“Help, I’ve fallen behind!” Such a common thought to have, such resounding words that can be spoken and felt to our very core. As I brace for the impact of my impending 30th birthday looming just over the horizon, I can’t help but reflect on recent years.
While taking a moment to celebrate the successes of those around you, it’s easy to feel like life is a race to the finish line. We compare ourselves to those we’ve grown up with, watched or fall into the same intellectual or age category.
What happens when someone else’s race looks more appealing than your own? It’s almost easier to shame ourselves into believing that we were not made for the speedways we dream of, but should rather succumb to the societal norms of sprints and athletic competitions.
Each of our races are marked by different starting lines, checkpoints, obstacles and pitstops. Dramatic analogy aside, trying to run the sprint we see our friends run whilst our race is really a motorsport puts us at a huge disadvantage. When we become trapped in the mentality of trying to compete in someone else’s race, we we’re really competing in a losing race.
“... And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” (Hebrews chapter 12, verses 1-2)
This scripture in Hebrews chapter 12 is the perfect reminder that we should be focused on our own path in life, keeping our eyes fixed on our race. Focusing on our own race means we can grow our relationship with our Creator, nurture a Christ-like character and live an intentional life. It may be hard to ignore the sprinkles in someone else’s bowl, but don’t miss out on the chocolate ice-cream in your own bowl.
Celebrate their sprinkles, but truly enjoying what in your bowl involves taking a look at it. Sometimes staying focused requires a pitstop.
Speaking of pitstops
A pitstop is, by definition, a stop during a race to refuel or service. Pitstops do not mean that you’ve encountered an obstacle and have to bow out of the race. They allow you to make the necessary adjustments to complete your race. What do the pitstops in your race look like?
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark chapter 1, verse 35)
Finding the right moment to enter your pitstop, to find time for prayer and solitude is important to help you finish your race at optimal performance. Being refreshed, refuelled, and recharged is crucial for your body and spirit – this scripture in Mark shows us that even Jesus needed time away from the multitudes to pray.
Pausing, reflecting, praying and being still in the presence of our Creator is the ideal pitstop for focusing on your race.
Get back on track
As tempting as it may be to settle into the comfort of your pitstop, it’s important to know when to get back in the race. Your race may look completely different, and you may feel like you’ve fallen behind, but that doesn’t mean it’s over. Every choice, every moment from now until you cross the finish line is an opportunity to run your own race with purpose and determination.
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans chapter 12, verses 11–12)
Getting back into the race may not be easy. Getting back into the correct race may be even more difficult. You may not feel equipped to join a speedway when you’ve spent all this time trying to jump hurdles. Romans chapter 12 encourages us to be patient in difficulties and joyful in hope.
The truth is, getting back on track is never simple. Getting onto a track that is vastly different than those around you may leave you feeling judged or like you’ve fallen behind. Remember, you are part of a peculiar people that are not conformed to the ways of society but set apart by the Creator for a life greater than you could ever fathom.
It’s time to get out of your pitstop and back onto that speedway. You haven’t fallen behind; you were simply made for more!
Hailing from South Africa, Crystelda is an avid nerd and an unapologetic dreamer. With a BSc. Biological Sciences and BCom Hons in marketing, she has launched the Christian lifestyle blog - Selah Blogger and is the joint winner of the 2019 International Theology Award. The blog can be found at https://selahblogger.wordpress.com/ and her previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/crystelda-naidoo.html