HAVE YOU EVER RUN in a race? I’ve participated in a few of them in my life. In a race, everyone who is participating has the same goal (to win) and the conditions and the course are the same. But life is a different kind of race.

In the book of Hebrews, the Apostle Paul points out that our life is our own and it is unique to us.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2).

You can compare your life with that of anyone else, but it’s not the same. From the day you were born, your life has been different from every other person who ever lived on this earth. There is only one “you,” created by God for his purpose. You’ve had different parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends. I can easily go on and on regarding how unique you are, but what I really want you to know is that the race you are now running— your period of unemployment—is unique to you; it’s yours alone.

While there are many people who are or have been or even will be unemployed, they aren’t “you.” The danger, especially in difficult or stressful times, is in comparing our situation to that of someone else’s. For example, you may know of someone who found a job in three months while you remain unemployed at four months. If you dwell on the comparison, it will only add more stress that you don’t need.

The other challenge you’ll face is the advice others will want to give. You’ll hear things like “you should be doing ___,” “don’t do ___,” “that’s a bad industry to be in, avoid it,” “when I was looking I did ___,” and so on. Everyone means well, but the advice of others may or may not help you. Hear me on this: Be a good listener, as there may be some wisdom in what they say, but ultimately, you’ll need to pray about it, weigh what they have to say, then do what you believe is right for you. And then don’t second-guess yourself.

In verse 2 of Hebrews 12, the Apostle Paul gives important direction on what we should be doing every day, but especially on this journey: “fixing our eyes on Jesus.” As you move forward, look to Jesus for direction. You won’t know what path to follow if you don’t look to him.

Your life may be changing, but God isn’t. He’s there to love you and help you through the changes along this journey.

This week’s blog is an excerpt from How Long, O Lord, How Long? Devotions for the Unemployed and Those Who Love Them , By author Dale Kreienkamp.

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