If you decided to run a race, you couldn’t do it successfully with unnecessary baggage. You wouldn’t wear nine layers of clothes. That would be a disaster! People who run races strip down to the bare essentials—a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and the lightest pair of shoes they can find. They don’t want to carry anything they don’t absolutely need.

You’re in a race, too. That’s how the Bible describes the Christian life—the journey to become more like Jesus.

Hebrews 12:1 says, “Let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us” (TLB).

Just like runners shouldn’t carry extra baggage along their route, you shouldn’t either. To become the person God wants you to become, you must let go of some stuff along the way.

That starts with making sure you’re running your particular race, according to Hebrews 12:1. Before you can run your God-given race, you must discard everyone else’s plan for your life.

Only you can run that race. Your mom or dad can’t run it. Your boyfriend or girlfriend can’t run it. And you can’t run anyone else’s race either. You have to run your own race.

Once you decide to run, you have to get rid of anything that drags you down. You have to eliminate the sins that entangle you. You have to get rid of the expectations (your own and the expectations of others). You have to let go of your own plans and surrender to God’s purpose.

When you do all of that, you’re telling God, “I’m ready to become the person you’ve called me to be. I’m ready for my race.”

That’s the first step to running a great race.

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