By Sharon Czerwien
When my husband takes our kiddos and me to a trail, I get left behind! The kids ride their bikes quickly, while my husband jogs/runs by them.
I am certainly not in tip-top shape; so I definitely have to jog at my own pace (slow!). Slow and steady have never won me any races!
There is one particular park that we especially like. It has trails that are not miles long, but someone can still take many twists and turns and repeat in a different order. As a result, it is possible to see the same people over and over again. I have heard it all from the fellow trail-blazers when they see that I am continuously lagging behind my family (and while the fam takes plenty of breaks to wait for me):
“You could always wait for them to pick you up in the car!”
“Aaaah, there you are again!”
“Run the opposite direction, and you’ll cross paths with them again!”
Two “For-Sures” from These Trail Days
1. I think it is safe to say that I will never be the fastest in our bunch!
2. Slow and steady is not a loss for me. Nobody told me, in advance, that a family race was in store!
We can find encouragement on our spiritual trail, too. Hebrews 12:1b-2a reads, “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” (NKJV, emphasis mine)
An encouraging idea to ponder is that God puts individual paths before us. He is the one who has designed our course. It is our course. It is not our neighbor’s course that God puts before me or you.
We do not need to stress about competing with our neighbor in some spiritual race. In fact, we learn in Hebrews 12 that our goal should be to look to Jesus during our course in life. We do not need to dwell on how much “better” our friend is doing. We just need to keep our focus on Jesus! He is the proclaimed author and finisher of our faith.
All that we are commanded to do in the above verses is to show endurance in our personal race. John MacArthur writes, “Endurance is the steady determination to keep going, regardless of the temptation to slow down or give up.” 
Individually, you and I can do the following things, which are sure to please God.
1. Keep our eyes on Jesus.
2. Concentrate on our individual God-ordained path.
3. Do not run in our neighbor’s race.
4. Do not give up in our individual race.
Sure, we will probably get winded in life. It will certainly be a lot easier, though, to only run where God has purposed for us. Let’s not compare ourselves with our neighbor’s jog in the park!
 John MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005), 1873.