A few weeks back I had a conversation with someone about my inability to run like I used to. I’m experiencing some physical challenges post babies three and four and as much as my mind wants to run marathons and reach my activity goals (thanks a lot Discovery) my body is not coming to the party. I expressed my frustration of not being able to achieve the goals and standards I have set and this person said a pretty interesting thing.
“Why don’t you just run 3km?”
I know what you’re thinking. How profound. But this simple statement set in motion something within me. A wrestle within if you like. And it went something like this. “What is the point of running 3km? Why even bother? Will it even do anything beneficial for my body? Is that even long enough to help release endorphins? Is that enough time to free my mind? I’m a 5-10km girl, I like to run hard and fast. 3km feels like a cop out for me. What’s the point of even exercising if it doesn’t do what I think it should do?
Fast forward a week or two and with my pride and need to achieve placed firmly to one side, I went for a run this morning. 3km to be exact.
I’m telling you this because I think you may be somewhat like me. Afraid of failure. Silently competing with the social world. Needing to prove yourself and what you can juggle to make yourself feel like you count and are making something meaningful of life. It’s just a hunch but I think that maybe I’m not the only one putting off running 3km because it doesn’t measure up to our standards, expectations and what others think of us. I’m telling you this because my vulnerability is bringing me healing and maybe just maybe my own journey would speak grace and truth to yours.
The truth. I’m more concerned about what people think and what people see of me than I am brave enough to admit. And this is the sad reality, I’m possibly sabotaging my own beautiful story and life because I’m afraid of disappointing the perfect persona or the crowds I feel are watching in. But this is what I know for sure. The pressure and expectations I live with are mostly mine and largely the pain that I have carried and sometimes still carry is because I haven’t looked life in the face and courageously walked it through. The lows of life to be precise, the pain of disappointment, rejection and shame.
So I ran today. 3km to be exact. I did what I could and I gave it a good shot and I told my body it did a good job afterwards. My husband says I need to stop being so hard on myself for all that I can’t do and start praising myself for all that I can do. To tell my body that it’s done a good job in carrying 5 babies and birthing 4. That it’s done fabulously on zero sleep for the last decade. That it’s beautiful even though it’s slightly heavier than I’d like, curvier than it used to be. That my brain is more clever than ever despite the foggy haze of motherhood. That my mind has expanded and grown in wisdom and in truth. He says I should be kinder to myself. And so I ran 3km. Just 3. And I’m telling myself that this is good. It is enough for me.
I have struggled with my body image. The truth is I still do. But this is what I know for sure, I will not stay here forever. My resolve to stand upon truth has expanded in 10 years and if I’ve learnt anything it’s that love meets me on the way (Jude 1 MSG). We’ve gotta keep moving forward. We must face our pain. We must express our emotion. We must trust and trust again. We must get honest and we must, we must move forward and as we do HIS LOVE, the perfect love of God that rights all the wrongs, covers all the weakness and fulfil all that lacks, HIS LOVE will meet us on the way. On the way towards wholeness. On the way towards healing. On the way towards freedom. And so 3km is 3km forward. Forward towards the space where there is nothing missing and nothing lacking in me.
I, Jude, am a slave to Jesus Christ and brother to James, writing to those loved by God the Father, called and kept safe by Jesus Christ. Relax, everything’s going to be all right; rest, everything’s coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way! (Jude 1:1-2 MSG)