Run Your Own Race
After I resigned from full-time employment last year, I took a seven months break before getting back to work or rather undertaking some preoccupying activity.
During that break, I visited Embu town for one week. I had lived there close to three years so it was an exciting time to go back. I also got to unwind, rewind and relax. So many memories came flooding back as I walked down those streets visiting the places I previously had been to.
While there, I was still struggling with what to do next, where to go next, and all of that… I was just in a mire of confusion because the plan I was relying on did not seem to be going as I had intended. (I later on came to see that most of my fears were as a result of leaning on my own understanding and having a self-willed perspective.)
One afternoon, I decided to browse the television channels to search for something interesting. It had actually been a long while since I had last watched television due to my work schedule. I used to be extremely busy; I never even had time for watching the news let alone entertainment. Thus, it did feel kind of odd because my mind had been so wired to a routine that I felt as though I was wasting time sitting in front of the television.
Finally, I found a movie. Intriguingly, that movie brought God’s perspective into clear focus and the movie has been a blessing to me ever since because, whenever I am about to lose perspective, I remember the lessons I learnt from it.
Later on, I went to search for it online and found it was a sequel to another movie called: remember the goal. I also watched that movie some time later.
Anyway, in case you have not watched the movie—spoiler alert. The movie is called the perfect race.
Both those movies are about cross country races and running track.
For this particular movie, there is this one specific scene where one runner (Chris), talks to the coach about a previous race he had run explaining to her how he came in last. He stated that coming in the last position was contributed to by his worries. During the whole competition, he was anxious because he perceived that other runners were better than him.
So the coach told him a story of her own life when she experienced a similar situation. She told him of a time when she was thirteen; she had gotten an opportunity to compete in a golf tournament. There were several schools in the competition and she was placed in the top four and was ranked 1st in her school. When the game began, three girls went ahead of her and hit great drives so she began to get worried. When it was her turn to play, she tanked the first stroke as well as the other subsequent ones; losing the game by a huge margin. She told the runner (Chris), that she lost by twelve strokes even though she was ranked first.
However, when she went back the next year, she won.
The difference, she said, was that when she was thirteen she was looking at everybody else and worrying about what they were doing. The next year she just concentrated on her own game.
Talk about putting things into the right perspective! God really ministered to me that day in a way that even today, whenever the temptation to worry about where I am in life, what I am doing, where I am heading to, who is doing what… comes to mind, I remember that one scene which coincidentally goes together with Paul’s words to the church in Corinth. (Interestingly too, I view Paul as our coach in Christianity.)
1 Corinthians 9
24 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.
25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate (disciplined, self-denying, self-controlled), in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.
27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
I am especially drawn to that part where he says, “run in such a way that you may obtain it, and fight: not as one who beats the air.” That means our aim, focus, and goal must always be firm and steady. Focusing on our own race; not even seeking to find out what God has called other people to do. That way, we will be able to accomplish all the work God has assigned us to do. Whether it is parenthood, career, mission work… or whatever service to God and to man.
Sadly, I believe that this is one of the biggest problems we have in today’s society. Thousands of people are trying to run other people’s races through comparisons and imitations, which is also a contributing factor to mental health problems.
Life will only be fulfilling when you focus on your race as you give it your all.
Recall, when Peter desired to know what God had willed for John but Jesus told him (to put it bluntly)— to mind his own business.
20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?”
21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?”
22 Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
You follow me. Simple.
Thus, I learnt from both of those movies, that God’s will for my life is designed specifically and uniquely for me. Whether His will for me is to stay stationed behind the scenes at a back office somewhere for the rest of my life…so be it. His will be done. He has promised to grace me for all that pertains to my life.
And friends, this is exactly how worrying about my next move, career anxieties, and all of that, got permanently stationed at the parking lot called life.
Where I go to church, one day, I noticed next to the pastor’s desk, a paper stuck to the wall and being curious of course, I read what was written on it. The paper read,
For those who serve the Lord
Stick with your work,
Do not flinch because the lion roars:
Do not stop to stone the devil’s dogs:
Do not fool your time away chasing the devil’s rabbits.
Do your work!
Let the liars lie, let the sectarians quarrel,
Let the critics malign, let the enemies accuse,
Let the devil do his worst, but see to it that;
Nothing hinders you from fulfilling with joy the work God has given you.
He has not commanded you to be admired or esteemed.
He has never bidden you to defend your character.
He has not set you at work to contradict falsehood (about yourself)
Which Satan’s or God’s servants may start to peddle,
Or to truck down every rumor that threatens your reputation.
If you do these things, you will do nothing else:
You will be at work for yourself and not for the Lord.
Keep at your work.
Let your aim be as steady as a star.
You may be assaulted, wronged, insulted, slandered,
Wounded, and rejected, misunderstood, or assigned impure motives:
You may be abused by foes, forsaken by friends
And despised and rejected of men.
But see to it with steadfast determination,
With unwavering zeal,
That you pursue that great purpose for your life and object of your being
Until at last you can say,
“I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do”
I believe this should also be the objective of all Christians while working for the Lord because, it is certainly possible to get sidetracked by the devil chasing after his rabbits (as put in the statement).
Remembering to focus on the goal. And the purpose to which God has called us to work.
Thank you for reading and God bless ya!
See you in December God willing 🙂
So much wisdom here to find GOD’s will and then run our own race…
Amen to that! Thank you my friend…you’re always an encouragement to me…even just for reading :))