We are forever comparing ourselves – to siblings, friends, co-workers, literally anyone. But, why? Why do we waste these precious minutes of our day on this less-than-helpful activity? The simple answer: because we’ve lost sight of how to run our own race.
Many of us have heard the verse in Hebrews 12:1 in some form or fashion. The most prevalent part of the verse “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” is a popular quote for motivation. However, quotes and scriptures are like medicine – they only work when you apply them!
So how do you run your own race? How do you know what race God has called you to run? And how do you start making strides towards the goals he’s set out for you to accomplish? Here are 4 steps to help you start running your own race today.
A 4-Step Guide to Running Your Own Race
WHY SHOULD YOU RUN YOUR OWN RACE?
God has gifted each of us with our unique strengths and ways that we can contribute to the body of Christ. 1 Peter 4:10 confirms this. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
We are all a part of the body of Christ. Yet, there are many parts to that body and not all parts are meant to do the same thing. We each have a purpose. Your purpose is your race. It’s the space in your life that you are required to strengthen, learn and grow in. Then, this refined talent is what you can use to grow God’s kingdom. It’s the very reason God gave you this talent to begin with!
RUNNING YOUR OWN RACE AND AVOIDING THE COMPARISON TRAP
It can become very easy to lose sight of your race because you’re too distracted watching someone else’s race. The talents given to others tend to be the strengths that you admire about them; their ability to write, sing, bring joy to the room, academics, etc. Something that seems so easy to someone else, yet is so challenging to you; thus, the unfortunate comparison trap begins.
By focusing on other’s strengths and your gaps, you are inevitably forfeiting the race that God has marked out for you. Wasting your time comparing and sulking leaves less time to actually work on yourself and to run your own race. You can’t do the work that God has called you to do effectively when you’re distracted with wasteful comparison.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO RUN YOUR OWN RACE?
Running your own race is analogy to focusing on your contribution to this world. When you understand what your race is, scripture instructs us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” so we can zero in on our tasks.
To run your own race means that you understand your calling. Most people become easily overwhelmed by trying to figure out their calling in life. Understandable. However, a simple way to break this down is to do a quick assessment and figure out what you’re good at. Do you write well? Maybe you have a knack for being a great ear for friends. Do you love cooking? Your talents can be camouflaged by ordinary tasks that come easy to you. Hone in on these!
YOUR 4-STEP GUIDE ON HOW TO RUN YOUR OWN RACE
Once you’ve identified areas of strength, you can now start to hone in on your race. Use this 4-step guide to help you get started.
Step 1: Identification
It’s not enough to identify a strength without assessing your “why”. For example, maybe you love baking and you’re pretty good at it. Okay, this could be a talent from God, but you have to address the “why” in order to understand “why” God has put this in your heart. So, if you like baking, why? Is it that you love gifting people with a basket of goodies for them to enjoy? Is it the side by side time spent with a family member or friend during the baking process that you like most? Hone in on the intangible. This will lead you to your “why” and what God has placed in your heart.
Step 2: Education
Once you’re narrowed down your talents and the “why” behind them it’s time to dive in. These are the skills that you should focus on developing. This is your race. Start to educate yourself on the skill and the purpose behind it. Take the talent of baking for example. Watch some YouTube videos, join a local baking class, start reading blogs of those who are already doing the style of baking that you enjoy.
Then, study the intangibles. In this example, let’s say it’s the reason you love baking is to spend time with your family while you bake. What more can you learn about this space? What are cool conversation starters you can use to have a deeper connection or what more could you understand about relationship building? There’s always room to learn and grow – no matter how simple a subject may be.
Step 3: Turn It to God
This is where it all comes together. The very reason this strength and/or passion was placed in you. It’s all meant to further God’s kingdom. Your race is to figure out how to do so with the talents that have been entrusted to you. How can you honor God through your work and how can you draw people closer to him? In the baking example, maybe you can draw people closer to Christ by consistently showing them love and sharing God’s truths with them. It may start small, like a planted seed, and then grow over time. The point is, you planted that seed. You used your passion and talent to point people to Christ. Figure out how you can do this with your talent.
Step 4: Stay In Your Lane
This continues to be the most challenging step and is the most dangerous to your race. This is where the comparison trap can completely take you out of your own race and leave you motionless in the stands while watching someone else run their race. Unfortunately, this will only leave you feeling a void and disappointed. Instead, no matter what, stay in your own lane. Stay in your own race. Do not become distracted with where or what someone else is doing in their race. That’s their race. Instead, stay completely focused on your goals and tasks. The upside of this is that staying focused on your own race will enable you to share in other’s wins – genuinely, not forced or fake. Also, when you’re out of comparison mode you are much more primed for learning mode. Observe how others handle challenges, use discipline to accomplish their goals, etc. Learn from that. Don’t compare, but learn.
I hope you found this article helpful and are better equipped to start doing God’s work and run your own race! Share with a friend that you think needs to hear this message.