Sometimes I fall silent here because I feel that I have nothing to say – and other times I fall silent because I have so much to say that I can’t seem to put any of it into words effectively. Now is one of those times. I’ve written a thousand posts halfway in my mind, and finished none of them … perhaps because I’m not quite sure right now how any of them need to end. Or perhaps because I feel that there’s nothing I have to say that really truly matters or would be of value enough to add to the trillions of new words added to those that bombard us every day. In other words, I struggle sometimes to think that my voice has a place.
So I sit here tonight, wondering the same, and yet knowing that my words need to find a home … and wondering if just maybe there’s someone out there whose heart will be encouraged by them.
I’m a go-getter. A perfectionist. A people-pleaser. A rule follower. Determined. Disciplined. Organized. You get the general idea.
But there are two areas in my life where all these qualities seem to evade me at every turn: diet and exercise. I don’t know why and I am not sure that I ever will. I just know that as much success as I’ve had in other areas of my life is as much failure as I’ve had here. I’ve tried various things off and on … some of them actually successfully for awhile. But therein is the rub: for a while. I am 40 and haven’t yet found something that will get me to my goals and I can stick with indefinitely.
I was doing really well for a long while, starting in late January 2014. Between then and last October, I actually lost 52 pounds, started exercising 5-6 times a week (and loving it), and even ran my first 5k. Slowly, but I ran. What I was doing was working. It was manageable. And best of all, it truly felt like something I could sustain indefinitely.
Then I had a couple of things happen personally that really threw me for a loop, and then next thing I knew, I started to slip on some of the habits that had proven successful. The first thing to go was my eating. I stopped tracking what I was eating every day. Then I started to give in to poor choices and eating my feelings instead of dealing with them and moving on. Only then did my exercise begin to slip. Oddly, I had committed to run a half marathon in April with one of my best friends and I stayed on track with that training right up until a week or two before the end (when my body started falling apart). But I did NOT stay on top of strength training or even anything beyond my required runs each week – and my body rebelled as a result. We did the half marathon – on a Sunday morning in April that poured rain non-stop. It was brutal. Miserable. And beautiful. I can’t describe the emotion of that moment.
But as wonderful as it was and as proud as I am of that day, I wasn’t ready for it and I pushed too hard to get there. So the moment it was over, I found myself lost. I no longer had my habit of 5-6 workouts a week to ground myself with, and I was burned out with running. So what did I do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Which leads us to today, when I stepped back on the scale expecting to see that I’d gained back about 15 pounds. If only. Instead I found myself staring at numbers that said I’d gained back 35 pounds. Yes, 35. All that work, all those hours, and I am still hanging on to only 17 of them. I can’t describe the disappointment, the anger, the devastation of that moment.
Even now, a few hours later, I sit here wondering how in the world I allowed myself to slip so far – even more how I managed to deceive myself so effectively about how far I’d slipped.
But I know this: I’m not done, and I am not giving up. Here I am tonight. Beginning again. Again. And you know what? I’m going to keep doing it for as long as I need to.
Because if I’ve learned anything about myself and my life on this journey of ups and downs, I’ve learned that even though it’s far from perfect, life is beautiful and I want to keep living it for a long time. And I deserve to do just that.
Where are you struggling today? Where do you feel that you have failed? My friend, rest assured today that our Heavenly Father is a God of second, third, fourth, and many more chances. Relax in the knowledge that you can do it. Keep your chin up, dust yourself off, and give it another go. And while you’re at it, leave me a comment and let me know how I can pray for you – it would be my honor to support you on your journey, whatever it may be.
Let’s try again tomorrow, shall we?