Wellness

Hard + Holy

It’s been about three weeks of me consistently getting into the gym (and by consistently, I mean 2-3 times a week – baby steps people!) and I guess you could say I feel good about it. In all honestly, talking about fitness still makes me feel a little awkward and even more self-conscious than I normally do. I’m still working to get to the root of that because at the core of it – why should talking about something that is good feel so weird?

The work of nourishing and pushing our bodies isn’t just healthy – it’s holy. This work of pushing beyond our limits and nudging our bodies to do more than they’re accustomed to is hard and holy work. While we’ve given our lives to our Creator, we tend to do a terrible job of actually tending to His creation. From the environment to our bodies, we’ve proven ourselves as not being the best caretakers.

But this year, I’m doing my best to change this – at least in my own life.

Hard + Holy

I think this idea of viewing exercise and fitness as holy work comes from a few things I’ve had on my mind lately. It’s human nature to shy away from hard things. If it’s not fun or exciting or easy, odds are we just don’t want to do it. But so often, it’s in these hard moments that we can choose to start seeing it as an opportunity to lean in to God. An opportunity for worship, even.

There have been several moments in the midst of my training sessions where everything just starts to feel awful. I’m a sweaty mess, my once in-shape body is screaming at me to stop torturing it, and I’m certain that my trainer is out to get me (kidding obviously- he’s actually very nice!). It’s there, when we comes to the end of ourselves that the Lord does beautiful work. Because where we’re lacking, God isn’t. Where we aren’t strong enough, God is. And while it may seems silly to draw a connection between faith and fitness, the simple truth is that any circumstance that requires more strength than what we feel we possess is space for God to move.

A lot of my own issues with health and fitness, I think, stem from this nagging voice in my head that tries to tell me that I can’t do something. That I’m not strong enough to create, much less maintain, new habits. It’s consistently led me to the mistaken belief that I will fail before ever truly attempting. Battling the lies that have plagued us for years is hard work, friends, it is. But recently I heard something in a podcast that hasn’t left my head either. And it’s so good.

In Lara Casey’s Cultivate What Matters podcast (the episode titled, “She Believed She Couldn’t”), Lara speaks about her initial experience with her personal trainer in a early session. She shared about how everything in her body was screaming out that she couldn’t do what her trainer was having her do but then her trainer Ray looked her in the eye and simply said, “Decide. You. Can.”

Decide you can.

What a concept, friends. How many things in our lives would change in the light of those three words?

It seems simple. Three little words. But absolutely massive when you think of the implications. We decide that we actually can do the things that we think we can’t and then when things naturally get hard and difficult…ask God to step into the ring. Ask Him to fill in the gaps. Ask Him to provide the strength when ours runs out. Ask Him to pour out and overflow in the dry areas of our lives.

This road is hard, friends. But it is holy and so, so good.

2019, Let’s Go

Happy New Year and welcome to 2019!

It doesn’t quite feel believable that it’s January 1st around here although that’s probably because it’s legit 70 degrees here in Raleigh today. Seriously.

It seems fitting, though, that today is the first day of the year and I spent a portion of it in the gym. Now, that’s obviously not all that different from thousands, if not millions, of other people but hey, I was there.

I’m beginning 2019 in a manner that I would have never thought I would – and that is with a trainer. It feels strange even saying that, like there’s this weird thing that happens when I even say the word “trainer” but nevertheless, I’ve got one. And truthfully, it was high time.

My health journey isn’t super interesting in the grand scheme of things and I’m still learning to listen to my body and become more in tune with what it needs. And right now, in this season, it needs the addition of strength training and I know myself well enough to know that I’m not going to get very far if I start out solo. Is it uncomfortable? Um, yes. My body kind of hates me. Is it awkward? Yep. But God has been showing me lately just how much I need to focus on my health in all areas (spiritual, mental, physical, etc). He’s reminding me that when one thing is off – whether it’s in my physical wellness, spiritual wellness, or whatever – it shows up in other areas of my life.

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Remember God

We say it every year, but where has the time gone?? Here we are on the downward slope to 2019 and in a lot of ways it feels like 2018 only just got started.

2018 has been a big year for me I guess, which I did kind of expect going into it. I’m in a much different place, literally and figuratively, today than I was a year ago. The beginning of 2018 had me sending off applications to grad school in central Illinois and to child life internships across the Southeast. I prayerfully sent them off, assuming that God would send me off to one of those destinations in Fall 2018. But in the Spring, I realized that this path – even though I thought I had heard the directions from the Lord so clearly – was not going to be coming to fruition. I still felt a change stirring within me and I felt the pull to look for other jobs in other cities. So, in April/May the path aligned so smoothly for me to accept a new teaching position in Raleigh, NC. It all fell into place so well and I found myself spending the summer preparing for a move from Charlotte to Raleigh to live with my sister.

 

Remember God

Summer 2018 held a lot of expectations, I admit. I created this vision of what my new life in Raleigh was going to be like as I basked in the sweetness of feeling like I was so in tune with God’s calling for my future. And I think I was in tune, even though now that I am looking at the end of 2018 and life doesn’t look anything like I thought it was going to back when it started. In hindsight, I don’t think that I necessarily heard Him wrong but I think God, in His infinite wisdom, definitely nudges towards other things that are going to serve us better. Rather than send me to Illinois for grad school – where I know absolutely no one – He sent me to Raleigh to live with my sister, where I already knew a fair amount of people, and to a job where I already knew one of my co-workers from college. I know God provides protection to all, but it feels particularly true about my walk with Him.

I’ve realized in recent weeks, as I’ve come to acknowledge this feeling of being slightly “off-kilter” and something just feeling off, I’ve realized that at some point I mixed up the feeling of being expectant and having expectations. Somewhere along the way, I shifted from being expectant and hopeful of what God was going to do through this change and transition to creating my own expectations of what He would do.

Two very different things.

To me, the state of being expectant is to release control, leave room for vulnerability, and approach life with open hands that are ready to accept whatever comes. In contrast, having expectations means that there is a set outcome that we are envisioning, rather than embracing the mystery that comes with new experiences….

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Life Lately

Hello friends! I’ve got a sort of “stream of consciousness”-like update post for you all today.

It is officially summer vacation in my neck of the woods and something tells me that this is going to be a hectic summer! Between moving to a new city in late July/early August (see this post), opening an antique booth with my Mom in the NC foothills, and closing out a another school year – it’s already been a little crazy.

When I first committed to my new job and the move to Raleigh, one of the first things that I thought about was budgeting. My next thought was about wellness. Really, it was! Ever since my family and I first did Whole30 back in July 2017 and began following the Paleo lifestyle afterwards, there are certain ingredients, products, and recipes that we have kept in our lives. Although I have strayed from Paleo a lot lately, this way of eating and living is one that I truly believe in and feel strongly about. Whole30 and Paleo taught me how to start listening to my body and to pay attention to what I was putting into it. Which brings me to my next little story…

I recently had a wake-up call of sorts with my health and it forced me to open my eyes and see just how far I had strayed from the healthy lifestyle that I once had. I was never the perfect Paleo person, but I was pretty diligent for several months! But life happens, you tell yourself that a little treat here and there wouldn’t hurt, and before you know it…your clothes are back to feeling uncomfortable and you just feel off all around.

A couple weeks ago, I went in for a physical. Sadly, I can’t even remember the last physical that I had because it had been so long and I had fallen into the practice of only going to the doctor if I truly felt really sick. I had some blood work done but rather than having a completely fine bill of health, my results showed that my thyroid levels were abnormal. That certainly got my attention.

I knew a little bit about thyroid issues but did a bit more research and realized that some of the things that I had just written off as normal for me or simply due to my work environment or eating habits were also signs and symptoms of abnormal thyroid levels. My PA wanted me to wait a week to come back in for a full thyroid panel so I made the decision that for the next week, I would eat completely Paleo. Now, it ended up not being 100%, but it was pretty dang close. When I went back in for a full thyroid panel, my results came back normal (with a more than 6 point drop).

Of course, I truly don’t know if a week of eating mostly clean foods is actually what caused the normal readings but I can’t help but think that it definitely played some role. While I am super grateful for those normal results, this whole thing is super convicting for me to get back on “the bandwagon” and keep Paleo a regular and central part of my lifestyle. In a society that paints the unrealistic and damaging picture that we have to constantly be on the move and that what is quick and convenient is not going to harm us, we ultimately have to be bold enough to stand up and say enough. Enough of mindlessly filling our bodies with junk and feeling like junk in return, enough of burying our heads in the sand and ignoring the fact that what we put into our bodies does have a direct impact on our health.

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