Posing as a Paralytic

Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (NIV)

Running is the only sport I can do with relative success, and I enjoy it. As I trot the neighborhood streets, I can withdraw into my own world without much care that an ice cream truck can drive two rounds before I run a block. Just kidding. Almost.

I don’t mind that I’m slow until I have to race.

Two summers ago I ran my first (and currently only) 5k race. Not due to a sudden enlightenment, when the whistle blew, I realized there were others, many others, who were blessed with a greater running ability than I. Even my seven-year-old son with little training bettered my time by a good five minutes. I found myself targeting people during the race, thinking, “Whatever I do, even if I keel over at the finish line, I’m going to beat her.” I compared myself to those ahead of me, and felt childish delight in conquering those behind.

Unfortunately, I transfer those same competitive qualities into my Christian journey. The writer of Hebrews specifically states we have our own race marked out for us, and we are to throw off anything that hinders or entangles us. If I allow it, my attitude becomes my hindrance, and it paralyzes me from running my own race.

When I compare myself to those around me, many things go wrong. I notice the gifts of my friends and believe they are better than the abilities God has given me. I become aware of where God leads others and become dissatisfied with the place in which God has put me. From my lips, I whine, “If only,” and follow that with a myriad of phrases. “If only I were involved with that ministry instead of this one, I could reach more people.”

The reality is that God has empowered us with our own gifts and has set us on our own individual journeys so that He is glorified, not us. If we embrace this truth and allow God to lead us, we can finish our race well and not be paralyzed by the act of comparing.

Dear God, I pray to be satisfied with the person You have made me and the place You have put me. Help me to understand that this journey is to ultimately glorify You. Amen

2 Responses to Posing as a Paralytic
  1. Barbie
    May 19, 2011 | 3:29 pm

    I loved this Heather. I spent way too much time comparing myself to others and desiring the gifts that God has given to them. What I don’t stop to realize is that I miss what God has for me! I want to run this race in freedom, not held by chains or perfection!

  2. Rachel
    May 23, 2011 | 12:46 pm

    Loved this post. It’s so easy to slip into comparing and then find one’s heart discontent.

    Love your writing!