• Tamela Turbeville

Run Your Own Race



On a recent chilly March morning, I stood among 2,000 or so runners, all of us warming up and lining up to start a local 10K charity race. My confidence was solid...until I looked around and began to compare myself to the other runners.

The thoughts in my head were a jumble of quick, probably false, assessments.

“He looks fast; I’m not.”

“She seems so fit; I’m not.”

“Look how young these girls are; I’m not.”

“I’m not enough…”

In fifteen minutes, I had compared myself to about one-third of the runners. I turned around and wanted to run to my car. All my preparation and confidence melted away with every comparative thought. Comparison almost stole my race.

I love to run, and when I say run, I mean jog with a lot of walking. You would think I was a professional by now, but I’m not. I anticipated this morning for months and put miles of training toward being able to make the finish line. But once I stood among seemingly more prepared and able runners, I felt like a fraud. I compared myself to what MIGHT be better runners. It was like all the preparation didn’t matter. I forgot the truth about myself.

Comparison steals the truth.

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Getting ready for the race was a solitary undertaking. I alone put in the miles and the time so I would be able to finish over six miles on two feet. To reach the finish line I had to focus on one thing. Growing our relationship with Jesus is that way as well. We have to spend time alone opening His Word and taking in His promises and love written on every page. We have to focus straight ahead on Jesus. Comparing our walk, our calling, our gifts, to someone else’s, is the first step to losing our focus and not finishing the race.

Comparison steals your focus.

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I’ve spent too many years comparing myself to other people, remembering my past, and believing I come up short. I am always afraid that if everyone knew my history, they would not want to know me. My long list of bad choices and years of living in the consequences weighs heavy when I try to run in the race of life. I know my sins, and I always think that if everyone else did, I would lose the race for sure.

That’s not true, that’s the enemy's lie. Jesus paid the price for our sins once and for all. He knows everything and still forgave us. We are a new creature, made right by Jesus. Our sins are forgotten. Our past is gone.

We are daughters of the One True God.

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Does comparison have you wanting to cancel the race? Is your focus wavering?

Do you compare yourself to others? To the seemingly perfect mom in the carpool? You know, the one with a clean car and cute kids.

Do you think you don’t measure up? If you are like me, you might compare your clothes, hair, and shoes to the person sitting next to you at church? I’m guilty.

How do we stop letting comparison steal the truth about who we are?

I say let’s start with gratitude. Look around, take inventory of the blessings your Creator has bestowed upon you, His daughter. Then, be thankful. You have everything God wants you to have--the right gift, the right calling, the right ministry, the right house, the right body, the right hair, the right beauty. What could be better than what God wants you to have? What someone else has is what they are supposed to have. You don’t want to steal what God has given someone else. It’s not yours.

Focus on what God has called you to do today and do it for His glory. My friend always says to me, “stay in your lane.” When you are busy looking at what others are doing and believing their success damages yours, you could trip and fall out of your lane. Stay in your lane. When God gives you an assignment, He will equip you to finish the task.

You need to know how God feels about YOU. How will you know? His Word, the Bible, is filled from cover to cover with promises and evidence of His love. Spending time in prayer and meditating on scripture confirms and instills the truth of His love. You are His masterpiece. If you don’t believe this truth right this moment, act like you do. Live in the truth that you are a child of God and everything about you is His design. Ask God to help you know how He sees you, then keep acting like you know this truth until you do.

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In the moments after surveying the other runners and considering a retreat to my car, a voice on the loudspeaker echoed, “Let us bow our heads in prayer…” And I did. “Jesus, help me finish the race,” I repeated over and over fearing I would end up on the "Did Not Finish" bus. Toward the end of the corporate prayer, the speaker prayed, “...and Lord, let us run our OWN race.”

In an instant, I felt God saying, “stop looking at others and look toward the finish line.” For the next 90 minutes or so, I ran (mostly walked) the six miles, and I crossed the finish line. I ran MY RACE, and I finished MY RACE. It wasn’t pretty, I was slow, but I crossed the finish line.

When you start to compare yourself to other runners in the race stop--remember to run your own race. Fast or slow. Walk or run. Be who God has made you to be. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus who can give you all you need to finish YOUR RACE. No matter how fast or slow you must run your race, the reward is across the finish line. We all have the same prize, an eternity with Jesus.

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Father, help us to run our own race, stay in our lane, and focus on the work you have given us to do for your glory. We don’t want to compare ourselves to others but instead use the gifts you have given us specifically. Help us to keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

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MORE TO THINK ABOUT:

Ephesians 3:20--For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.

Isaiah 49:16--Look, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.

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Check out Nicki Koziarz's new book: Why Her?: 6 Truths We Need to Hear When Measuring Up Leaves Us Falling Behind. Using Rachel and Leah from the Bible, she speaks to why we compare and the effects of comparison. However, it doesn't leave you there, Nicki offers some help about how to deal with our comparison trap.


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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