Run Your Own Race, Not Your Neighbor’s

August 18, 2017

Though this post mentions God, we at the Thinking Moms’ Revolution want to be clear that this website does not endorse any particular religion. TMR’s founding members are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and atheist. We welcome people of all faiths (and no faith) here, and we think this post has some terrific advice for people of any religious persuasion.

I love to meditate, quiet my mind, be still—whatever you may want to call it. I do this so I am better able to hear the still small voice of God. Some may call this intuition. I do this as often as I can. I depend on this guidance and seek it out, but you know on those days, those hard days when you feel defeated in every area, those are the days when I need to quiet my mind more. But those are the days it is so much harder to push back all the noise in my mind so I can hear clearly.

On one particular day, a couple years ago, I was struggling intensely. You see I have a son who has been diagnosed with mild/severe autism and severe expressive and language disorder, and on this particular day, I felt like a complete failure as a mom. I was comparing my son to others. I was comparing myself to other moms. I thought for sure I was doing everything wrong. I was distracted by all the negative opinions and looks from others. My mind was filled with doubt, fear, frustration, and confusion. I couldn’t find that deep place of stillness, but I knew I needed to. So I kept pressing in—that is what I like to call it when it is harder for me to quiet my mind and connect with that still small voice—that deep intuition. My mind became quiet and then, there it was, the guidance I needed that would forever change me as a mother. I listened intently as it unfolded within me.

Abby, everyone is running a race in this journey we call life. Picture yourself on a track running the race I have called you to run. Do you see yourself running around the track? Do you see the spectators in the stands, some cheering you on, but most of them are commenting in some negative way about the way you are running your race with your son? 

Every single person has spectators as they run their own race in life. What is happening right now within you is that you are listening too much to the negative spectators. You care too much about how people view you as a mother and how they view Shia as your son. You feel as if you need to explain to everyone why you are doing what you are doing and why Shia is the way he is. You are trying to make them understand why you are running the way you are running. Stop doing that! 



What you do in that very moment is you stop running the race completely to go up to the stands to talk to these negative spectators. Do you see the danger in this? You will always have people in your life that have something negative to say about your race. Their purpose is only to distract you, to cause you to stumble, to make you feel like a failure and bring feelings of insecurity, to make you feel defeated and weak, to cause you to fear and doubt, to make you feel frustrated, even angry at times, and ultimately to take your focus off the race I have called you to run. I want you to ignore them and keep running! Or if you must, give them a shout out as you run past them that lets them know you are not concerned or affected by their opinions or thoughts and then just keep running.  The only power they have is the power you give them. When you focus on them you are giving them your power. 

As I sat in that moment of stillness pondering these thoughts, I felt more guidance coming to me from that still small voice.

You also often struggle with comparing yourself to others and comparing Shia to other children. Again, picture yourself running on that track. You are running the way I have called you to run right? There are times you feel completely confident in how you are running the race as a mother and how Shia is running his very own race, but then something happens. Instead of staying focused on your race, you find yourself looking at the person running next to you.  You become so focused on how they are running and how their kids are running that you completely lose all motivation to keep running the race I have set you and Shia on. You wonder what is wrong with you? What is wrong with Shia? You think your race isn’t fair and you long to be running their race. You become so insecure and you start trying to run the way they run, thinking that will make you and Shia better. What happens when you have thoughts like this is you switch lanes and get in theirs, and you pick up Shia and put him in a different lane as well. Do you see the danger in this?  I didn’t call you or Shia to those races. I didn’t equip you for someone else’s race. I equipped you for yours, and I equipped Shia for his.

Comparing your race to others is just as bad as focusing on the negative spectators. It is very unwise to compare because it will cause you to become distracted. You will stumble and feel like a failure. You will become weak and weary. You will be filled with doubt, insecurity, and fear. You will become frustrated and angry, and you will ultimately stop running the race I have set before you. Do not do this! Stay focused on the race, your race, Shia’s race.  It is unfair to Shia to compare him to others. It is unfair to you to compare yourself to others. 

I have fearfully and wonderfully created both of you for a unique purpose—for your very own race. Run the race I have set before you. And know I will provide everything you need to run the race victoriously.

Wow. What an eye opener. Boy, did I need to hear that. That guidance was so powerful that I felt an immediate shift in my heart to start doing life differently. And to this day, over two years later, I am still living life differently. I am running, but more importantly, I am embracing the race that has been set before both myself and my son Shia. I have found such freedom and have gained so much more confidence in myself doing life this way.  The negative spectators are still there, but they no longer have my power or my joy. I took it back that day!

I hope this guidance that spoke so deeply to my heart, also speaks deeply to yours. Thank you for letting me share a piece of my journey and heart with you. I hope you were blessed by it in some way. Please share so others can be encouraged as well.

Be Love Give Love

~ Abby Lewis


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8 Responses to Run Your Own Race, Not Your Neighbor’s

  1. Joanna says:

    I love this! Everyone could use this reminder, but especially autism parents. And you put it so beautifully. I’ve been reading it to my yoga classes in place of a nidra. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Kathie Cool says:

    As a former runner, I sure relate to “the race”. I am 62 years old, and my daughter with autism is now 26. I’ve had (and still do) have all those feelings of doubt, fear and insecurity that you mentioned. Thank you, Abby, for reminding me to get back in my lane, and to run MY race. (And especially, to let my daughter run her race!) Kathie

  3. amastoned says:

    That’s really beautiful and inspiring.

  4. Karin Schuetze says:

    Thank you – I really needed to read this today. I find myself thinking way too much about what other people think or how people view the “race” I am on with my son. I realize when I do that, I totally miss out on the joy that can be found in the moment, in my race with my child.

    • Abby Lewis says:

      I know your struggle all too well and you are right, we do indeed miss the joy found in that moment with our child. Thank you for engaging in this post. Glad you were touched by it. Keep pressing forward in your very own race.

      Be Love Give Love
      Abby Lewis

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