During our lives, we will face many obstacles and hurdles. In the end, it is up to us how we wish to act, upon overcoming, those obstacles. Everyone deals with challenging situations. And while some may be able to pick themselves up after a tough time, others may need more time to heal their wounds before continuing in the race. It is important to remember that we must continue in this race called life because nothing is worth keeping us down when we can get back up and enjoy our lives to the fullest.
Run your own race.
Running your race means having a very distinct vision for your own life.
Running your race means looking toward your goals while being aware of what’s around you.
Running your race means not focusing too much on who is next to you or who is behind you.
Running your race means never looking back.
Running your race means beating your own best time, not anybody else’s.
Running your race means ending up somewhere different from where you begin and having your own story to tell.
Whether you’re writing a book, starting a new business, trying to finish nursing school, or starting a blog, this is important for you to understand. There will always be other people in the office, on the track, in the audience, and in the arena. There will always be people ahead and behind you. But if you spend all your time looking at what others are doing, you’re going to trip over your own feet. Do not fall into the trap of comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle. It will only hurt you. I am not saying you shouldn’t be motivated by others. Motivation by the successes of other people is important to our success. Remember you are competing to be the best version of yourself, and everything else will fall into place.
Whether it’s with jobs, relationships, or life in general, just because someone else is following a particular path doesn’t mean you have to do — or even want to do — the same thing. You have your own path. Stick to it! Do not try to catch up to others because you want to have their success. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what other people are doing and feel like you must compete. Go after your own. The constant pressure to compare yourself to others can be overwhelming.
We all compete. Every day there are numerous finish lines to cross, challenges to face, winners, and losers.
So, do you consider yourself an athlete? If you play, bend, move, push, pull, throw, kick, twist, hit, lift, run, walk, ride, sweat, and hurt. You are an athlete. Athletes are better competitors because they go to bed each night knowing that they “have fought the good fight…finished the race and have kept the faith” (2Ti 4:7). You compete. Why aren’t you an athlete? Competition is not about winning. Winning comes because of your preparation, skill level, attitude, and a little favor. Competition is a beautiful, important, and critical element of our society.
My son, Willie, was an avid competitor. He lettered in three sports: football, basketball, and track. I remember when track season came upon us, he set his sights on a track championship. An unexpected injury was an early headache for Willie. He had injured his leg during football season, and it had begun to give him some trouble. It was the same leg that had been hit by a car when he was younger. However, he was determined to run track, his last year of high school. There were good days and bad days as he struggled with his leg injury. He never stopped believing that he would overcome and qualify to compete at the state track meet.
I continued to believe in God’s mercy, compassion, and healing power. There was no doubt Willie would be healed. I knew many stories in the Bible, such as the one about the woman with the issue of blood and the two blind men. I knew enough to know it was their faith in Jesus that made them whole. And if we had anything, we had faith. God had been faithful in other life circumstances. I also am familiar with the story in the Bible about Paul, who begged three times to be healed, but God told him His grace is sufficient. So, even if God chose not to heal Willie’s leg, we trusted Him.
One Sunday morning at the closing of the church’s annual women’s retreat, Willie received his healing. The Spirit was high. The Shekinah glory was present, and God’s glory was in the house. The evangelist, Dr. Loretta McIntosh, drew him closer and began to minister to him. I was not close enough to hear, although I wish I were.
Willie stared directly into her face and listened intensely. Dr. McIntosh instructs him to run. Willie did not question her instructions. He began to run around the sanctuary. Many thought Willie’s leg was injured permanently, but God said differently. Willie was competing again with no problem and had begun to win his races. Before long, he qualified to compete at the state track meet in Jefferson City.
The time had come, and he stepped into the blocks, and then the gun went off. Classmates, friends, and family, and I were all screaming at the top of our lungs, “Run, Clarence!” His birth name. Willie got to the first hurdle and stumbled. I was not sure if his foot touched the hurdle or what happened because there was something blocking our view. We all gasped and held our breath. And he recovered.
His long legs would continue taking strides around the first turn, making up time lost. He was dominating the race. It was now or never. Our voices got louder.
As Willie was taking the next turn, the number assigned to him fell off his track uniform. I could hear Big T saying, “C-Dub ran out of his number.” And one of his coaches said, “Take him, Clarence!”
He was coming down the stretch, and he never looked back. We were mesmerized as he crossed the finish line. He won! He was the 2000 Division 3A boys 300-meter intermediate hurdles state champion.
What are you running after? What is your hurdle? There are two powerful forces: that enables each one of us to make progress, the push factor and the pull factor. One pushes us from behind, and the other pushes from ahead. One is running after us, and the other is what we are running after.
People who have nothing running after them have no sense of urgency. A sense of urgency helps you to move quickly, and a sense of mission helps you to move purposefully. It’s great to be quick, and to be, fast and to move, but you must know, what you are moving for, or where you are moving to. Willie pursued his goal, and he achieved it. If you are going to run after something, you don’t look back. You look forward.
So, remember, when life puts hurdles across your path, try your best to jump over them. When Willie stumbled, he could have looked back, but he was focused. I do not know if his competitors looked back because I was focused on Willie running his race. Willie had a vision. His eyes were fixed on winning his race. Do not be discouraged. I know you have it in you to overcome whatever hurdles come your way, so get ready. On your mark, get set, go!
2000 Division 3A boys 300-meter intermediate hurdles state champion.
Read more about Willie in
“My Whisper From God!”