I've always abhorred running. Like truly despised it. But, as last year neared an end I looked into the mirror and dared to dream a new dream - to "reclaim" my body.
After having three beautiful babies in seven years and feeling a God-given sense that our family is complete, I no longer saw my body as an incubator in transition to clothe in whatever was cute and fit at the time but mine to be what I wanted it to be.
The idea was both exciting and completely frightening. To accomplish this goal would require a new level of accountability and demand that I step outside of a comfort zone that I'd somehow created for myself.
I knew I needed to get out of the shell of my postpartum body and be healthier for me, for my husband, for my children, and, most importantly, for my God.
A couple years ago I joined a gym with some money from a writing contact. In my head it was my gift to care for myself but the honest truth is that I chose a gym with no contract because I really didn't think I would follow through with it. Telling myself the kids have never been in daycare and wouldn't like the playroom, I was giving myself an out before I even started.
Much to my surprise, they loved it and so did I. Monday through Friday I'd go and walk the treadmill, ride the bike, use the weights, etc. And, I continued the pattern until the day I delivered baby girl number three. But, when she was finally old enough to go to the kids room flu season was in full swing and she hadn't had her shots yet. Then she got a respiratory issue and the protective mama in me continued to wait. Far. Too. Long.
Until I heard God whisper Your body is not your own, remember? Treat it like the Holy Temple it is. (1 Cor 6:19).
It is a verse I reference to my girls all the time. "You only get one body and the Lord made it with care so you have to treat it right," I preach when they should rest because they are sick, or want to eat more candy instead of fruit. etc. It isn't about the number on the scale but the wholistic care of the one body we get.
And I was failing my own message.
So back I went...again fearing that Ava wouldn't like the kids room and again happily surprised that she loved it. However, as the sweat began to fall I'd slow myself down. The old routine wasn't good enough. Something needed to change.
I'm pretty sure the last time I ran a measurable distance was in elementary school when I was required to run the mile for the physical fitness award and that does not conjure up pretty memories. I made it and somewhere in my mom's storage is a jean jacket with a bunch of patches sown on it. Doesn't that scream cool? :) Oy. But my primary memory is the teacher hanging out at the finish line screaming, "Hurry up! 30 seconds. 15 seconds. 10 seco..."
Still I downloaded the couch potato to 5K app on my phone - not to run a race just to properly build endurance - and bought myself a sweet new pair of kicks
That made me smile merely by looking at them and off I went.
I'm happy to report that since sharing my goal I'm half way to meeting it. There was a little hiccup when I went from the free lite version to having to restart when I bought the paid for version but that is okay because I honestly still approach each new week with some element of fear. I nervously look to see how much longer it is going to make me run before the voice comes over my phone to relieve me with walk time. But, I miss it if life situations force me to miss it. Shhh...
And this one little step in caring for myself and my own identity first is coming full circle in living out the Bible verse. When I workout I honestly crave healthy foods rather than chips and salsa. I want water rather than pop. And, even more, time away from my kids is making me a better mom when I am with them. When I take the time to care for myself, He has time to fill me with Himself and out of that I have more to give my kids. I'm more patient. I have more energy. I'm more excited each day. So, when I look in the mirror, I see a better me.
One of the most challenging things for us to do as mothers is to set aside giving time to our kids to give to ourselves, but what the Lord has revealed to me is that in gifting ourself we gift everyone around us in the process. So, grab a good book and head to the coffee house, go get a pedicure, attend a women's conference, or join me in logging miles at the gym, but do something for YOU.
Never forget that you are a Holy creation, completely loved and totally unique. Treat yourself as such.
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