The Race is Not to the Swift
Ecclesiastes 9:11 "I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all." (KJV)
One of my deepest struggles is comparison. I am notorious for comparing my beginning with someone else's middle or end. And, invariably, I fall short.
The truth is: we all run at a different pace. We experience different stages of life at different times in our lives.
Something I have recently been striving to understand is that, in life, the goal is not just to reach the finish line. The goal is to keep going, at whatever speed possible.
The race is not always to the swift.
Life is just as much about the race itself, if not more so, as it is about reaching the finish line.
My one year old son has been unconsciously teaching me this. Last week, while walking in to eat at Ruby Slipper Cafe, my only thought was getting inside. That was why we were there in the first place. I had my eye on the finish line, not the journey. To me, the journey from my car through the parking lot seemed mundane and certainly boring. But to my son, it was an adventure, an experience all in itself. He wanted to stop and investigate every marking on the concrete, every leaf on the ground was exciting, and every person he saw drew his attention. He'd trip over a stick, catch himself, and pick up the stick to understand it a little better before moving on. He didn't really understand why we were there, so he wasn't in much of a rush to reach the destination. He wasn't even aware there was an ultimate goal. He was just enjoying the trip.
We definitely could have made it into the restaurant much sooner, had we walked right in without stopping. But I would have denied my little boy the chance to learn and experience the little things along the way.
If our only goal is to make it to the "finish line," whatever that may be, then we will miss all the little experiences along the way that make life new and exciting.
Life is full of detours. Some we take, and some are unexpectedly thrown our way. As long as we are different, we will have different detours, and they will occur at different times in our lives.
Depending on what you feel is the ultimate goal or "finish line" for your life, you may look at someone else's life and feel like you're running behind because it seems they have reached all of your goals ahead of you.
Don't get caught up trying to run someone else's race. You won't win.
The goal is not to finish the race of life in first place; the goal is to finish YOUR race. Period.
It isn't as much about getting there quickly, as it is about continuously moving in the right direction.
Keep moving. Be persistent. Get back up every time you fail. Take a detour or two, but keep moving in the right direction. Re-evaluate your course from time to time, but don't compare your results with someone else's.
II Corinthians 10:12 says, "...but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise."
If you find yourself in a waiting period, a time of life that seems mundane and boring, a period of practicing patience, remember that is part of the process. Reaching a goal is not always quick but is often slow and full of learning and stumbling along the way.
Luke 21:19 says, "In your patience, possess ye your souls." (KJV)
Another way to think of it is, "Stand firm, and you will win life."(NIV)
In those moments when you may fall prey to comparing your race to someone else's, whether they seem to be moving faster, or whether their course just seems to be more interesting, remind yourself that winning doesn't always involve running the fastest on the most interesting course. Every course has its moments of boring and mundane. In those moments, stand firm, stay the course, and keep moving in the right direction, no matter how slowly. And in doing so, "you will win life."
Written by: Lauren Matthews Danzy