Running the Wrong Race

Oh, Facebook. How I love thee…and loathe thee.

There are so many good things about social networking and I’ve seen how beneficial it can be.  At the same time, I’ve unfortunately also seen how it can blur my vision, mess with my heart, and bring discontentment and insecurity to my mind.

Especially when it comes to being a mom.

Think your kid’s a good sleeper?  Don’t worry…if you look at Facebook enough, you’ll find someone else’s that sleeps way better than yours.

Trying to be frugal with your money?  Don’t get too cocky…there’s bound to be a picture up somewhere of a table covered with food and toiletries that someone else only spent $1.27 on.

Amazed by how your baby is growing?  Scan through some Facebook albums or statuses and you’ll find someone else’s baby that is plumper and weighs pounds more than yours.

Happy that you’ve had a productive morning?  No doubt you’ll find a status update from a super mom that has been up since 5 AM and completed more tasks than you’ll complete all week.

Proud that you’ve planned out a simple, warm meal and have it on the table for your family?  Don’t worry…there’s a picture out there somewhere of another mom’s 4 course meal made from their own garden.

Confident in the decisions you’re making regarding your child’s nutrition and health care?  It won’t take much to find a blog or link to a website that will tell you’re doing it all wrong.

Trying to lose that baby weight?  Look no further than Facebook and you’ll find someone else who is back in their pre-pregnancy jeans within 4 weeks postpartum or carves out the time to do P90X every morning.

And we secretly stew and envy and fret in an unfair and unnecessary comparison game.

We long to be validated.  Appreciated.  Right.

We want to know that we’re doing a good job. Succeeding at this parenting thing.

Or is it just me?

Our Toby has been a decent sleeper since he was born.  No major problems.  Somewhat by the book.  Easy to handle.  But still far from controllable or predictable.  With a little prodding from us, he had recently started sleeping a 7 or 8 hour stretch at night before needing to be fed again, waking up later in the morning, and getting back to taking good naps.

I’m not sure if it was the heat wave or belly problems or just a stubborn little boy, but the past few days had felt like we’d taken quite a few steps backward.  And unfortunately I let discouragement and anxiety creep back in.

One morning after an “off” night and during one of Toby’s unusually short naps, I plopped onto the couch and began my complaint to Toby’s Creator.  In those few quiet moments of stillness, God interrupted my rant.

Megan, this is not a competition.  

What?  I know that.

Do you?  If you do, then why is this bothering you so much?  

Okay, maybe I need to be reminded again…

This isn’t the first time I’ve realized the dangers of comparison, but I forget about it more than I’d like to admit.  I let silly things like sleep bother me so much because I’m comparing my baby to someone else’s.  When he doesn’t sleep well, a dozen Facebook statuses or conversations flash through my mind from moms whose baby’s were doing better than mine.  If I hadn’t let the comparison game get to me, would I even know or care that Toby still wasn’t sleeping through the night?  If I hadn’t seen a Facebook status about someone’s baby taking marathon naps, would Toby’s 45 minute one bother me so much?

Perhaps there was a part of me that DID see it as a competition.  One that I seemed to be losing.

“…Rather train yourself for godliness, for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

1 Timothy 4:8

My dialogue with God continued…

My child, this physical, tangible stuff has some value, but godliness is really what I want you to be after.  THIS is what should be valued and praised and what will really matter years from now.  Meg, you’re running the wrong race!

Yeah, I know it’s my job to raise a Godly man.

It’s not just you raising a Godly man.  I’m raising a Godly YOU.  I didn’t just give Toby to you so that you can shape  him; I gave him to you so that he can shape YOU.  To help you surrender your selfishness and desire for control.  To bring you to a deeper dependence on me and a spirit of contentment. To humble your prideful heart.  To love unconditionally and full of mercy and grace.  I want you both to look more like me.  

“For THIS end we toil and strive…”

1 Timothy 4:10

Oh, wait.  This is about me again?

Run the race of pursuing godliness and stop looking around.  When you look around too much it slows you down and steals your joy!

“…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…”

Hebrews 12:1-2

My mind went back to our beach vacation last month.  At least once a day, Isaiah and I would go for a walk on the beach together.  We’d talk and look for shells or stop and watch the surfers…but what he enjoyed the most was running.

The boy loves to run and often wants to race. During one of our “walks” one particular evening, I asked Isaiah where he was racing to.  His response was simply, “back to where I came from.”

Back to where I came from.

I was struck by his words then and was again that morning on the couch.  That is what I’m racing for, isn’t it?

“…godliness…holds promise for both the present life and THE LIFE TO COME.”

Some day I’ll be back where I came from.  And I’ll stand before the God that Created both my boys AND me.  I have a feeling He won’t care much about at what age my babies started sleeping through the night or how nice my house was or what size jeans I was wearing.  More than the temporary validation of others “liking” my Facebook status, I long to hear HIM say “Well done.”

Father, forgive me for when I don’t fix my eyes on Jesus.  For when I let the temporary demands of today distract me from what really matters.  For when I make this thing called motherhood a competition rather than a journey to godliness.

For when I’m running the wrong race.

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6 responses

  1. Adam is right, you should write a book. God has created us to please Him only. When we try to please others or compare ourselves to others we can bring stress into our life that was never meant to be. The holy spirit will lead us in all things if we let him. I look back on being a parent. I made mistakes and I now realize God was using many godly people to shape the lives of my children. I have learned so much from Brad and Lynn. What is more amazing is that there was only one Christian parenting book. God remained faithful. So thankful that God wants me to play for an audience of one and He is so faithful.
    Keep writing you inspire me!

  2. I do it all the time Megan! And then i praise God for giving me my pukey, no nap, adorable son! 🙂 thanks for yOur sweet reminder!

  3. Pingback: This is Not a Race! | Redefining "Good"

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