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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Seasons

Sorry for the lapse in postings.  I was shocked to log on and see my last blog publication was February 2, very nearly a full month ago.  I would like to say that there is a very good, noble reason for this, that I have been in Africa feeding orphans or something, but that isn't true.  The truth is:  I've been obsessed.  With what, you might ask?  With running, I would reply.

Have I mentioned I'm an addict?  I believe it has come up a time or two.  Well, as any good alcoholic or drug addict will tell you, you are never really healed from addiction.  You are just in recovery.  As such, you are liable to latch on to anything at any time and become completely absorbed by it.  It will be what you go to bed thinking about and the first thought on your mind in the morning.  It could be a substance, a person, religion (yes, religion, not to be confused with God Himself), a computer game, whatever.  We are like pit bulls when it comes to this stuff... we latch on and may never let go.

So lately for me it has been fitness.  I have become obsessed with the idea of being fit again.  It is not my first go round with this particular obsession.  Before my babies were born, I was on a fitness kick too.  In those days all that you were likely to find in my refrigerator were super-foods, protein shakes and vodka.  Yes, I am well aware that vodka is not healthy and I was aware then too.  Alcoholics are not rational beings.  I would awaken while it was still dark outside, hung over from the night before but bound and determine to lace up my running shoes and knock out three miles or so.  I drank flax oil, straight, by day and scotch, neat, by night.  I was thin as a rail, strong as a horse, and sick, sick, sick.

In the past I have used the memory of how selfish and sick I was in my running days to avoid exercise.  I would tell myself that it was better if I carried the baby weight forever rather than going back to that mindset.  But I was avoiding the fact that it's not an "either/or" proposition.  That perhaps I could be healthy, inside and out.  God began awakening me to this idea a few months ago and sometime around about February 2nd, I latched onto it.

God has been talking to me a lot about seasons.  That just like that famous portion of Ecclesiastes there really is a time for every purpose under heaven.  (And, yes, I have a The Byrds song in my head now.)  My first season of motherhood was a marathon of faith, taking care of my wonderful sick little Eddie.  In so many ways, that was a mountaintop time for me.  I knew who I was, who my God was, and what my purpose was with crystal clarity.  After Eddie was gone, I mostly just felt like I was going through the motions, all of my energy focused on being a good mommy to my two little ones, hardly even taking the time to pray.  God assures me this is okay... He was healing me emotionally.  After that I went through a season where I spent every precious moment I could with Him but also ate copious amounts of chocolate and ran only when chased.  This too is okay... I was building up spiritually.  So now He has placed the desire on my heart to get my body in the same shape as my spirit, to look as strong on the outside as I feel on the inside, and I'm a little excited about that.  Okay, I'm a lot excited.

Because I'm not running alone anymore.  Not only are my kids usually along for a ride in the double jogger, but I'm talking to my Savior with every step that I take.  I'm praising Him for every milestone and even for the days when I hit a wall, because I know He is keeping me humble.  He's blessed me with wonderful enablers... old friends and new who share my current addiction and who are happy to talk about IT bands and fartleks and such without a single eye roll.  I'm having so much fun and feel happy, healthy and whole.  God is so stinking good I can't stand it.

So I know this season may not last.  I know there will be harder days ahead, but I know I'm going to go into them strong, in body, mind, soul and spirit, and that God will see me right on through.  So I'm going to enjoy this crazy, obsessive season and pray that God keeps me balanced, that it be more about Him and less about me no matter what.  And that He help me run the White Rock half marathon this year.  Just half, Lord.  And in less than three hours... Amen.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

FAIL

Let me give you a brief sketch of who I would like to be.  I would awaken every morning, before dawn and before my kids, to spend an hour in complete silence, prayer and meditation.  I would then do an hour of yoga until I was as flexible as a bendy straw or one of those weird foam curlers that was popular in the 80s.  My children would awaken to the smell of a healthy, all-organic breakfast baking in the kitchen.  After breakfast and morning routines, we would have at least a few minutes of enriching Montessori-like play in my extremely organized playroom before we began the day's scheduled activities.  Their lunches (and mine) would be packed in bento boxes with extremely cute themes.  Our afternoon would be divided into blocks of sensory play, Bible study, imaginative play, etc until it was time for me to cook our healthy, organic, preferably vegetable-protein heavy dinner, which would be hot and steaming on the table at the exact moment my husband gets home from work.  After bedtime, my husband and I would spend at least a quiet hour of quality time together, rich in conversation.  I would also sew, knit, bake my own bread, visit local farms for produce and practice intentional random acts of kindness.  Oh, and I need to fit in those three mile runs every other day.

Now, maybe there is someone out there who just read that paragraph and thought, "That's me!"  I'm trying not to hate you right now.  Because my life looks nothing like that.  I wake up when one of the kids smacks me enough times in the face to actually rouse me.  I then shuffle into the kitchen to make coffee so my brain will work.  I usually do feed the kids healthy meals but I'm woman enough to admit that there is a box of Fruit Loops in my home and it might or might not have been what my kids had for breakfast today (but with coconut milk so that makes it healthy, right?)  I'm in a god-awful rush on preschool mornings and hardly have time to smear PB & J on some bread before we are out the door.  My playroom is kind of the whole house and there are stuffed animals and toy boxes full of junk just sort of scattered willy-nilly about the place.  While my kids enjoy lots of undirected free play in this way, it has been several months since I actually busted out a sensory box.  Dinner is most likely something out of Betty Crocker's 1-2-3 cookbook and involves a can of non-organic something or other and non-Angus god-knows-what-fed beef from a regular old grocery store.  I don't sew unless you count buttons.  Can't use a pair of knitting needles.  I do bake my own bread but not nearly as often as I would like and I have yet to visit a local farm... ever.  I ran for the first time in three weeks yesterday...one mile and it just about killed me.  And as for quality time with the husband, I'm usually in bed about ten minutes after the kids go down.  I'm a mess.

I'm beginning recognize, though, that being a mess isn't necessarily a bad thing.  If I were exactly like that wonder woman I described in the first paragraph, I would be so pleased with myself no one in their right mind would want to hang out with me.  I would be intolerably smug (though with a heart for those poor, lesser mortals out there feeding their kids Spaghetti-Os and calling it a night).  I would have no friends.  And worse, I would have a severely stunted awareness for my need for God.

Because I fail, massively and regularly, at the things I try to do.  At becoming the person I envision myself being in my wildest daydreams.  It reminds me that the flip side of "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" is that I can do precious little without Him.  I can accomplish what He wants me to, even if it's running a marathon, but if the basis of even my least ambitious endeavor is selfish pride He's going to make it hard on me and I'm so, so grateful for that.  Pride is bad and easy to fall into.  I want to be humble because I want to be close to Him.  So, maybe it's okay that I'm not Jillian Michaels, Mahatma Gandhi and Martha Stewart rolled into one big (freakish) ball.  I'm beloved and that is better.