We have many gorgeous autumnal days here in Minnesota. (Autumnal is a word my husband likes to use and once made the mistake of trying to use it in a compliment, as in “Honey you look really autumnal.” Note to husbands: Do not try this) Anyway, awhile ago I was taking a walk around a lake. I stopped to adjust my ipod and a young woman power-walked past me. I smiled and fell in walking briskly about 30 yards behind her.
She anxiously looked over her shoulder at me and tried to speed up, swinging her arms more vigorously. It was apparent that it was very important to her to walk faster than me.
It became comical as we went around a wooded bend. Thinking she was obscured from my view for a minute, she glanced back, and jogged a few yards to get farther ahead.
Since she had her back to me and couldn’t see me unless she turned around, I mischievously jogged a few yards on the straightaway to close the gap and freak her out.
We went on like this until I came upon a stunningly beautiful maple tree in a hundred shades of turning…green to gold, to orange to red… I stopped in my tracks. I looked ahead at the girl who was “running her race” in relation to me and thought how often this is a picture of my spiritual journey.
Both of us were more concerned about the progress of the other than of truly being present in the moment, attentive to what God had for us as individuals. I could keep walking, trying to keep pace with the girl in front of me, or I could choose to turn aside to this tree, as Moses to his burning bush and say, “What do you have for me, Lord?”
It brought to mind Jesus’ conversation with Peter in John 21. Jesus tells Peter about his future and commands him to follow, but Peter looks at the other disciple, John and says, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus’ response is basically, “Don’t worry about my plans for him. That shouldn’t matter to you. Just YOU follow me.”
Do YOU ever get caught up in comparison and striving to run a race that isn’t yours? What do you do about it??