25,000. That’s a rough estimate of the number of miles I cycled in college. 12,500. That’s the number of miles I spent drafting off of the wind of my fellow cyclists. Drafting is common in the sport of cycling. In fact, it is cycling etiquette to rotate time riding in the front and allowing other riders to form a paceline behind you. It is a proven strategy that has many benefits. It helps cyclists stay in streamline precision, reduces wind resistance, and expends less energy. The key to this technique is to conserve your energy so you will be fully recharged to pull the pack when your time comes.
You take the back seat . . . and you follow.
Then you get out in the front . . . and you lead.
Each cyclist is responsible to play his or her part in the process.
Although cycling may involve teamwork in moments of drafting, it is ultimately an individual sport. It is the responsibility of each rider to pull through to the finish. Every cyclist is uniquely trained and possesses his or her own strengths. Some excel in sprints, some in long distance rides. Some have robust builds, while others are lean. Experience and qualities vary.
Such is life.
Even though our collective goal as brothers and sisters in Christ is to further His kingdom, our life experience and qualities vary, as do our callings. We are all uniquely designed by the Father. There are seasons we are chosen to lead and ones when we are to sit back, recharge and follow. But it is ultimately an individual journey, as it is our responsibility to finish well.
It is easy to get lost in the shuffle of this big, wide world. Everything is fast-paced and forever changing. I try to stay at my own pace and hone in on the gifts I possess and how it is the Lord plans for me to use them. Even still, I am guilty of overstaying my welcome and drafting for too long off of someone else’s wind. Their journey seems more exhilarating or less demanding, and I imagine my life in their shoes. I teeter between my truth and theirs, faithlessly questioning my Father.
Galatians 6:4-6 instructs us not to compare ourselves to others but to focus on our own work and its alignment with the will of God. We will be judged by our own actions and not the actions of others, thus it is our responsibility to focus solely on our calling.
I may not be the only one that struggles with this. Moments of doubt often coincide with ones of confidence. We are humans . . . we are curious beings. And because curiosity occasionally lurks at my doorstep, I have had to put practices into place to combat it. Creating a routine and adhering to it is a discipline in itself, but I strive daily to read His Word, devote quiet time to prayer, and fellowship with other Christians.
This journey called life requires balance and a willingness to be flexible. For some, as seasons change, so too does your calling.
Some are called to lead . . . others to follow. But we are all called to finish well.
How do you stay focused on your calling and refrain from comparison?