harm to my fellow runners. My error was soon brought to light and any confusion was laid to rest, along with my first place ribbon. During the race, when I’d looked over my shoulder to see where the others were, I had stepped out of my lane. Such a small thing, but it was enough to pluck the victory out of my hands.
I’m running another race, and it’s called life. I’ve been given a lane and a prize to focus on, but all too often I find myself looking around at the other runners who seem much more capable and productive. Some jog with ease, hardly breaking a sweat, while others are so far ahead I can’t possibly hope to catch up. God has a different plan—and a different pace—for each of us. When we start to compare ourselves to others, we leave room for discouragement to hinder our course and perhaps even rob us of blessings. I say run the race God has given you to run, be not moved from your lane, and take the prize when you cross the finish line.
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