I was at church, sipping a latte in the lobby and watching parents wrangle their little ones -- getting them to Sunday School classes, answering questions, coordinating snacks and sippy cups and diaper bags. And as I watched, I felt young, despite my 36 years. Am I really an adult, without those responsibilities? Aside from two furry dogs, I have no one depending on me for the essentials of life.
Then I thought back to my own heartbreak and pain and sorrow, and the growth that resulted from that. These parents -- are they truly adults if they have not dealt with that? If your illusions have not been shattered, if your heart is still in one undamaged piece, if you have not had the experience of longing for something for years without receiving it in spite of soul-wrenching prayer, can you really be a grown-up?
God nudged me, and I remembered: there is nothing to compare. Hebrews 12:1 admonishes us to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us." That means that God has a path marked specifically for me, and it doesn't work to try to run a race marked for someone else. He didn't prepare me for some other person's race. He equipped me for my own event. The run is hard sometimes, but my Father is there to encourage me and help me. Being on the path God chose for me can be hard enough. How much harder would it be if I decided to be on a different road? Sure, it might look better or more exciting, or maybe it looks easier or more grown-up. But from here, I can't see the pot holes or narrow passages or detours that make it all wrong for me.
It is my job to run the race God has for me, focusing on my own performance in this experience. Not to wonder about or wish for someone else's race. Each one of God's daughters has her own course to maintain. Thinking about each other's road will only get us off track. God provides to me the experiences I need to grow closer to Him, and he provides you the experiences you need. Because the Lord created us to be unique, our lives must also be unique, and that is by design. God didn't use cookie cutters to create us.
He fashioned you to be different from everyone else. Your path will be just as wonderfully individual.
A life-long Hoosier, Karen spends her time running, reading, writing, knitting, and rolling her eyes at her husband's bad jokes. She blogs at Oldfangled.net.