Passed By A Pregnant Chick

On Saturdays, I’d like to focus on singles in this blog, since many who are single feel they are leading “workaround” lives. (I was a single parent for 18 years; I get that.) I’ll be sharing content here from SingleMatters, a blog I write with Marie Shepherd, and also sharing insights from other relevant sources and writers. A variation of the post that follows originally appeared on SingleMatters last April.

Have you ever participated in a “Fun Run”? Maybe it was only a few miles, to raise money for a worthy cause. There was no real pressure and you really didn’t give a moment’s thought to actually winning your age bracket.

But there you were, jostling with the other runners at the start, feeling all healthy and honorable, and you found yourself sizing up the people around you.

“I can beat her, she doesn’t look like she trained very hard.”
“He doesn’t seem very athletic; I’ll leave him before the first mile.”
“Look at her laughing and talking; she thinks she’s at a party!”
“Is he hungover? Done!”

shuffle-start-lineA friend of mine likes to run the Shamrock Shuffle, a popular Chicago 8K. Last spring, halfway through the course, he was feeling pretty good about his pace. That’s when he noticed another runner going around him with a hand-lettered sign on her back, “You’ve just been passed by a pregnant chick.”

He stepped up his pace and was wheezing by the time he finished . . . still well behind her.

Maybe you’re not a runner, but chances are you’ve still compared yourself to others. And like my friend above, it probably hasn’t served you well.

We all do it. It’s how we figure out where we fit and what we’re worth. We compare our career, our financial situation, our vacations, even how often we pray. If you’re single, you may have compared yourself to your married friends – and other singles – and privately charted your “progress” against theirs.

It’s exhausting because it’s an un-winnable game. There is always someone better or “farther along” than us, no matter what we’re doing, where we are, or what our relationship status might be. We are never enough.

Don Miller, in his book Searching for God Knows What, refers to the “Lifeboat Theory”, the idea that if a group of people were trapped in a lifeboat and someone had to be thrown over, all pretense of equality would disappear. Everyone would try to justify their own value at the expense of others in order to survive.

He explains that this is because the relationship between God and mankind was fractured by sin and now we seek love and affirmation from each other rather than God. Yet God remains the only one who can be the source of our true worth.

What if we could get our minds around the fact that no matter where we are on the human comparison spectrum, we are treasured and thought about 24/7 by the God of the universe? 

It can be hard to believe this when we’re discouraged and down on ourselves. And even when we’re feeling on top of the world, we can easily overlook God’s role in allowing us to be there.

Perhaps these steps will help make this deep Biblical truth about God’s love real for you:

Ask God to show you how loved you are by Him.  This may be challenging, depending on how you previously experienced being loved. Start to tell Him everything. If you’re new to this and find it difficult, imagine Him sitting next to you and just talk, silently or out loud, as you are comfortable.

In the Old Testament, King David poured out his heart to God. He held nothing back. As a result, the Psalms are among the most beautiful examples we have of someone relating personally and genuinely to God.

Remember that your value comes not from who you are but from whose you are.  That’s one reason singleness can be so hard. We all want to be special to someone, to be another’s top priority. And being single can be lonely.

Take comfort that you are already Someone’s top priority. You are unconditionally loved by God and He would have arranged for your redemption through Jesus Christ if you had been the only human being on the planet.

When you find yourself obsessing about your shortcomings, stop and consciously remind yourself that it is your relationship with God that defines you, not our culture, the media, nor other people’s opinions.

Pick a timeless truth of Scripture to claim as your own. A favorite of many is Psalm 139:13-14: “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Search the Bible for a verse that resonates with you personally.

When you fall into insecurities or comparison games, repeat your verse until you believe it.

And if you’re passed by a pregnant chick? Let her go. As long as the two of you are running in God’s direction, you’ll both get there at just the right time.runner from behind

What works for you when it comes to avoiding the comparison trap? If you’re single, what encouragement can you offer other singles about this? Please join the conversation by leaving a comment.

About Diane Rivers

Diane is a native Floridian whose career as an FBI Agent got her transferred to the North. She's retired from that gig now and "repurposed" as a freelance writer, author, and sometimes poet who blogs about the bumpy, bone-jostling ride of her “workaround” life. She loves Jesus, her family, black coffee, kayaking, biking, and hiking, and she looks forward to eternity with the One who will make all things beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

14 thoughts on “Passed By A Pregnant Chick”

  1. One of my New Years resolutions last year was to compare myself to others less, even if I am lapped by a 70 year old man and his 20 year old poodle. Still working on it. It’s hard not to see what someone else has and covet or despair!

    1. “Lapped by a 70 year old man and his 20 year old poodle” – what a great visual!! Comparing ourselves to others comes naturally, I think. It takes a conscious effort NOT to do so. Thanks for sharing (and making me smile!)

  2. Wow Diane. What a profound, thought-provoking post!

    I especially love this line “And if you’re passed by a pregnant chick? Let her go. As long as the two of you are running in God’s direction, you’ll both get there at just the right time.”

    I am happily single. I’m learning that being alone is different from feeling alone and that “feeling” only comes when we’re looking outward…comparing ourselves to others and not looking inward to God’s spirit within us…just waiting for us to feel and acknowledge the unconditional love He has for us.

    I truly am enjoying this phase in my life because I’m learning to trust that everything is happening as it should. I am exactly where I need to be at the present moment and I will “get ‘there’ at just the right time”.

    1. What great faith, Vernette. You have such a good attitude and I love your observation that looking inward to God’s spirit within us leads us to feel and acknowledge His unconditional love. That’s hard to beat – and explains how you are able to be “happily single”. Beautifully expressed, Vernette! Thank you for joining the conversation in such a positive way.

  3. I try to remember that I am comparing my insides with someone else’s outsides. I can’t know what they are struggling with inside – perhaps their self-esteem is worse than mine! They may have awful motivations or agendas that I don’t know about.
    I love being single. Never second guess my decisions to stay this way. Whenever I hear someone struggling in their marriage or saying they can’t do something because their spouse wouldn’t want them to, I think, “thank God I’m single!” I get to do what I want, when I want, including spending two hours each morning in silence, reading, journaling, and praying – – remembering “whose” I am, as you say.
    Single folks also have more time to serve in their communities and spontaneously help out strangers as well. So — I’m good!
    Here’s a great line. Once when I was telling a girlfriend that I liked being single except I wished I had someone to mow the lawn and take out the garbage, she said, “Get a goat – it will eat the grass and the garbage!” : -)

    1. I am laughing so hard at this one! Get a goat… perfect! It’s true, though, that we have no idea what others are struggling with on the inside or what kind of motivations they may have. “Comparing my insides with someone else’s outsides” – excellent point and so well put. Thank you for your thoughtful comments!

    2. I love it…”get a goat!” And I agree with you…we have no idea what others are going through. My mother always used to say “never envy what someone else has…because you don’t know what they had to go thru to get it”!

  4. Thanks Diane! What a great post. I often wonder why we allow a competitive spirit to shape the way we see the world. I suppose, at the end of the day, it is because we don’t much like the first commandment, and see competition as the path to the top of the heap. Thank for the reminder to let God be God.

    1. I think you’re right – we compete and strive till we’re exhausted and we seek significance in all the lesser places. If we could just be the branches and let Him be the vine, as He commanded. There’s more than sufficient life and sustenance in that!

  5. I think at the core of a lot of dissatisfaction is that we have a sense of entitlement. We think we have it all coming, but I don’t believe God owes us anything, not to mention that He has given us salvation! However, there is a strange paradox in the fact that He is God and calls the shots, yet He is a loving God that stoops low to hear our requests anyway. Its all up to Him. If He decides to bless “the pregnant chick” that I will never be, then praise Him for showing any blessing at all. I’m not perfect, but reminding myself that God is God gives humility and perspective in the “why not me” questions of life.

    1. There’s such truth in what you’ve said here. That sense of entitlement is characteristic of our society as a whole and sadly, also of us as Christians. Sometimes I wonder who we think we are/who I think I am. I love your image of God stopping low to hear our requests anyway, childish and selfish as we can be. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

Your feedback is welcome!