After persistent pleading, I finally agreed to play Mario Kart with my daughters. Our teenager had asked us to purchase the video game at the end of the school year, so they could enjoy it during their summer vacation. I was reluctant, since my plan was to spend the summer enjoying fun outdoor activities, while cutting screen time to a minimum.
Thanks to endless rainy days, my summer plans didn’t stand. Needless to say, there are only so many activities that a mother can come up with indoors.
That’s how I found myself with a Wii remote control in my hand, trying to figure out how to play my girls’ new favorite game.
The game is pretty simple. You hold a certain button on the remote control, which helps you accelerate, while turning the control to avoid walls, other cars, and – every so often – dark abysses.
The screen is split in two, so that you can watch your opponent’s race as well.
In the first several attempts, I did not have to do much to find myself hammered against walls, falling in abysses, and ending in last place. Mom was certainly having a hard time adapting to the oh-so-sensitive remote control.
But after playing the game for a while, my hands became steadier and my stats started improving.
As I realized that my little car had finished in fourth, then third place, my competitive spirit kicked in and I decided to get ahead of my opponents.
That’s when I started playing with one eye on my screen and the other on my daughter’s race.
I wanted to know her placement.
I had to see what extra powers she had acquired.
I tried to copy her moves.
And every time my eyes got off my lane, my race, I watched my little car plunge into an abyss, or hit a wall.
So long as I kept my eyes on my game, my car ended pretty well. Not first place — but not bad for this Atari generation mom. But the moment I decided to pay attention to the other cars in the race, I would lose my place and fall behind.
The popular video game made me think of something that I believe has become increasingly challenging in our society.
In this era of social media and reality TV shows, where we find ourselves comparing our not-so-glamorous lifestyles, inexpensive summer plans or struggling relationships to the Joneses on the screen, I believe many of us are crashing and burning, simply because we don’t focus on our own race.Many of us are crashing and burning, simply because we don’t focus on our own race. Click To Tweet
Whether comparing our bodies, children, marriages, jobs, friendships or ministries, we are living at a time of social distraction, where the grass seems always greener on the other side, and we often fall in the trap of pushing our way into someone else’s lane.
As I browse through my journal for the past year or so, it is evident that God has been working on this very issue in my life: “Stay focused on your race. Do not compare. Do not copy others. Just listen to My prompting and follow Me.”
Just as my thumbprints are unique, so are God’s plan for my life. My neighbor’s race was never meant to be a standard by which I measure my own success. Her fingerprints are hers. So is her race. God’s timing for each story is unique to that person’s readiness to fulfill their destiny. We must not forget that.God’s timing for each story is unique to that person’s readiness to fulfill their #destiny. Click To Tweet
May God help us stop wasting precious time and energy comparing ourselves to or mimicking others. Rather, let us concentrate on doing our very best on the lane God gave us to run. For then, even if we do not finish first, even if our journey is not as rich and full of applause as someone else’s, all that matters is that we finish our exclusive, individual course, and finish it well. That’s true success, not necessarily as the world views it. It’s success – God’s way.
This article was originally published in Patricia’s Column for The Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) on Saturday July 8th, 2017.Struggling to stay focused on your own race? Constantly comparing yourself to others? Read this! Click To Tweet