Belonging Day 15: The Race Happening in Your Lane

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When runners line up for many track races, they do not line up evenly at one starting point. Instead they’re assigned different positions on the track in their own lanes.

If you were to view it from overhead, you would see a staggered appearance at the starting line. This ensures that the runners in the outer most lanes don’t travel farther than the others, each runs an equal distance. In sprint races, throughout the entire race, the runner stays in their assigned lane.

At the beginning of the race, perhaps the perception is that one of the runners has an easier or more challenging event based on lane placement. This may be true psychologically, but in the end they will cover the same amount of ground. When the runners take the first bend, it appears that those that started on the outside lanes have the advantage, that they’re ahead; but it’s only because they’ve covered the least amount of ground so far.

The Bible compares our lives to a race: “Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us,” Hebrews 12:1. (NLT) We’re all running this race, we all have the same end goal. But it’s easy to focus on what’s going on in the other lanes.

The misconstrued illusion that occurs at the start of a race is also true in the metaphorical race of life. We like to look outside our lanes, to sum up our own efforts and performance in comparison to the other runners. You see someone yards ahead of you-emotionally, spiritually, career-wise, in their influence. and you become discouraged about your own life. Or you notice another person limping along, out of breath in the back of pack and you feel confident that you’re at least running a better race than them.

You don’t know what lane any of those running around you started from, or where they’re at in their race. We have to stop obsessing over other’s races and stick to focusing on the lane where we belong. The one assigned by the Great Race coordinator—the only one with the overhead perspective.

We are called to live a life testifying to everyone around us that we’re runners in the Great Race, and called to get rid of every weight: the distractions and sin that deter us from reaching our goal. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.” Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)

Maybe one of our greatest distractions is our perception of the other runners.

There is only one way to finish the race without the distractions and sin that are ready to weigh us down.” We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:2 (NLT)

Whoever is committed to finishing this journey will get there. Some of us might limp across the finish line. Some will saunter across. But we all all covering the same ground. And we all have the same challenge, to run our own race well and not worry about what’s happening in the other lanes.

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