Sweetest Success

Emily Dickinson had it right.

Success IS counted sweetest by those who neer succeed.

Yesterday, I was death.  I woke up with an ache in my lower back and was feeling a bit warm.  The norm, considering it is summer in Hawaii, I am 38 years old and old age is slowly creeping up on me.

But my stomach.  I didn’t know whether to vomit or sit on the toilet.

So I did a little of both.  For the next two hours.  And I still had my little two-year-old to take care of.  I called my mother-in-law to see if she could watch him while I got a few hours of sleep.  She was going out to lunch and wouldn’t be at home.  My parents were in Las Vegas.  My husband was working.

I almost started to cry.  Almost. But then I stopped, took a deep breath, and prayed:

LORD, PLEASE HEAL ME.  NOW.  PLEASE.  LET ME BE FILLED WITH YOUR HOLY SPIRIT AND BE HEALED.

And you know what?  My little toddler boy fell asleep for a nap!  For 3 hours!!  And you know what else?  My husband finished work and took the kids to Ala Moana and BJJ class!!!  And I slept 12 more hours!!!!

Needless to say, I woke up this morning sans body aches, stomach in tact, and feeling, well, pretty good.

Now what does my 24 hour bout with the flu/cold/illness have to do with Dickinson?  It is this fact:  one really is unable to grasp the grandness of what she has until it’s gone.  And then in those moments of desperation and emptiness, she can say that in fact, yes, things were pretty grand.

Health is one of those things we take for granted until it starts going downhill.  Flus and colds that diminish us to beings wrapped in blankets, laying on the bed, unable to eat anything make us appreciate the time we could go about our daily business without a second thought.

School is another.  I sometimes wish I could go back to college, where the only job one really has is to learn.  Imagine that!!!  A person is purposefully devoting all of his time to reading, discussing, engaging, learning!  When I started my freshman year of college, I was livng in the inner cities of Los Angeles as a USC Trojan.  I loved the campus.  I loved my student fellowship group.  I loved the hustle and bustle of the city.  But health issues hit, I moved back to Hawaii, and ended up graduating from UH-Manoa.  Now don’t get me wrong, UH is a wonderful institution as well, but knowing all the cultural experiences, relationships, and growth as a student at that California campus I could have had there makes me a bit wistful of the time I did spend in LA.

And the kids.  Ah, the kiddos.  I really do love my two kids, no favorites here.  But when I look at my youngest, I remember how a year or so prior to his delivery, I was bawling on the sofa, having just miscarried what I believed would have been our second child.  You can’t believe the emptiness and desperation deep within my core after having the joy of “Yay, I’m having a baby!” be replaced with “God, why take this child from me?”  It took awhile to come to terms with the fact that we would be a family of three, and then low and behold, a blessing occurred.  An ultrasound showing a little bean with a beating heart.  A little boy.  A family of four.

Success is counted sweetest.

Success IS counted sweetest.

So what to do now that I am fully recovered from my flu/cold/illness?  What do I do now that I graduated with an English degree from UH? What do I do now that we have a wonderful husband, daughter, and son?  Do I remain trapped in the doldrums, looking at what was lost and not focusing on what is?

Sadly, I do tend to do that at times.  Just for a minute.  I think it’s natural.  We wouldn’t be human if there weren’t times of discomfort, sadness, and pain.  God created us with feelings and emotions, and to try to hide them or say they don’t exist is basically saying He didn’t know what He was doing when He formed us.  The danger lies if we remain in that depressive state, only thinking of what once was.  Because you know what?  Something great, something grand, something absolutely wonderful could be just around the corner.

24 hours later, I am feeling like the Lauren of old.  Heck, I’m even able to type out this blog post.  So what am I going to do?  Go out and play with the kiddos.  Enjoy a dinner with the family.  And praise God for the sweet success He has given to me.

 

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A Mother’s Life

Flashback to a few days ago.  Friday.  May 11th.  It was a normal morning, hectically getting the little girl and boy into the car before 6:30am, hectically battling traffic to drop off my daughter at school, and hectically running around before the first bell making copies and sending emails.  But this was a special morning.  This weekend would be a celebration of sorts.  Mother’s Day.  And so with this national holiday looming, during our senior homeroom, I asked my students what the best piece of advice their mothers gave them were.

Crickets.

The majority of the eighteen year olds answered that their mothers never say anything to them other than “Didn’t I tell you to clean up?” or “WHAT are you DOING?”  The other teens said that their moms would give them the occasional nod of approval followed by a “Good job!” or “I love you.”  It was then that I stopped the conversation and mentioned that ACTIONS can also be good representations of advice–despite the fact that “words of wisdom” denotes that a person must say something profound,  an individual’s deeds can also impact another.

I then went on to detail how my mother grew up not going to church, and in fact, flat out refused my pleas to attend a Sunday service.  Although only in elementary school, I instinctually knew that there was a “higher power” somewhere, and I wanted to learn more about who he/she/it was.  But no, my mother was adamantly against any kind of religious service, and that was that.  It wasn’t until my mom was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer that she began frequenting Moanalua Gardens Missionary Church and eventually became a strong follower of Christ.  Throughout her spiritual transformation, my mom never said to me, “I now love Jesus and am going to do everything I can to follow Him.”  No, in fact, she rarely spoke in such blatantly obvious words about her faith.  What she did was SHOW me how much she loved Him by attending weekly prayer services, reading her Bible, journaling daily, and basically LIVING out the word of God.

I started telling my homeroom about all the ways my mother showed her love for God, and then came to the story about my mother when she was at in-home hospice care.  It was in the middle of summer, right before my second year of college, and I was slated to go on a two-month long missions trip to China.  But my mother was sick.  Actually, more than just sick.  She was ashen-faced with a hollowed stomach from not being able to eat much, and spoke not much louder than a whisper.  I battled in my head whether or not to still remain on the China missions team, as I knew going to Asia would most likely mean I wouldn’t be there when my mother passed away.  I asked my friends and the leaders of the team what to do:  stay or go?  I was internally conflicted, and wasn’t sure if I should board the plane or not, until one afternoon when I sat on the bed next to my mother, held her smooth hand, and heard her say these words:

“Go.  Go to China.  You are doing God’s work.  Who am I to stand in the way of what Jesus wants you to do?  Don’t worry about me.  My mansion is already waiting for me in Heaven, and I can’t wait to be with Jesus.”

It’s hard to write this now, even decades after that fateful summer day when I looked into my mother’s crinkled smiling face, without feeling the tears start to form at the corners of my eyes.  It’s because my mother’s advice, her “words of wisdom”, gave ME LIFE.

Do what Jesus wants you to do.  My mother showed this idea in her actions and her prompting me to go to China further solidified that my life is not contingent on what others want or expect of me–my life is based on what Jesus wants for me.  THAT idea of focusing on Jesus has carried me throughout all of life’s mountains and valleys.  Now when I look back on my day, I realize that all I am meant to do, whether it be teaching Shakespeare at school, making sandwiches for the kiddos, or lifting some weights on the platform, all of it is done for Him and not my own validation.  And when I look at my children’s grinning faces, run into my husband’s loving arms, or laugh over dinner with my close girlfriends, I know that Jesus is using me in some fashion to do His will in their lives.  How amazing.

As I told this tale, I could see that my homeroom students became much more alert, much more thoughtful–and I sat back in amazement because even though my mother passed away so long ago, her words, her wisdom, her life, are STILL impacting others.

So as this Mother’s Day draws to a close, I just want to say thank you.  Thank you, Mom, for giving me life–not just any life, but for giving me life in Christ.  And thank you, Mom, because your life in Christ, your words and actions, and your love for Jesus, are still living on as a testimony of what it means to be a true disciple of His.

 

I am dense.

I am dense.  Really, I am.

 

My husband likes to joke that public school kids have more common sense than private school graduates (that’s up for debate, by the way), but I truly am dense.

 

Sad to say, but no amount of great college prepatory education could make me any more aware, any more knowledgeable about Jesus and His plan for my life.  I love learning.  I love being informed.  And yet, there is one area of my life—my walk with God—where I am truly dense.

 

I try my hardest to “undense” myself.

 

I pray every day to hear from God.

 

“God!  Show me what you want me to do!!!  What is Your will?!?!”

 

Crickets.  Silence.

 

Or so I think.

 

Could it really be that God is truly speaking to me, but I just don’t hear (or am unwilling) to hear Him?

 

Many times, it takes a big whack on the head or some kind of major upset for me to then realize “OOOHHHHH, that was God all along.”

 

For example, my broken left wrist.  Way back when Misha was a little toddler, still running around with chubby little legs and drooling over mashed peas, I decided to enter the Honolulu Triathlon.  What propelled me to do it?  Well, Kyle was going to do the race and my competitive spirit was lit.  I hadn’t rode a bike in well over a few years, I rarely swam, and was much more invested in my work as a yoga instructor and personal trainer.

 

And yet, I wanted to enter.

 

Sadly, the biggest (and only) reason I decided to pay the $100-something dollars and dust off my black biking tights was to prove to my husband (and myself) that I “still had it”, whatever that “it” really was.  I was trying to force my identity from one steeped in God’s presence to one wrapped up in medals and athletic accolades.

 

I had completed a few sprint and Olympic distance tris in years past, but after burning myself out on the sport, God showed me that that type of endurance activity was NOT what He wanted for my life.  At the time, I was too obsessed over running a certain amount of miles, getting in a swim xxxx amount of times a week, and practicing my biking technique since I was still very new to the art of balancing on two wheels.  Instead, He wanted me to find my self-worth in Him and not my split-times or age group distinctions.  So I gave up the sport and felt pretty at ease with it.  Until the Honolulu Triathlon reared its’ ugly head, and with it, my competitive and self-absorbed ego.  I felt God urging me not to do it.  For what?  Why?

 

But I ignored His voice, and I did it.  I dusted off the old Huffy (I didn’t even have a road bike—my husband was using the only one available), ran a few laps around the neighborhood before the race, schlepped myself to the pool a few times, and deemed myself ready.  Obviously, God was speaking to me.  Loud.  And.  Clear.  It was a small voice at first, that voice that seems like one’s conscience saying, “Uh, maybe you shouldn’t do this race.  What for?!  Do you really need to?”  As the date of the event came closer, that voice got louder and with it, this uncomfortable, unsettling pit of fear grew in my stomach.

 

“It’s just pre-race jitters.”

 

But then the day of, I knew, I felt it in my core, that I should just hang up my shoes, not jump in the ocean, and sit out.  God was speaking to me, and my hands were literally shaking because I knew the right decision to make—not do the race—but was too scared to back out.

 

What would people say if I didn’t compete?  What would my husband say?  I would be a failure.  A.  Failure.

 

And so to make an already long story short, I jumped into the freezing cold ocean water, swam my 800 meters, hopped onto the Huffy, and started down the street for the next few miles.  It was during the bike portion, however, when I made a sudden turn because SURPRISE!!! I was going the wrong way on the course, that I fell off my bike, breaking my wrist in two areas.

 

God spoke to me that day not to do the race.  He spoke to me the days before when I looked at my bike and thought, “Darn, hope I don’t fall off during the race.”  He spoke to me weeks before that when I’d stare at the rubber wheels and ruminate over how I am very inept at riding.  He spoke to me when I signed the waiver to register for the race, my eyes glazing over the fine print that “one could get seriously injured from the event.”  But I didn’t listen, and so God had to majorly intervene and do SOMETHING to grab my attention.

 

Back then, I was dense.  It usually took a big sign to make me realize what I was doing and what God wanted me to do were not always in agreement.  But slowly, surely, with each passing day that I’m journaling and meditating on His word, I am becoming more sensitive to His spirit.  I have been praying for revelation, for His will to be made manifest in my life, and you know what?  He hasn’t let me down yet.  What is His speaking to me like?  It’s a nudge.  A feeling of peace.  The calmness that invades my spirit.  I’m learning more and more to trust Him, which is challenging because like I mentioned in other posts, I am a creature of habit and control.  But I’m tired of being dense, and I’m tired of breaking bones.  It’s turning my “I AM dense” to an “I WAS dense.”  I love that I can hear the soft nudge of His voice, recognize it as His, and follow through.

 

It’s liberating.

 

It’s freeing.

 

It’s living a life of faith.

 

Freeing faith.

PASSION

Inspiration.  Motivation.  Discipline.  Passion.

 

I hear these words a lot when I’m at the gym (case in point:  the guys with the bulging biceps yelling, “GET SOME!!!” while their friend’s face twists into grimaces of pain as he curls dumbbells equal to half my body weight) and see them in action even more whenever I scroll through my Instagram feed (for example, the memes of a svelte runner glistening with sweat as she traverses up a rocky mountain with words like “STRONG IS THE NEW SEXY” plastered on the bottom of the picture).

 

But what do they actually mean?

 

I recently listened to a Revive Stronger podcast where Dr. Mike Israetel spoke about the difference between these nouns.

 

  • Inspiration—It is fleeting. It rears its’ head when one sees an emotionally charged image (aka IG posts).  It is not long lasting.
  • Motivation—It can last a day. Maybe even longer.  It can make a person want to do something out of his normal routine.
  • Discipline—It is steeped in routine. It can be viewed as mustered up energy or will power.  It is created when habits are formed.
  • Passion—It is long lasting. It is deep rooted.  It is devotion.

 

It was in the middle of listening to Dr. Mike’s words that I literally stopped what I was doing, paused the podcast, and felt the Holy Spirt telling me, “THIS.  IS.  YOU.  WHERE IS YOUR PASSION?”

 

I am not too proud to admit that my walk with Jesus has dwindled from one of passion to one of inspiration and (at best) motivation.

 

When I initially accepted Christ into my heart, I was all in—reading the Bible for hours at a time, carrying my journal with me to restaurants, and going on mission trips and conferences were not out of the ordinary.  I loved Jesus.  I wanted others to love Him.  I desired for others to see the Holy Spirit in me.

 

Over the years the same passion I once had, that deep rooted, unexplainable zeal to break out in praise, dwindled.  What was it that led me from leading Bible studies to finding it hard to muster up the energy to attend a small group?

 

My own control.

 

I still love God.  I still call Him my Savior.  But I was (and sometimes still do) try to muster up my own will to “make” myself open my Bible and read.  I thought I needed control over, well, everything, to be the kind of Christ follower that Jesus wanted me to be.

 

Why did I think that?  I memorized all the scriptures that told how my body was an act of worship onto the Lord, and that faith without works is dead.  And so I rationalized I needed to

DO ACT DO ACT DO ACT DO ACT DO ACT.  And the only way to behave like a Christian was to have as much control over my mind and emotions as possible so I didn’t let the world distract me.

 

Oh, the irony.

 

Discipline can only do so much, and as the trials of daily life sank in (work, kids, home), my physical body became fatigued.  I was weighted down.  And so I thought maybe I was feeling this way because I needed to put forth MORE effort and exert MORE control over my time.  Couldn’t I muscle my way through waking up early to read Scripture or force myself to sit and meditate?  If I could, wouldn’t I then be able to draw closer to Jesus and reestablish that passion I once had?

 

Sure, that scenario worked great—for about a month.  That kind of discipline, setting up an alarm for 4am to read Romans, stopping playing with the kids in order to journal—can only last for so long.  Yes, doing an action over and over will eventually lead to it becoming a habit (i.e. brushing one’s teeth), but I would like my walk with Jesus to be more than just a rote exercise in reading, praying, and journaling.  I want my walk with Him to be one of passion.  Of substance.  Of inexplicable joy that only comes when I am whole-heartedly devoted to Him.

 

And really, it is passion, discipline, inspiration, and motivation all working hand-in-hand to produce a healthy, vibrant, thriving relationship with Jesus.  One of those elements are not independent from the others.  Sometimes there may be more discipline involved, whereas other instances require some inspiration.  But at the root of it is passion.  That kind of internal drive will never be extinguished and can drive a person to change his entire life.  It is that kind of passion that is individualized to meet each person where he is at.  And the best part?  Once Jesus reveals the beauty and power of that internal drive to a person, it’s mighty hard for that flame to be totally extinguished.

 

I am on the road, the road to REALLY re-discovering the supernatural passion and joy that only Jesus can bring.  My flame did not die—it is still alive but in dire need of some wood to re-fan the flame.  How will that passion grow?  Will it require me to give up many of the thoughts, actions, and behaviors I’ve held on to for so long?  Yes.  Will it require me to relinquish control?  Yes.  Will it be incredibly challenging and difficult?  Yes.  But thankfully, I have a God who has a plan and purpose for my life, and it is this plan and the promise of a passion-filled relationship with Him that I look forward to with bated breath.

The Tofurky Versus the Turkey

My life revolved around Tofurky.  Tofurky and nutritional yeast.

 

After becoming vegan four-ish months ago, I totally overhauled my normal breakfast of eggs and dinners based around rotisserie chicken.   Whereas I once ate a lot of luncheon meat (Costco turkey slices are very cheap) and string cheese (hey, I have kids who love cheese!), I instead chose to raid the Down to Earth fridges for anything plant-based that resembled meat.  Hence I went through packages of Yves fake meats like they were going out of style and tempeh became a staple in our household.  I felt somewhat guilty that I was turning to processed foods to maintain an adequate amount of protein, but I wanted this go-around, this second chance at veganism to stick.  And so I wasn’t taking any chances.

 

Vitamins?  Check.  I increased the amount of BCAAs, B-6, B-12, essential fatty acids, and a whole other amount of supplements to ensure that I wasn’t deficient in anything.  I made sure to eat tofu at every meal or snack on soynuts because I didn’t want to run low on protein.  I added flax to boost my fiber and purchased raw spirulina chips as a natural fuel source.

 

And life was grand.  I felt strong.  I felt clean.  I felt, well, pretty darn good.

 

But there was also this little voice running through the back of my head.

 

“How long can you keep this up?”

 

“Is this really sustainable?”

 

“Why are you REALLY vegan?”

 

That last question took me by surprise.  I silenced that little voice by reiterating that I was a plant-based nosher because I wanted to be healed of ailments, that I loved animals, that I was doing the ethically and morally right action by not harming a living being.

 

But in truth, I was hurting a living being.  Myself.

 

Day by day, with the more tofu, PB2, and mixed nuts I consumed, the more I realized that I was actually not healthy.  I looked the picture of health, and in fact co-workers would remark on what a “good” lunch I had because I nibbled on rice cakes with peanut butter and dipped cucumbers into hummus.  But in actuality, I could feel that my physical body was (sadly) once again becoming tired.  Very.  Tired.  It didn’t help that I was also training to compete in my first weightlifting meet so my output demanded a very intense input calorically speaking, and all the nutritional yeast I sprinkled on salads and all the avocados I ate couldn’t keep up with the fact that my body wanted more.

 

It occured to me one day while I sat picking at a salad, staring in disgust at an IG photo of a person’s lovely chirashi bowl, a fresh array of brightly colored ahi, salmon, ikura, and uni all atop a bed of rice, that I was sick.  My body was tired.  My teeth wanted to sink into something of substance.  But more importantly, my spirit was unwell.  I was judging someone on IG, and judging him negatively, BECAUSE HE ATE FISH.  FISH.  There are worse crimes in the world to have committed—murder, adultery, theft—yet I was discounting an individual because he decided to buy a plate of seafood.

 

The gravity of this revelation astounded me.  It literally made me stop shoving kale down my throat, put down my phone, and ask God, “Really, God, why am I vegan?  Should I still be?”  His answer was clear:

 

No.  It’s because of your pride.

 

If I were really honest of myself, I wanted to be vegan to prove that I could “do it right”, that with this second chance at veganism, I could prove all the haters incorrect and show them that a plant-based diet can be successful.  Don’t get me wrong—there are numerous veggie lovers out there that can thrive eating only food grown from the ground.  But their motives for opting for beans and rice versus chicken and steak may be vastly different than mine.

 

Little by little, God was revealing to me just how prideful I really am.  Whether in the classroom, with my family, or even with Him, it’s hard to admit, but I want to be right.  I want to know that my opinion is correct.  The realization that I can be at fault is something that is challenging to accept, but I need to know this.

 

I am not perfect.  I cannot do everything perfectly.  I should not live up to anyone else’s standards, just God’s.

 

So as I sat there, salad in front of me, phone in hand with the IG picture staring at me, and I told God that ok, I admit it, I cannot be vegan.  To continue to buy Tofurky and Lighlife faux hot dogs was not in His plan for me.  But to admit my shortcomings, to embrace that I may be physiologically different than my husband and other veggie eaters, to acknowledge that even if I munch on sashimi I am still a valuable and loved individual, those are things I can do and that He wants me to do.

 

Since receiving this revelation I have incorporated eggs, dairy, fish, and seafood back into my daily diet.  Maybe chicken will be in the future too, but I’m not sure.  All I know is that I cannot let what I eat dictate who I am because in truth, my identity lies in God and not in the food on my plate.

I. Did. It.

I did a thing.

Yes, I did a thing.

I like to say that it was “for fun”, but not many people would imagine donning an unattractive black singlet and lifting weights over one’s head while a crowd of onlookers stare as “fun”.

But that is what I did.  Two days ago I competed in my first weightlifting meet.

I am no stranger to competitions–yoga asana, powerlifting, musical performances, I have participated in a range of sweat-producing, anxiety-creating events.  But this was the first time I ever weightlifted in front of a crowd.

For those who don’t know, weightlifting, aka Olympic lifting, consists of two different movements:  the snatch (barbell goes from ground to directly overhead) and the clean and jerk (barbell goes from ground to shoulders and then shoulders to overhead).  Watch actual professional-types do these lifts (like the wonderful Alyssa Ritchey, Morghan King, or Sarah Robles), and it is fluid, graceful, elegant, and, well, just plain awesome.

Watch me do these lifts?  Ahem.  It’s obvious I need some more practice.

But you know what?  I don’t mind saying that although I am nowhere near the caliber of those grand athletes, I am pretty darn proud of what I did do.  It feels odd to say that, as my total was nothing of extreme noteworthiness.  I weighed in at 46.4kg and did a 33kg snatch and 41 kg clean and jerk for a total of 74kg.  Some lifters in my 48kg weight class clean and jerk what I totaled.  Eek.  But I had fun, and that is what I am the most excited about.

Don’t get me wrong.  The flury of butterflies in the stomach warming up for the day were having a grand ole party, and my hands shook a little as I went to chalk them for my first attempts, but all I thought in the midst of stepping onto the platform and grabbing the barbell was “Thank you, Jesus for this awesome opportunity.  Thank you.”  Because in reality, I am still learning the ropes, I am growing in my understanding of what it means to participate in a weight class sport, and I am seeing the beauty in unfurling the mysteries of the first, second, and third pull.

Jesus has given me the opportunity to make wonderful friends through the sport, and He is also revealing how weightlifting is a lot like life:  commitment, patience, perseverance are all needed to become the best athlete possible.  Rock-star status doesn’t emerge overnight.  And much like life, there are ups and downs, but one must have faith in the process, faith in her coach and support from teammates to overcome the rough times.  How wonderful it is that Jesus is enabling me to learn these lessons through weightlifting.

So yes, I had fun.  I got a medal.  I made new friends.  I picked up the barbell six times and got green lights for all six attempts.  I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful way to spend a Sunday morning.  Now to look forward to the next time I get to don that ugly black singlet…

I Missed that Freeing Faith

When I initially started up this blog last year, I did so with the intention of documenting my journey to a healthier body, mind, and spirit.  Cliched and corny?  Yeah, a bit.  But I was at a very deep low.  I had just seen a picture of myself at a friend’s wedding, and the site of my sinewy legs, thin arms, and sallow cheeks made me cringe.

 

 

Granted, I wasn’t as emaciated as when I was in the depths of anorexia recovery, trying to claw my way out from being 88 pounds.  But I was definitely too small, too fragile, not ENOUGH to support the training I was doing and stress I had with family and work.  So I asked God to help me.  To help me gain the weight I desperately needed.  To help me cut down on the amount of exercise I was doing.  To help me seek Him first and His plan for my life.

 

And I felt free.

 

The ability to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted felt inviting and like a gift.  It was almost as if God gave me a wonderfully wrapped present, and every day I awoke I literally tore open the bright wrapping and thought to myself, “Yum!!!  What will I eat today!!!  Pancakes?  Bacon?  Yum!!!”

 

Life was surely grand.  I ate.  I rested.  I ate more.  I rested.  Rinse and repeat.

 

But sure enough, I started to fall back into my old ways, my old habits.

 

I dug out the Renaissance Periodization diet templates I bought from long ago, and rationalized that I needed to gain weight, but in a “healthy” manner so as not to gain too much fat.

 

I upped the intensity of my training (reps and sets and poundage all went up) because in order to “get swole”, I needed to also train for hypertrophy.  If not, all the food I ate would immediately turn to fat.

 

I traded rest days for active rest days and strapped on running shoes to put in a few short miles on the dreadmill (that’s not a typo, by the way.  Dread.  Mill).

 

And the freedom I initially experienced, the wonderfully wrapped gift God had for me, started to diminish, the ribbon on the present wilting and falling apart.

 

There were moments when the light of God’s love and His renewing faith shone through the mess of macronutrients, number of repetitions of bench press, and grocery lists for the week.

 

I meditated on Psalm 23 for seven days straight, three times a day, and felt the warm touch and embrace of my Father–but as soon as I stopped seeking His word for healing, I turned to my RP template to give me comfort (controlling my food=controlling my life).

 

I listened to wonderful speakers during our school’s Christian Emphasis Week and left the daily chapels empowered and motivated to seek God’s love.  And then I’d head to the gym for an extra body-building type session and forget (well, more like ignore) the things He was calling me to do (and let me tell you, He wasn’t telling me to do 5 sets of 20 of tricep extensions).

 

Eventually I recognized these issues, the avoidance, the fact that I was falling back into old routines that were unhealthy both for my body, mind, and spirit.  But what happened then?  Was I able to find that freeing faith again?  If so, how did it happen?  What about now?  Am I still lured by the call of my RP template and barbell training? So many questions to answer, and so rather than make this post a 15 page book, I’ll share more about this on my next post.   🙂