This weekend I ran my first race in Nicaragua. This normally would not be a huge deal, but earlier in the week I fell over a rock (yes, I am a clutz). I landed smack on my kneecap, which has been giving me fits every since. Owing to my German DNA I was way to stubborn to simply drop out of the race, so I ran with a bad knee. On top of that, it decided to rain the entire race (and, if you care, I had a shoelace that decided to end its life at the 4K mark.). So, with all these factors against me, I decided from the outset my goal was simply to have fun and to finish. Just keep a nice even pace and don’t worry about anyone else. That was a hard goal for my overly competitive brain to keep. Every time someone would pass me, or be just slightly in front of me, I wanted to go just a little bit faster to beat them. The whole race I had to resist this temptation to race other peoples races and to race my own. In the end my steady approach brought me to the finish line in a respectable time and, surprisingly, in a minimal amount of pain.
As I was dealing with the temptation to change my pace based on others during the race it hit me how much this is like life. We are constantly being tempted to run a race that is not ours. We see a celebrity on TV and desire their lifestyle. A friend makes a purchase, and we want to make a similar (or bigger!) purchase. Perhaps more seriously, we see others making decisions that are not Biblical, and we figure we can do the same. Or, we see others having “fun” and “exciting” ministry experiences, and we want to have those same experience (even if we are not called and equipped for that ministry). In all of these cases we get tempted away from running the race, living the life, that God has uniquely crafted us to live.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10
This has become my life verse because it is such a powerful reminder of who I am. We’ve not been created to chase after others, but to live a very specific life for the glory of God. We all need to remember that God has uniquely crafted us to do good things for His Kingdom. Sometimes we may not like the path He has laid out, and we may think someone else’s path is better. When we doubt it, or are tempted by something else, we need to remember that nothing could ever be better then the plan God has masterful created for us and only us.