These shoes. Ugh! I have a love-hate relationship with them. I can’t decide if they’re friend or foe!
I’ve been trying to get back in a groove of running since I was sick last month. I’m still a touch congested, but I figure slow running is better than no running, and I can build myself back up.
I didn’t really want to run this morning, but I made myself get out there. It’s gorgeous out there today. I’m off today. I don’t have any commitments until this afternoon, so I really had no excuses.
Besides, my shoes were in the hall taunting me.
“If you would just use me, you wouldn’t have to buy bigger clothes. You’d lose that weight easy-peasy.”
“If you were just more disciplined about putting me on EVERY DAY, you’d shed those pounds you gained when I was stuck in the closet.”
“Helloooooo! Are you ever going to put me on, or do you want to be unhealthy your whole life. Don’t you know heart disease runs in your family?!”
So I laced up. About half way through my first mile, I was chased down by a German Shepherd. And when I say down, I mean down. I backed peddled, screaming like a little girl the whole time, until I tripped over my feet and fell down. And it was right on top of me growling.
Thank God it’s owner came out and nothing happened, but my adrenaline was sure pumping. The owner apologized. And under the power of that adrenaline rush, I started running again.
It wasn’t until it wore off that I realized I jammed the shoulder I had just hurt last week tripping up the stairs. But, being the driven, OCD, I-have-to-finish-so-my-shoes-stop-taunting-me person that I am, I kept running until the pain was just too bad.
All those taunts…..they really aren’t from my shoes. They’re me. In my own head. Unhealthy and unrealistic thoughts. Pressure I put on myself.
They aren’t lies, necessarily. But they’re true’ish. In no way am I overweight. I may have actually been a bit too thin before BUT I gained enough weight that my clothes aren’t uncomfortable.
And one month of being off exercise because of being sick with the flu and congestion does not make me unhealthy or at risk for a heart attack in any way. It just means I needed to rest my body so it could fully recover. I was still active. I just wasn’t running.
And then I thought of all the other areas I do the same thing. The unhealthy pressure I put on myself.
“You have to be there for everyone!”
“You didn’t pray 2 hours today. Shame on you!”
“What? You only got through 5 verses of your Bible reading today. I guess you’re in for a bad day.”
“Your house doesn’t look perfect! You didn’t make your bed today and there’s dishes in your sink and dirt on your floor. And let’s not even look at the windows. Shameful! It’s a disgrace!”
Hello? Am I speaking anyone’s language?
It’s okay to be motivated to be healthy and exercise. To want to lose weight even. To strive for a clean house. It’s okay to read your Bible and pray every day. I endeavor to do just that.
But when you’re DRIVEN to the point of stress, which makes most people edgy and not so fun to be around, you might need to take a step back and re-examine things, like I did.
To be honest, I’m more refreshed on the days I read 5 verses and really get something of Him out of it than the days I read 5 chapters just to get through them.
And I find I am just refreshed on the days I pray on the go instead of early in the morning. You’re still drinking from that same river of life.
But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him]
Will gain new strength and renew their power;
They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun];
They will run and not become weary,
They will walk and not grow tired. (Isaiah 40:31)
It doesn’t say those that read 5 chapters a day will renew their strength. It doesn’t say that those that spend 2 hours first thing in the morning in prayer will renew their strength.
It’s those that wait on Him. Trust in Him. It’s the ones that rise up close to Him and drink from those rivers of living water that flow so freely in His presence, which is always with us, that are strong.
Relax. Take the pressure off. Don’t let the shoes taunt you. Or the dirty dishes. Or the unmade bed. You’re the one in control here.
In fact – today I chose not to make my bed to prove a point to myself. True story. And I feel very liberated about it. Life is still happening, and it is GOOD!
Stop with the unrealistic expectations of yourself. You don’t have to be driven. Let the River carry you, and you’ll get done what needs to get done and He’ll carry all that stress.