I ran a Ragnar a couple of weeks ago. If you have no knowledge about a Ragnar, let me fill you in. It is a long-distance race that is ran by a team of runners- any runner crazy enough will do! Each runner completes a different leg of the race, with someone running both day and night for two days, completing the distance of approximately 200 miles.
About a month before the race I wanted to back out. All the unknowns and fears about the race almost stopped me from being a part of this amazing experience.
Yes. Now that I’m done, I can say it was pretty amazing.
My teammates were awesome and I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. On top of that, the sense of accomplishment is overwhelming….
Until it wasn’t.
During the race I was surrounded by all these remarkable people. They complete some pretty hard things. Many of them have ran marathons while raising 5 kids, working a full-time job, volunteering for their local food shelter, adopting puppies, teaching Sunday school, singing weekly for the nursing home residents and helping a local neighbor raise a barn.
Ok, so I may be exaggerating a little with a few of those…
But really. These were some awe-inspiring women I had the privilege to get to know.
It made me feel kind of small though.
At the end of the race I was looking around at the other eleven women and I could hear myself thinking…
“Who are you compared to these women?”
“They accomplished way more than you did. You ran the least number of miles at the best times of day.”
“These guys have way more on their plate than you and still completed more. What do you have to celebrate?”
“You don’t fit in the mix here.”
Isn’t it crazy how Satan attacks us? Here I am at the completion of this amazing event that I had the privilege to accomplish with some amazing women and the thoughts in my head didn’t even allow me to enjoy the moment.
And it all started with the comparison game. As soon as I signed up for this race, immediately my mind went into comparison mode.
Ugh. It is an evil web we spin for ourselves.
Comparisons and un-met expectations really are at the root of all heartache. The interesting thing about these two, we have control over both.
Today, I just want to talk about comparison.
The Oxford Dictionary defines compare as this: estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between.
Comparison in itself is not a bad thing. Sometimes it is really useful to measure or note differences between two things. Where we get tripped up is when we make those differences MEAN SOMETHING ABOUT US.
It isn’t a bad thing to note another woman has beautiful, long brown hair. But when you make that mean that since you don’t have her hair then you are not as pretty as her, well, that is where the problem lies.
God calls us to be imitators of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). Not imitators of those around us because we believe they are better in some way. God also tells us that:
Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others. Assume your own responsibility. Galatians 6:4-5
When I sobered up (figuratively, not literally), I used this verse to do exactly that. I looked at what I accomplished, how the Ragnar stretched me, and all the hard work I put into it and I decided to feel proud. I committed to thinking thoughts of how I ACED the responsibility for my part in the relay. The team needed someone to run that spot in the relay. I choose to believe I did a great job at it.
From there, I could see how God’s plan was working for my good. Until that point, Satan was discouraging me and clouding my vision. I wasn’t able to clearly see the blessings that were right before me. The blessings of new friendships, strengthened friendships, mental toughness, physical exercise and a healthy, strong body to accomplish the race.
I realized God has a very specific plan for me. It won’t be accomplished if I spend my time looking at others and dwelling in how I don’t measure up. When I dwell in that place, I stay hidden, stuck and I avoid moving forward.
Well, that doesn’t serve me or God.
Don’t make a home in comparison, friend. Don’t look at how others are doing things faster, better, easier, prettier or bigger than you. It just keeps you from your God given plan.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Stick to the plans God has for YOU. They really are the best plans.