Today on my run I was contemplating running in a race. As I thought about the implications of entering a race where I would be running with others I wondered whether I’d be up to it, or if I would try to run too fast so as to keep up with the other runners and run out of “steam” too early. I have a habit when I run of automatically pushing myself to be in front – my kids laugh at me and call me “Pharlap”.
As often happens while I run I felt God speak to me saying, “Run your own race”.
Running our own race is actually a life lesson, and as usual on my morning running conversations with God, who I call my running coach, He took the opportunity to share a “running” lesson with me.
We all have a “race to run”, and a specific purpose for being here. But it’s our race and nobody else can run it for us.
My husband recently bought me a new iPod to run with, and engraved on the back is the bible verse “run to get the prize”
It’s from a passage in the bible that gives us the principles for running our race well. The thing to realise is that to run a race and receive the prize we actually have to “be in the race.” We have to begin, and part of beginning is understanding that it is our race to run and no-one else’s.
God is calling each one of us. He calls us to relationship with Him, and then He starts to show us what an amazing and good race (life) He has planned for us to run. He promises it will be far above anything we could ever ask, think, dream or even imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) But we have to begin, and He wants us to begin and stick with Him.
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” (1 Corinthians 9:24)
We all want to run our race well. I want to run physically well, and I want to be able to run far. But even more importantly I want to run my life’s race and look back and know that I have ran it well, and I have received my prize. I want my words to be like Paul’s in the bible who was able to say before he left this world.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-7)
As I was listening to God speak to me today, He keep emphasizing the importance of running my own race. We can’t be looking at what others are doing and try to imitate them. We can’t run our best race whilst always comparing how we are “running” compared to others around us. Everyone is created with their own purpose, their own look, style, technique and way of doing things. Some ideas are great, and we can examine those ideas and methods of “running,” of doing life, but if we try to copy someone else’s race entirely we will most likely fall flat on our face, or run out of “steam” half way through.
There is no way I can run the same as my son in law. He is about 6 feet tall, is younger than me, has long legs, and therefore much longer strides than me, and I’ll admit can run faster than me (well maybe).
If I try to run like him, I’ll end up getting a stitch and wishing I had never left the house. Why? Because I’m not built or created to try and run like my son in law, but I am made to run like me.
Instead I need to listen to my own body; I need to run at my own pace, allowing God to instruct and guide me. I’ve discovered He is a great running coach, and if I listen He helps me. Just like He will help us in all we do, enabling us to live fulfilled and purposeful lives.
“The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8)
God says, “Keep your eyes on my purpose for you, and not someone else’s. He never asks us to do things exactly the same as that someone next to us. He created us all uniquely, with our own gifting’s, abilities and with a special plan for our lives.
“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14)
Today, make a decision to throw off any weights of expectation, or comparison. We each have a “race to run”, and the point to remember is that “it’s our race, and nobody else can run it for us”.
Go out and run your race well.
Prayer: Lord please help me to look to you on how to “run my race,” would you be my “running coach”, and instruct me on how to be the person you created me to be. Help me not to compare or feel intimated or discouraged by others and what or how they may be living their lives. I have my own race to run. Give me the wisdom and strength to run it well. In Jesus Name. Amen