Anyone that knows me knows that I have never been much of an athlete but I thoroughly enjoy watching sports-particularly basketball and tennis. I also enjoyed watching the swimming and track & field races during the summer Olympics. Each athlete is given a lane to swim or run in but on each side of them is another athlete who’s trying to out swim or out run the other. But what if, as you are in your lane, you look over and see not another person but yourself?
The bible often talks about how we as Christians are in a race. But if a traditional race has people running against each other and we are not to compare ourselves against one another who exactly are we in a race against? I think we are in a race against ourselves. I think we are running against fear, doubt, insecurity to see who will cross the finish line first. The thing is they are so much running a race as they are holding us back.
Fear: An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.
Doubt: A feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction.
Insecurity: Uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence.
Just imagine you standing on the starting line of the things that God has planned for you and you look over and see fear telling you that the future God has is way more dangerous than where you are now. Right now you’re comfortable and safe. What in the world will happen in the future?! No. It’s so much better to stay here and not venture any further.
Then you hear doubt chiming in and agreeing with fear but adding their own little bit of advice. Doubt starts saying that even if you did move forward you’d just stop right away anyway so why even bother to start.
And then here comes insecurity. Insecurity puts the icing on the cake and tells you that God didn’t really put anything in you that is worth pursuing. Basically you are no good and you deserve to be at the bottom of the pile. Everyone else is better than you are anyway so once again why put yourself out there?
I’ve fallen into this trap myself. Even when writing this post I allowed a close friend of fear, doubt and insecurity to visit me…procrastination. Once you allow the other three to speak in your ear procrastination quietly comes in and before you know it something that should have taken you a short while to finish takes months, years, decades or it never gets finished at all.
But then I think about this verse…
Therefore we also, since we are witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the sham and has set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1 NKJ)
This verse tells us to let go of the things that weigh us down and things that tend to trip us up. Sometimes it’s that relationship, or that job or even your current dream. Sometimes its even letting go of our own selfish nature. And always it’s letting go of comparing ourselves with one another. Why? Because our goal is to win the race that God has set before us. Not our friends on social media. Not our neighbors. Not our co-workers. Not our family members. But us.
I start to remember that at the end of the day while it is my race to finish there are others whose race depends on how well I run my race. If I allow myself to get sidetracked there are people who won’t get to hear what I have to say. They need to hear how the gospel can change their life.They need to hear that they too have a voice and a purpose.
So I want to say to everyone out there who has struggled with our racing companions fear, doubt, insecurity and even procrastination they may try to keep up with you but you are stronger than they are. Your voice is stronger than their voices. And as you continue putting one foot in front of the other keep that finish line in view and not the finish line of pleasing others but the finish line of hearing God say “well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).
photo credit: acase1968 <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/60035031@N06/26672521686″>100 meter dash</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>