I began to scroll through and instantly my eyes went to a picture of me and all I could see was the bad hair day I was having and the lumps that made up my arms. Don't let "lumps" fool you because it definitely wasn't muscle I was looking at.
I normally don't have an issue with my body. Actually, I cannot remember the last time I looked at a scale and truthfully, the number on it, even though it fluctuates, has never bothered me past my first experience with postpartum.
But this picture brought up so much more than the "lumps" on my arms.
For so long I've been focusing on the inside. I've been working hand in hand with Jesus to pull all the darkness out and live in the light. I've literally placed my full self out, laid it on paper and examined what needed to stay and what needed to go. But let me explain that a little further.
I am NOT pure nor am I perfect. In fact, I'm broken to my core, but I needed to accept that fact and realize it's okay to be broken. I needed to look at myself from the outside in and see that everything I was striving for was wrong & I needed to change my thoughts. Fast.
For example, people pleasing. If they didn't approve, neither did I, no matter the cost. I remember sharing my heart openly at ReGroup, a 12-step program at our church, and I remember spilling out all the fears I had of not being enough, for them, not having the right things to say, for them, not doing the right things, for them, and how these fears swallowed me whole. "They" became my "why" and I was missing the whole point.
But I've learned to accept broken and actually embrace it. We're all broken. We all have a story, fears, and heartaches. I can see that clearly now. It's what ties us together and binds us as a family. We are all walking the same hard road but it shouldn't be done in shame. I took out the darkness, i.e. people pleasing and allowed Jesus to put in the light, i.e. the ability to love every broken piece, mine and yours.
And while I've been so focused on my heart, I've forgotten my health. Truth be told, the only time I truly care about my health is when I'm pregnant. HA! Usually, that's the only time I see a doctor unless it's for contacts because I'm blind, but that sort of had to change after the boys. We thought I may have had an underlying blood condition because I semi-hemorrhaged with Maddie Lu and then full on hemorrhaged with the boys, and I should have lost my life. But after I was cleared from that, praise Jesus, I decided to get a physical and start over. I saw my doctor a few times and while we were going over my physical she asked, "How often do you work out?" I laughed and looked at the floor. "When was the last time you went to the dentist?" I laughed and looked at the floor.
Why is it that I can schedule all these doctor appointments for my children while making every single practice or dance class they have, and I still seem to miss the mark for my own health? Isn't it true that my children need a healthy mom to care for them? And yet, I fail to give myself time at the gym and instead soak up my time being tired and overwhelmed. I fail to give myself time to go to all the necessary check-up's and instead set myself up for unchecked boxes at my yearly physical.
I have so many friends that workout and/or coach for Beachbody, and I literally stalk their posts, feeding off their encouraging words. I let their highs fill mine. There's something about seeing them work out that places a fire in my soul. I want that.
Two days ago I made a deal with not only myself, but God as well. What's the point on working on the heart when we're missing the chance to work on the whole self? There was a time I used to work out daily, and I remember always feeling so great all around. Two days ago I found myself overwhelmed with anxiety and hurt. I wanted to run. I longed to run. I wanted to run off all the pain, all the hurt and escape what was surrounding me. So I grabbed my mat, I only had twenty minutes until Maddie Lu had dance class, I put on my shoes, stood in front of my computer and filled the screen with cardio workouts I had pinned forever ago. I ran. I jumped. I crunched. I felt sweat for the first time, in a long time, and I felt a release of so many emotions I bottled up. I felt good. I felt healthy.
For lent this year I had a hard time deciding what to lie down for 40 days. Facebook is usually my go-to, but this year that didn't feel like enough. Just withstanding from something wasn't enough. So I chose to give up chocolate, enter all the sad faces here, and pick up a workout each day. During these workouts, I plan to pray, not only to get through the workout but just to allow myself the opportunity to meet Jesus there, to allow him to start working on the full-self vs. just the heart. Instead of feeding off my friends' highs, I'll feed off of my own.