I Want Abs

I want abs.

I.  Want.  Abs.

The core.  The abdominals.  The stomach.  I want it.

Have I been persuaded by the Instagram personalities on the interwebs, slyly smiling a coy grin while holding up their shirts for the world to see their perfectly tanned midsections, to invest in a waist trainer, to purchase colon cleanses, to shrink my waist to nothing?

Have I forgotten the years of battle, the checking in and out of eating disorder units because my quest to eliminate the little-to-non-existent roundness of my stomach forced me to restrict my daily meals to one Subway sandwich a day?

Let me reassure you that I could care less if my midsection doubles as a cheese grater.   I take off my shirt at the beach, not caring that when I sit I get the inevitable rolls of stomach because, well, I’m human and eat and that’s what happens to skin.  What I mean when I say “I want abs!” is that I want to be able to function, to move, to twist and turn and bend forward and back.  I want to be a human being.  I want a body.  I want a life.

In reality, abs are a muscle.  Everyone has them, so it’s pretty ridiculous to say one “wants abs.”  They are there.  We are born with them.  We will die with them.  It is a part of the body, a necessary part of the body, that without would cause one to literally keel over.

So yes, I want a body.  I want to feel the security of bending down to pick up my toddler son, knowing that I can carry him up flights of stairs.

I want a body.  I want to be able to heft four bags of groceries up the stairs without stopping because I can’t keep an upright torso.

I want a body.  I want to be able to walk around my classroom, to turn to talk with students, to engage in games and activities with them without trepidation.

There was a time when I was scared to move.  Literally, scared to do anything besides lie down.  I wasn’t sure that my frail skeleton-like body could support the weight of me doing anything other than be horizontal on the sofa.  Ironically, my quest to “have abs” left me with “no abs.”  I had little muscle.  I had little strength.  I had, well, little of nothing.

It was then, during that time when I was laying on the cushioned pillows, wondering, pondering, praying that I would be able to one day have the energy to live and move and breathe and live, that I decided I wanted abs.  But not of the six-pack variety.  I wanted strength.  I wanted a body.  I wanted a core, a solid feeling of being that could one day house a child, that could one day become a home to another human.

I wanted abs.

And many years later, almost two decades later, I was able to have the child, and then another.  My abs were able to be their protection, their shield.

And yet I still want abs.  Because as time goes on and the wrinkles around my eyes get more distinct, I realize that abs are still necessary, if not even more important.  The body is slowly breaking down.  Sadly, the ability to move, to function how I once did as a kid and young adult becomes more of a challenge.  With every year and decade that passes, it is that much more vital that I have abs.  I want a body that will sustain me to do God’s work.  I want a body that can be a light to others.

I want to have abs when I’m fifty.  When I’m sixty.  When I’m seventy.  And beyond.

So, yes, I want abs.

I.  Want.  Abs.

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Time Time Time Time Time

In a week, my husband and I will be celebrating our wedding anniversary.

Nine years.  Nine whole years.

In a week and two days, our little boy will be turning three-years-old.

Three years.  Three years whole years.

In three weeks, our little girl will be starting second grade.

Time.  It is running.  It is going.  It is stopping for no man.

Every summer I have grand plans.  Cleaning out the stacks of Shopkins and dolls in the little girl’s bedroom!  Reorganizing the kitchen!  Deep cleaning the dust that has settled on the edges of the door frames!  And every summer the same thing happens:  I run out of time.

I am a planner, I like organization, and my daughter will attest that my favorite words to her are “clean that up.”  So what happens during this 8-week period, when I have a checklist, swifter, and disinfecting wipes ready to go, yet inevitably end up at the end of the break with even more dirt by our garage door and more toys strewn about the living room?

Life.  Life is what happens.

During the school year I am so consumed with doing.  Doing planning for classes.  Doing grading for papers.  Doing emails to colleagues.  Doing doing doing doing.  By the time the first week of June hits, I am ready for a break.  I turn off my computer, erase Google Drive from my memory banks, and have a grand ole time going to the museum or romping in the ocean with the kids.  I make a list of things to do so that I will be productive (yet have fun!) during the upcoming weeks.  Cleaning.  Trying new food recipes.  Adventuring to the nearby trails.  The summer is looking to be one of accomplishment and productivity.

By week two, we are all settling into a routine, with the little girl heading off to summer school and the little man and I going to story time at the library or running around the gym’s kid’s club.  I haven’t yet gotten around to any of the household chores I dreamed up for myself to accomplish, but it’s ok.  There’s still the whole summer left.

Week three has me looking for fun (yet free) activities for the toddler and I to engage in.  New activities that ensure he is getting his fair share of outdoor time (biking!  sidewalk chalk drawing!) are difficult to come by, as by this point of the summer, we have exhausted many of the possibilities.  And the cleaning?  The disinfecting?  The swiftering?  Well, an afternoon nap sounds more enticing.  Keep those duties on the to-do list.

Week four, and I am getting tired.  Physically and mentally.  I am craving adult conversation.  I am starting to peek in my Google Drive, my work email, looking to see if I can have a conversation with some other adult, some other person who can engage in topics that are more than just about Sesame Street or Lightning McQueen.  Doubt that I can even sift through the drawers of Shopkins starts creeping in my mind.  Would it really be so horrible if I put that off until Fall Break?

Week five, I dream about my classroom.  Literally.  I have dreams about instructing freshmen on the first day of school and talking about Of Mice and Men with sophomores.  I attempt coercing my seven and two-year-old into using the baby wipes to help sweep the dust off the walls.  No such luck.

This is the evolution of my summer.

It would be quite easy to say that my summer was unproductive, my summer was a wash, my summer was wasted time.  In reality, these last few weeks have been some of the most rewarding.

I joke with my husband that it is more exhausting to be at home with a toddler than being at work (well, there is some truth to that statement), but if I didn’t have that time with him to read his favorite Planes book or wasn’t able to run alongside him as he peddled his little tricycle up our hill, I’d be missing out.  During the school year, I see my students more than I see his smiling face.  How wonderful is it that I have all this time to be present, to see his growth, to snuggle with him before his nap?

I admit that I am one to fall into the trap of letting time control me, of letting life control me.  I base my life around time–where do I need to be at this moment?  What did I schedule myself to do at this time?  Am I using my time wisely?  Major moments of my life are defined by time, and I use those markers (getting married, having kids) as a barometer.  But a barometer for what?  To show my age?  My experience?  My knowledge?  When it all comes down to it, time truly is in God’s hands.  I may put great stock and stress in the time my husband and I said “I do” or when our little boy decided to enter this world.  But what about God’s time?  What are the moments HE treasures and desires for us to experience?  Are they the same as the ones I value?  And what about the times that I see as less than or not as important?  Does he still see my summer routine just as valuable as the moment my daughter begins a new grade in school?

It’s a lesson I’m learning, how to enjoy the “being” of time and to know that life is more than clock hands ticking ticking ticking away.  Time will continue on, and unlike what Marty McFly or Doc Brown professes, a person can’t travel back in time or alter the future.  So what’s next?  Just be in time.  Just be in life.  Savor the seemingly mundane, the seemingly unplanned.  Remember that every bit of time here on earth is meant to reflect the love of God.

And with that, I’ve abandoned my plans of de-cluttering my home.  I have thrown out the to-do list.  I am relishing these last few weeks of summer with my son.  I am living, I am being, and I am letting time keep on going.

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.

 

I’m Going Where?!

“I’m going to yoga tomorrow morning.  Want to go with me?”

The words are foreign.

There was a time in my life, like, 12 years ago, when “yoga” and “Lauren” were synonymous with one another.  Purple sticky mat and lithe little Lauren were one and the same.

I had my certain spot in the yoga room I veered to whenever I opened up the mirrored doors.

I had my select yoga gear (it was actually just a handful of ratty shirts and long pants that I reserved for asanas) that got more mileage than my beat-up Corolla.

I had my favorite postures, namely camel and forward fold, and felt a ridiculous amount of giddiness whenever approaching these movements.

Yoga was my life.  And that is no simplification.  I was a posture, the posture was me.  Funny how today when my friend and I attended a class in the wee early hours of 9am (My body creaked!  My joints cracked!), it was the first time I set foot into a studio in, oh, hmm, maybe, was it 6 months?  8 months?  My daily attendance has dwindled to a bi-annually event.

What happened?

I could say that I gave up my yoga mat because I was getting tired of doing the same postures over and over again.  I was a Bikram and Ashtanga devotee, and those of you who know those two styles of asana can attest to the fact that there is always a set flow to each practice.   Every time.  No deviation.

Part of that is true, that the rigidity of going from pranayama to half moon to backward bend and so on was making me feel complacent.  But in reality, the expectations of being a yogi were getting to me.  Seriously getting to me.  And not just physically, but mentally as well.

Some background:  I was a long distance runner for as long as I can remember and took up Bikram yoga because I needed my body to heal from all the pounding and abuse I racked up from the miles on the road.  After my first sweaty class I was hooked because I realized I was a natural yogini.  Shorter legs, longer torso, extremely flexible–I could already do the splits without much prompting and in a heated room I could do even more.  Being the perfectionist and goal-oriented person I am, I continued my yoga journey in hopes of creating THE PERFECT ASANAS EVER.  When teachers proclaimed to “let your body guide you, only do what you can do today,” I internally scoffed.  No, I was going to push the limits of my flexibility.  I wanted to mimic the Chinese contortionists fellow yogis claimed I looked like.

After five years of continuous classes, hitting the hot studio once or twice daily, I was close to achieving the “I have no bones in my body” ideal.  Full camel.  Standing splits.  Full backward bends.  Guillotine.  Nothing was off limits.  But for what?  My joints ached because I was actually over stretching the ligaments.  I was constantly thirsty because I wasn’t drinking enough water to hydrate after being inside a 100 degree room for 90 minutes everyday.  Physically, I was tired.  My body was crying out for me to stop.

Mentally, my brain was also crying out for me to stop.  My identity was wrapped around how flexible I was, how “cool” it was that I could do splits on command.  Yeah, it’s a fun trick once in awhile, but the pressure to be “that uber flexible and so amazing yogi gal” was mounting.  I didn’t know who I was apart from my purple mat.

So I just stopped.  I threw away my yoga clothes.  I cut up my yoga mats.  I cried.  And cried.  And Cried.  It felt like I was discarding a part of myself.  It was cathartic and necessary, yes, but also very similar to the purging process alcoholics go through when weaning off the bottle.  For many months after I was an emotional wreck trying to figure out what my next sports mission would be.

I tried other activities.  I saw a CrossFit video and thought Fran seemed easy, so I tried doing a pull-up and realized all I could do was just hang there.  I tried rolling around in a jiu-jitsu gi and became dizzy after warm-ups.  I felt like I was failing, failing in being a powerhouse in some other kind of sport.

That was when God showed me this:  Is my body really just for sport?  To receive medals and acolades for?  Or is my body meant for more–to honor Him, to do His will, to do His work?

It was a total paradigm shift.  Yoga was not my life.  Sport was not my life.  Jesus was my life.

So I approached new activities with no expectations, no restraints, no labels.  And you know what?  I HAD FUN.  I didn’t have to be “that super strong girl” or “the girl that runs really far and really fast.”  I could just be me.  I laughed with my husband as he tried to teach me how to put on gloves and box.  I jumped around with excitement when I was able to do 10 push-ups in a row.  I cheered with friends when I finally achieved a 1.5x bodyweight squat.  I was having fun because I didn’t need to have my sense of worth, who I am, wrapped up in a certain number, asana, or label.

And by bi-annual yoga class today?  All I can say is, it was fun.  My friend and I ended up being the only two in the room with the teacher.  We laughed during the last savasana (I know you’re not supposed to, but whatever!), we breathed into alignment with the postures, and after, we had a great lunch together and enjoyed one another’s company.

It was fun.  It was grand.  I got to hang out with a friend, work on my spinal alignment, and basically spend some time just being me.  Have I already signed up for my next 90 minute asana session?  No.  I have no idea when I’m going to another class.  Maybe next week?  Maybe next month?  Either way, I’m entering that room with no expectations and no asana bar I have to reach.  It will just be fun.  Pure fun.

Where My Friends At???

We were the band of four.  Kari, Kathy, Anna, and me.  One was a long-limbed swimmer with a cute button nose.  One was a book worm intellectual who always greeted others with a huge smile.  One loved to laugh and play video games until the wee hours of the morning.

We were a band, a quartet, a bond of girls who were just beginning to learn what it meant to be young women during the eighties, a time of fluorescent hypercolor shirts, scrunchies, and Balloons shoes.  During those formative elementary school years, the four of us were inseparable–recess time found our gang huddled by the big tree near the cafeteria, pulling bark pieces from the massive trunk or hanging upside down by our knees on the monkey bars, hair falling like cascading waterfalls toward the playground’s red dirt.

We were a band.  But then seventh grade happened, and I journeyed off to Aiea Intermediate while the other gals traversed to Highlands Intermediate.  Initially we attempted meeting up on the weekend for Pearlridge outings or made plans to catch a movie once a month, but eventually, the phone calls between the other gals and me became fewer, the meet-ups less frequent.  By the time we graduated high school we rarely spoke–this being before the internet was popular and social media enabled constant interaction between individuals clear across the globe–yet it was ok.  There was an unspoken acknowledgment that we had grown apart, that the mere fact that we were not attending the same high school or constantly seeing one another in classes or on breaks was the root of why we were no longer a band.

It was ok.  It IS ok, because that is life.  There are seasons when we are close to certain individuals, invite them into our homes, break bread with them, and talk with them for hours, and then when that season passes, it is ok.

Right now, I’m going through a transitional time.  The seasons are changing.  My relationships are altered.  I desperately long for the friendships I had in the past yet also know God has some great relationships with others waiting for me in the future.  Last night at our small group Bible study, we talked about one such friendship I had that abruptly ended almost a year ago.  A year ago.  365 days.  I still don’t feel quite resolved in the issue despite all that time elapsing, and even though our disagreement occurred almost twelve months ago, my heart does ache for the days when that friend and I would plan ice cream dates or walk around Ala Moana window shopping.

Why???  Why do I still feel this sadness even though the other gal has evidentially moved on from the fractured relationship?

It’s not that I don’t have pals.  I have many other friends:  I have a best friend in the form of my husband, I have great love from my children, I  hang out with co-workers, and I strike up a conversation with fellow gym goers.  Why would this lost friendship mean so much to me?  Last night, while talking with my fellow Bible study members, God showed me one part of the answer:  I fear what she and others think about me.  Because the ending of the friendship was less than ideal, I worry that she may have a negative thought on who I truly am.  Whereas in other relationships that ended because simple geography led us to not be around one another (example:  my band of elementary school friends), I am still confident in the fact that they don’t see me as “bad” or “mean” or any other negative adjectives.  But when a relationship ends with a fight?  Eek.  My mind starts to go crazy imagining what she may see me as.  A crazed lunatic?!  A neurotic liar?!  An irresponsible adult?!

I know that ultimately Jesus is the one relationship that I should prioritize, and that I really shouldn’t be worried about what other people think about me (These words of wisdom are from my husband, by the way.  I don’t know how he does it, but he DOES NOT have that people-pleasing attitude in him).  But I do worry.  And what it boils down to is that I still have insecurities about myself.  If I were truly confident in who I am in Christ, SHOULD those imagined words, those hypothetical ideas of what others think about me impact me so greatly?

No.

With Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms incredibly popular, I was able to reconnect with my old band of elementary school gals.  I “like” their posts of wonderfully pictured food, their pictures of the beach, and snapshots of their kids.  We may not have the same closeness as we once did thirty years ago, but it’s ok.  It IS ok.  Jesus has been showing me that the time we spent playing soccer in my family’s living room and prank calling the neighbors during late night sleep-overs (I know!!  Horrible!!!) are a part of my past, and that past is not meant to be recreated but instead should be honored for what it is, a part of ME.

I am on a journey, and in actuality, it’s not a journey to mend the old friendships so they can be how they once were.  Sometimes, relationships were meant to help form a person, to inspire her, to lead that individual towards another road in life.  On the flip side, sometimes, relationships are so fractured they can’t be put back the way they once were, and that is ok too.  It is incredibly challenging to accept that fact, that what was in the past cannot be changed, but it is something that God wants me to realize.  Why attempt to recreate what once was when there is so much more grandeur waiting ahead?  I am on a journey, a journey of moving forward with the confidence that God has great relationships with others in store for me.  The first step of this journey?  To find fulfillment and joy in the band of people He has placed and will place around me.  And you know what?  So far, it is ok.  It IS ok.

 

The Finale is Not the Finale

The dust has settled.

Grades are inputted.

The classroom is cleaned.

Meetings are done.

The school year has officially ended, and with it, one of the most challenging years in recent memory has finally come to a close.  Done.  Finished.

When others asked me if I was ready for summer to begin, I’d normally nod enthusiastically and exclaim, “YES!!  I am!!!”  The coming of June brought with it the promise of sleeping in late (well, 6am is late when the kiddos normally jump on our beds at 5am) and being free to spend the day frolicking at the beach or park.  June was within my reach, and now that it is finally here, I ACTUALLY MISS SCHOOL.

Let me explain.

Lets go back to one year ago.  Ever since I subbed for a fellow AP teacher two years or so ago, I really wanted the opportunity to instruct seniors in English, AP specifically.  And so with my Department Head’s graciousness, I was given the opportunity to teach one section of the rigorous class this year.  I spent last summer day dreaming about dissecting Othello and T.S. Eliot with the students, engaging in lively class discussions on the thematic elements of Things Fall Apart, and reading pages of engaging literary analysis about Holden Caufield.

But then the school year started, and I was drowning.  The time it took to prep for three classes was overwhelming, and without going into details, many other conflicts in and out of the classroom occurred.

It was a perfect storm, really.  Adding on teaching an additional English class (AP English Literature, mind you) to the already hectic mix of advising a senior class (which meant I was helping organize the annual senior trip, graduation, baccalaureate, and other random events), planning my normal English 9 and 10 courses, and attempting to keep my family, church, and lifting life also thriving was ridiculous.  So by December, I was already looking forward to June.

And now that June has finally arrived, I wish I could go back in time.  My Department Head and I had a grand conversation this afternoon about the elements of this last school year that were great and those areas in the classroom that can use improvement.  Through our talk I realized that those instances when I felt like I wasn’t “doing well” were actually times of growth.  Personal development (yeah, I know that’s a clichéd, catch phrase kind of term) is cultivated during times of trial.  How can I improve in teaching, my relationships with others, in the path God has placed me on, if I don’t ever feel like I’m failing?  How can I actually be a more effective and efficient teacher if I never become vulnerable and open my eyes to those areas where I need correction and redirection?

Those moments in January when I felt frustration and anger welling up inside of me because of something a student or co-worker said?  I now see how God was using those moments to show me where I can grow in patience and understanding.  Those times when I doubted my ability to effectively teach a grammar concept or book theme?  I now see how God was using those moments to make me reliant on Him and not my own knowledge and intelligence.

Being a self-proclaimed perfectionist, my not feeling in control of what was happening during this past school year was insanely irritating and frustrating.  There were many nights when I’d complain and complain and complain to my husband about a myriad of school-related issues.  But you know what?  It was during those times when I DIDN’T have things all figured out that I was actually growing–as a teacher, a co-worker, and a follower of Christ.

So summer, I’m glad you’re here.  I look forward to the time I get to spend with my son at the park and the mid-day lunch dates with friends.  But summer, I also can’t wait for the next school year.  I am eagerly counting down those days until August 1st, when the start of the new semester begins, and I can actually share how God grew me in these past nine months.

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.