Let’s start by making it clear—I’m not a runner. Unless I’m being chased by something deadly or the world’s best dessert is ahead, I’m not running far or fast. This is not a post about that type of race. This is a post about the race of life and the importance of choosing the right race.
Racing through life
You know how life feels with kids—run this kid to piano lessons, rush home to chauffeur another kid to football, and then magically whip up a healthy supper, all within a few short evening hours. The coming and going, planning and doing, leave little time for rest. Life feels like you’re stuck on a treadmill that won’t stop. This, my friend, is racing through life.
And although racing through life is exhausting, it’s merely the symptom of the race you’ve chosen to run. The race of life is the path we’ve chosen to this point and choose going forward, a combination of where we’re heading and the experiences that will lead us there.
If you’re like our family, you want to get to the finish line (or anywhere else for that matter) as fast as possible. We choose horsepower all day long. Wherever we’re headed, we want to be the fastest, always trying to finish first. Maybe you’re a slow and steady kind of racer though, cautiously staying the course and surveying the path. Either way, choosing the right race for you is the only way to truly be successful.
How to choose the right race
There isn’t one best way to approach the race of life because there’s an infinite number of races. Some of us take the fast approach while others are steady. We each have unique approaches to what lies before us.
Understanding the freedom we have in choosing the right race is imperative. You get to choose your approach because we’re in different races.
I know sometimes it feels like we’re all in the same race, trying to be the first person to the finish line, but that’s just not true. In fact, embracing the realization that you’re not actually trying to beat the person next to you might just change your entire outlook.
Who you’re not competing with
You are not trying to beat any other mama. It doesn’t matter if her kid is on the same football, soccer, cheerleading, spelling, or 4-H team, or anything else. Maybe you’re both in the same bible study, or you work for the same company—it still doesn’t matter. You are not in competition with her, no matter how it feels.
God designed each of us for a very specific role. Your role can only be successfully filled by you. Sure, maybe we have some commonalities, but we don’t live identical lives. In fact, our similarities build relationships, and our differences allow us to complement each other.
The value of choosing the right race
When you consider just how important our similarities and differences are in life, the idea of choosing the right race becomes clear. If you enter the wrong race, neither your gifts nor mine will ever be fully enjoyed.
As I think about my race and how it might look in the next year, or 2, or maybe even 5, I keep coming back to Hebrews 12. There’s comfort in this scripture as I dream and plan.
“Let us run with endurance the race set before us.” Hebrews 12:1
For years I dreamed of adopting a child, a little girl we wanted to welcome into our family. As I watched friends adopt, jealousy quietly brewed. Why not me? Weren’t we good enough?
My intentions were good—she needed a family and we wanted to welcome her. So why not us? I watched my friends and wished it was me. As time passed, we learned more. Adoption was my friend’s race, not mine. It was only a part of the landscape as I passed towards my personal goal. I was never meant to run her race.
Cheering each other on
It’s easy to get caught up in the desire to be like the women around you. You want to feel appreciated, valued, and successful, even if sometimes you start seeing your friends more like competitors.
Craving my friend’s life only made me jealous of her and unsettled with myself.
I know you’re tired and need someone to cheer you on. Stop competing with the women in your life. Give them the encouragement you desire, cheer for them, and allow them to freely run their race without the weight of your jealousy.
When you free another mama to run her race, you also free yourself.
As you consider your race today, start looking for the ways you’re running someone else’s race. Think about the women closest to you. Who can you encourage today? How can you complement another mama who needs you?
Motherhood is hard. Just when we think we’re doing it right, something happens to make us doubt ourselves. I hope you find encouragement in every post and realize just how great you are already. Do you have a friend who needs some encouragement too? Share this post with her and then signup to get new posts by email.