God has such impeccable timing. That is brought home to me often, the most recent time being last week. We are all afflicted with various personality traits and characteristics that impede our progress on occasion. One of mine (probably the most effective impeder) is the one that causes me to compare myself to others in an unfavorable light. It just so happened that last week was one of those weeks that I occasionally have when I felt like everyone in the world was smarter, faster, thinner, more creative, more entertaining, more talented, and all around better at everything than I am. As a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a runner, a photographer, a writer, and all the other plates I spin get entwined and fall to the ground to shatter irreparably, I can be really hard on myself.
As I was running long this weekend, I was passed by several runners who made my pace seem comical in comparison. Granted, two of them were high school boys whose legs were as long as my body and whose body fat could be measured in the low single digits. But, still. I felt like I was running through mud. And, I’m sure I looked like it, as well. Of course, the run worked its usual magic and elevated my mood by the end, but the comparisons lingered. My niece, who has recently begun a run/walk program in preparation for her first half marathon (I’m SO proud & excited for her), called me and asked me what her pace should be. She had been reading a blog written by
an idiot a fool a sadly misguided individual who advocated that a good pace for a beginning runner is an 8 minute mile. That is a great goal for her eventually, but not a realistic beginning goal pace. She was really down because she was comparing this nut’s info to her actual pace & felt she came up lacking.
Enter God. I follow several blogs, mostly written by other runners, some inspirational, some technical. Last week’s blog posts offered not one, but two excellent posts on this very topic. You can read them here and here. If you don’t follow these two wonderful bloggers, I highly recommend them. Anyway, I was, once again, stunned at God’s timing. How could these two people that I don’t even know be aware that this was exactly what I needed to read this week?
The simple truth is that there will always be people who are faster, thinner, smarter, more talented, and more successful than me. I’ll never be an elite runner. I’ll probably never write the Great American Novel. I am who I am. A marvel of God’s creation. He made me to be exactly who I am. Someone who falls down a lot, but picks herself up, dusts herself off, looks around to see if anyone saw her faux pas, then keeps on going. I think that’s the definition of success for me. That I keep on keeping on, encountering problems and seeking solutions. Comparing myself to anyone steals my joy, and renders my efforts to improve and learn ineffective.
4 Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of A JOB WELL DONE, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. Galatians 6:4 (New Living Translation)