From a very early age, I trained as a runner. As early as first grade all the way through high school, I ran every track meet, from sprints to long distance. One of my favorite races was the relay races which allowed us to move from competing individually to competing as a team. Regardless of the race being run, one thing was consistently drilled into our heads as competitors: STAY IN YOUR LANE.
The moment your foot steps across the white line and you veer into someone else's lane you would be disqualified. Why was it so important to not step across that little white line on the hot Texas asphalt? Stepping across the line interfered with the other runners, potentially cause them to trip and fall. Staying in our own lane provided a safe place that allowed us the freedom to do what we had been trained to do, run our race to the best of our ability.
One thing I learned quickly is that my eyes had a tremendous amount of power over the rest of my body. By glancing to the left or right or looking over my shoulder to check the distance of the girl in the lane next to me, I would cause my feet to stumble and risk stepping over the line, disqualifying me from the race. My coach would always say to us, "NEVER look over your shoulder, run your own race." By keeping my eyes straight ahead, I kept my eyes on the prize of that finish line. I was not distracted by those around me; I was motivated, but not distracted.
I don't know about you, but often times I struggle to keep my eyes on my own race, more often than I would l would like to admit. I take my eyes off of my own race as a mother. I begin to look at how other moms parent their children, or how successful their life appears juggling and multi-tasking the demands of a busy family. It is particularly hard when I see someone a few steps ahead of me in a season of life; I begin to unfairly compare my life to hers.
Social media and the world of comparison we live in with "selfies" and documenting the highlights of each day taunts us constantly. It is as if the runners around us flaunt the fact they are running the race better and faster. We become distracted and consumed and our eyes begin to wander.
Fearing that I am not measuring up to those around me, comparing my parenting to another, and shrinking in insecurity that I can't "do it all," I take my eyes off of my own race. I risk my own race by looking at those around me. I must stay in my own lane.
Living in the world of comparison paralyzes us from living and living well. The insecurity and comparison tend to fade away when we realize the calling we have before us in the assignment of our own children. My job as a mother becomes my own priority, and I can’t compare myself to you and how you are doing as a mom. I must begin to learn to navigate how to stay in my own lane. I must stop comparing, and begin running in my own lane and own it.
Fear breeds insecurity. Insecurity breeds comparison. Comparison takes our eyes off of Jesus. When I can keep my eyes on my own race, I become consumed with running my race well. I keep my eyes on the finish line when my life is over and I hear my Father say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." My eyes are on eternity. I have a place of influence in the lives of my three daughters and an opportunity to point them to Jesus cheering for them to keep their eyes steady on what God has placed before them. As a family, we are running life as a team, not as individuals. One day, I will pass the baton off to my girls as they are the next generation. When our eyes are on the finish line and our eternal home with our Savior Jesus Christ, we no longer are distracted or worried about where we are in the race. Our goal is just to run our race well. Comparison leaves. As I learn to stay in my own lane, I can cheer for you as you run your race.
Excerpts of this post are from The High Calling of Motherhood by Chimene Shipley Dupler.