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How to Run Your Race, Not Hers

How to Run Your Race, Not Hers

Comparison: A Drain on Endurance

Shannon Popkin

Author & Podcast Host

Live Like It's True Podcast

Published On:

January 19, 2024

There’s something I do that always compounds my weariness in this race of life: I glance sideways at the person in the land beside me who doesn’t seem to have as much to bear.  

This might happen when I’m leading Bible study and look over at the group that can barely fit around the table, while my group has gaps of space between us three. Or when I look over at some other person’s child who is thriving and leading, while my child is faltering and shrinking back into the darkness. Or when I see a friend planning to add a new son-in-law to her growing family, and my family has just shrunk with a loss.  

As I turn my gaze sideways at this other person, my heart fills with envy, strife, pride, and grief–which only drains the endurance I need for my own race.  

The writer of Hebrews says:  

Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. —Hebrews 12:1 

That word endurance paints an image of a long road, not a short sprint before collapsing in a lawn chair. Endurance requires pressing on, even when I grow tired, frustrated, or bored. It involves putting one foot in front of the other when challenges arise and the incline grows steep.  

The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus must be my example in this endurance: “Consider him who endured . . . so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted” (Heb. 12:3). 

Why Comparison Saps my Strength 

There’s something about glancing sideways which makes me want to quit. But there’s something about returning my gaze to Jesus—the One who endured the steepest climb of all up Golgotha's hill—which gives me strength to take the next step. And the one after that.  

When I’m sweating and straining, I want the person next to me to be sweating and straining, too. I want to know that I’m not alone. And truly, as I run this Christian race, I’m not alone. I am part of a running group of followers who span the globe, and we all experience the same kinds of runners’ aches and struggles (1 Peter 5:9).  

The measuring and comparing is sideways energy, which distracts me from my race and saps my energy. If I want to run with endurance, I have to look “to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of [my] faith” (Heb. 12:2). 

What About Him? 

After Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared to the disciples one morning after they had been fishing. They ate breakfast together, and then Jesus took a walk with Peter and gave him a glimpse into the race ahead—which would require great endurance and many trials, including death. As Jesus shared this, Peter turned and saw John trailing behind and asked, “What about him?”  

Jesus replied, “What is that to you? You follow me!” (John 21:23). 

Friend, are your eyes drifting to someone else’s lane today? Are you—like Peter— craning your neck and becoming distracted? Are you comparing your race with that of another disciple? If so, turn your eyes to Jesus and listen as He says, “What’s that to you? You follow me!”  

God, Thank you for choosing me to be your disciple and marking out a course just for me. Help me to stop glancing sideways and keep my eyes on Jesus as I run my race to the finish. 

Reflect and Respond  

  • Read James 3:14–16 and describe any bitter jealousy or selfish ambition causing your eyes to drift from Jesus. How has this sideways focus been distracting you or sapping your energy? 

  • What is the Lord asking you to endure today? What is one way that you will “stay in your own lane” and keep following the Lord? 

  • Read 1 Peter 5:5–11 and make a list of Peter’s instructions and promises in these verses. Choose one that you will cling to, as you keep your eyes on Jesus and run with endurance.  

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