Defining the Race

Some people I know like to make comparisons (and predictions) about the trajectory God has for them:

  • “My mom had her kids by 30, so will I.”
  • “By the time that person was my age, they were already a vice president.”
  • “25 is the perfect age to get married, because that’s when all my friends did.”

It’s an intriguing thought process because we tend to be rather limited in what we compare. We pick one specific area and think that is the defining thing that determines how our life should also look. We rarely also want to take on the other person’s pains, trials, and inconveniences that may have led them to the point that they are at. We just want the outcome. And we judge the “quality” of our life, by the milestones that they’ve achieved.

However, our God is creative, and the same God who designs an unique sunset for every day, has a unique design for each of His children’s life. The overarching desire may be the same – that people would come to know and serve Him  – but the path that He prepares for us is as different as the snowflakes that fall from the sky. What He designs, what He engineers for one’s person’s life, is rarely the same as what He has planned for another.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to us if we are a student of Scripture. After all, the way that God uses Moses, is very different from the way He used Joseph. The former He called away from prestige, the other He called to it. He called Hosea to marry a prostitute to demonstrate His love for His people; He called Isaiah to walk around naked to demonstrate the shame His people would experience for abandoning Him. Peter He called to the Jews, Paul to the Gentiles. Each was used by God, each in His own way.

So we have to ask ourselves, when we feel like we’re running behind – like other people have gotten ahead of us in life –  whose race are we running?

Are we trying to run their race or are we running the one that God has set out for us?

And what are we running towards?

The prize that they’ve achieved or the one that God has in store for us?

Because if we aren’t careful, we’ll find that we weren’t running after God at all, but just the good things that He provided, the things that He graciously gave to someone else.

And we’ll miss the race He’s marked for us.


Are you ever tempted to run somebody else’s race? What encourages you to keep running the race that God has designed for you?


  1. WOW!! So nicely said and such a good point.

    What encourages me to run my race? Because He is God. I know I will blow it if I decide but He won’t. I strive to know the path He has for me even if He has to hit me over the head with it. Which He has at times.

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