Friday, August 16, 2019

Put your big girl pants on.

I’m learning a life lesson I never thought I’d have to learn. Stick it out. I didn’t think I’d have to learn this because I’m a responsible human being and DUH, I finish what I start.

Except when I don’t, which, as it turns out, is often. Commitment, apparently, doesn’t come naturally and easily to me. I’ve always been a beginner of projects... not a finisher of them. I grow so frustrated with myself- “can’t you just finish something?” I hear the accuser roar of the things I haven’t done, and I know them well- and a thousand more... When the initial excitement wears off and the tedium sets in, the project finds its way into the basement. I don’t ever throw it away. I just focus on something new. 

I worried this would happen with my barbell and plates, if I’m being honest. I worried that they’d eventually become just a heavy reminder of “that time I was into lifting.” For the past two weeks, since testing my max, I haven’t touched my equipment. I’ve been playing Insanity videos in the kitchen (pausing them for a break way too many times). I’ve hardly gone into the basement at all. I went back and read my recap of testing my 1RM: “You spend so much time on something and it ends abruptly, without the outcome you expected. That’s life.”

Why does it have to end, Maegan? Why throw in the towel when the fight has hardly begun?

Can I be entirely vulnerable? As you see, I’m a serial starter. And having a fresh realization of this fact has made me question everything I thought I was. It’s one thing to find myself unable to finish the intricate needlepoint caribou Christmas stocking; its entirely another to find myself mentally withdrawing from my role as a wife and mother because it feels so unmanageable. A few months ago, I read this verse: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9.) I’ve always loved this verse; I sing it with the kids, I’ve taped it on my wall, I’ve texted it to Brian. But when I read it recently, it drove a blade of fear. I knew then that I was weary, and I realized that some give up. And I wondered, am I going to give up?

You see, I don’t stop my projects because I grow bored of them, or because I don’t want them anymore. I stop because they’re not coming out perfectly, or because I run into a difficulty I’m not sure how to surmount. Because I suddenly realize, I’m not up to this task. Why did I decide to do this? 

Hoo, boy. This was supposed to be a post about powerlifting.

Stick it out, Maegan. 

First, lean into the hard. Don’t give up, or change course yet. Find a new approach, maybe, but embrace that this will not come easily, and adjust your expectations. Nothing that is worth having comes easily. 

(At this point, I laugh that I’m spouting trite motivational quotes. It’s funny how these simple phrases can really speak to you in your moment of need.)

Second, believe that you can change. You can learn to accept less than perfect- to be comfortable with being less than perfect. (Have I ever been perfect? Oh no, but I’ll settle for looking that way.) Your marriage, your children, your relationships, your home, your body, your holidays, your traditions, your projects and endeavors- none of them will be perfect- and at some point, they won’t even look perfect from the outside anymore. Even if you took on one project- just one- it wouldn’t turn out perfectly. So stop berating yourself for every decision along the way. It’s not perfect. Do it anyway. Own it anyway. 

Finally, take a minute. Take a month. Be still. For years, you’ve been waiting for the moment- striving frantically for the moment- when everything is finally right (read: “perfect”) and you can enjoy all you have. But the harder you push yourself, the more “perfect” seems to be slipping away. And you look around yourself in frustration and disillusionment and you wonder, honestly, how much more can I push myself? For a while, that question is an open door for suggestions for changing approaches, new routines, finding new drive. But then it changes, and that question becomes an admission of defeat. I can’t push myself any harder, and it’s not helping anyway. 

I’ve had a sticker planted on my coffee maker for years: “The best never rest.” It’s been reapplied to new coffee makers after their predecessors have bit the dust. At first it served as a silent rallying cheer as I drank a cup of coffee at 9PM before heading down to the basement for a late-night workout in those post-new-baby-Mac months. Recently, it’s become an ironic reminder that the less I’ve rested, the less “best” I’ve actually become. 

Back to powerlifting. Let’s use this as a pattern for life’s bigger issues. 
I love powerlifting. I don’t want to quit.
I am resolved to not give up. 
I am not the strongest person in the room by far, but I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.
I think, with time, I’ll become stronger. 
It’s going to take hard work- but I’m okay with that, because I plan to give myself more grace along with the work. 
There’s nothing wrong with a new approach. A new approach is a thousand times better than quitting. 
I may never attain my goals. They’re lofty goals, and they seem impossible right now. But someone recently reminded me that setting “unreachable” goals allows us to make remarkable strides in their pursuit. I didn’t accomplish all I set out to do, but look at what I have done. 

It’s okay to be proud of what you’ve done. Silence the nagging voice that constantly, painfully reminds you of everything you lack. That voice sometimes grows so loud, I find myself desperate for anything to disprove it, to make it leave me alone. 

I think I am finding that anything. Slowly but surely, after many empty, exhausting detours, I am learning to silence that voice. Or rather, to let that voice be silenced. 

Be still, and know that I am God. 
My yoke is easy, and my burden is light. 
Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
Romans 8:31-39

No comments:

Post a Comment