New Year; Letting go of Fear

Don’t you dare say you can’t do hard things.

#notetoself.

That’s totally me, talking to myself. Totally.

I stood in Chicago, in October, at the Marathon my daughter was running and as I waited to catch a glimpse and cheer for her,  I  watched every size, every shape, condition, age, disease, “excuse” and “fear”, run by me.

I cried. I watched amazing humans overcoming more than I could imagine. And it convicted me. I saw what believing, and showing up afraid, and just getting out of their own heads and comfort zones and fears… and just givng it a shot, trying…could look like. And it was so moving. So inspirational! Did I mention I cried?

That was October, 2018 and it’s taken me four months to type another blog post here. Because I get scared. I wonder. I over think. I fear.  If you’re into the Enneagram.. I’m a 6. (nuff said)
Here I am tho…showing up afraid. And believing more of this “marathon minded” kind of empowerment for myself. My daughter is flanked by two bestie’s in this picture and they are all #warriors. Running for a cure for Huntington’s disease. ( another story. another day. another post.)

If they can do that… If my daughter, who was never a runner, can train and enter as her very first marathon, the Chicago Marathon… then I… can start to train myself at the hard things too. I can make new habits. I can create time to show up for myself, do the work, type the words, push “publish”…

Even if I’m not sure it’s going to be great. Even if I’m not sure anyone will read it. Even if it makes my tummy hurt.

New year. No more excuse.

It’s in these small ways, we begin to change our world. I stood on the sidewalk watching thousands of people run for their “lives”… but in doing it, they changed mine. The powerful images of those amazing humans are pressed into my memory permanently.  I hope someday, you get to watch a Marathon like this one. And I pray, someday… you realize, like me, that the marathon you’re running in life… needs you to show up for it too. Courageous.  Afraid. But doing it anyway.

**********

Perhaps,

Dear Lord, this little blog can be a place for that kind of difference too. Help me show up courageous.  Help me do the work. Help me let go of Fear and in all that… Help me show “them”, YOU.

Marathons

I gotta start somewhere.

I’m sitting here just looking at a blank screen and promising myself I’m going to type something.

It’s ridiculous how my brain works when I’m just going throughout my day and thoughts pop in my head left and right and I “imaginary write” this epic response, awesome blog, perfect chapter…  only to sit in front of the computer an hour later when I “have time” … and …

Blank. (Can we insert an eye roll here please? )

Gah.

So . .. I’ve heard- “Just write”. Just sit and just write.  Just type. And get something on the paper and let the thoughts begin to flow anew.  (That’s what I’m doing here by the way… exactly what I’m doing… LOL… you may call it stalling, but seriously #sisterfriends (and some Dudes) , I”m processing… and stick with me. I promise it WILL get better. Pretty sure. This is my first real blog post here, so give me a sec. )

Nope.
Still nothing.

My stomach’s growling. My coffee is cold. My dog is snoring. There are a million things I should be doing… and to top it all off, there is a fly in here that keeps landing on my screen. I’ve named him. Or maybe it’s a her? I don’t know how to tell in flies. LOL But it’s name is Bopsy.  Cuz that’s legit, what I want to do to it.

None of them inspiring thoughts.

My husband is over an ocean right now. And my daughter just texted me her daily “run” log. She’s training for the Chicago marathon and this is the longest she’s done so far. 11.03 miles.  Geez.
I can’t wrap my chubby butt around walking 5! She’s seriously my hero.

Hmmm. Maybe that’s something though…

Marathons. (I’m getting somewhere folks… hang on… this thought is on a train!)

Lord have mercy. Seriously, I don’t understand the drive it takes in your mind to WANT to run 26.1 miles … or do I?

Maybe I don’t’ understand the method marathoners like to use… a.k.a. actual running.. lol … Because. Uhm. NO. But I think I do get the idea of pushing yourself to do something you would see as an achievement. To push yourself to more than you think you have in you. To push yourself to step up to something big and say, “I’m coming for you.”
Yeah, I get that.
I’m kinda doing that right now. Ok. I AM doing that right now. This writing? That’s doing that.
For years, I didn’t get it though. For years, when something got hard, I quit. I don’t like to admit that about myself. It seems “less than”. It’s not the “highlight reel”. But #sisterfriend (and some Dudes) it’s the truth.
In high school, when other girls started showing up in track who were faster and better than I, I didn’t like it. I never had to train. AND nnnever had to put any effort into “extra training”, in order to be the fastest. I could show up to practice and just do that, no after hour running required, and (meep) be “the best.”  That’s not bragging so calm down, Peep. I didn’t have a huge athletic club or population to actually pool from, so … you hear what I’m saying. LOL  I went to a small private academy. Small. But,  I was athletic… and just naturally really good at it. One day though, a girl started passing me. She was new in school and man, she had wheels. Coach pulled me aside and tried to use “her” as motivation… “Kay, if you want to remain the fastest, you have to train outside of practice. You have to push yourself. You have to set aside intentional time to put the work in and do more than you just do here.”  I had my ear toward him, while my eyes were on … let’s just call her “Peach” (I know that’s not a good name, but even now.. thirty some years later… it feels good to give her a nick name that has an edge of sarcasm. #dontjudgeme. LOL I love, “Peach” in Jesus name. But… commmee onnnn….she didn’t have to train extra! Do you hear me?  LOL Her natural ability out “abilitied” mine…and (meep again)  I’m still a tad annoyed.)

Peach could run. I mean… coullllldddd run! She could do longer distances at a faster pace than anyone I had ever seen. (insert reminder of “small academy” here ..LOL) And to top it off… she looked good doing it! Dang Peach! But hey, I could run the longer sprints too. And, I was fast; but dang it… I crossed the finish line looking like I had just run 90 miles an hour, carrying a truck loaded with chickens! GAh…. not pretty.  My sweat would be soaking me, profusely running down my face and into all kinds of crevices. (meep) And my eyes, bulging from my head, would glance frantically around for water and the nearest medivac! Peach? ohhhh….She “gazelled” over the finish line, smiling and then turned gracefully to watch the other runners cross the finish line so she could high five them before casually walking to the water stand to take a delicate sip to just refresh herself. Ugh. I watched all this from behind the 3 rd water bottle I was gulping as the sports trainer wrapped my weak ankles and gave me instructions on how to avoid shin splints.

Oh. “Peach”.

This girl was trouble. I needed a plan that didn’t involve “training more”, like Coach was still speaking into the ear I had turned toward him, but “turned off”. No. I wasn’t going to waste valuable free time and energy, “running more”, eating less, and improving my ability. Nope. I wasn’t interested in “investing”. I wasn’t committed to “becoming more”. I had no desire to go “all in”… that required commitment. That required work. That required …. perseverance. So, even as I watched Peach, got pissed at Peach, pretended to smile at Peach,  handed a baton off in relay to Peach,

I was planning my

“quit.”

I learned very early on to listen to my “voices”. They weren’t wise. They didn’t know best. They didn’t want me to push myself. And they certainly didn’t care if I ever succeeded. But… they DID know,  I wanted easy. I wanted the quickest and fastest route to feeling significant, with the lowest amount of effort. The “voices” (NOTE: I didn’t legitimately hear voices before you think I’m a complete crazy person. Of course, I may be about to prove to you that I am, so keep reading. You decide.)  – any way , the “voices” , liked to throw a “big BUT” around and ,  I liked “big but’s”. (I cannot lie. However, insert: Shame. I didn’t like this about myself, but still… I partnered with big BUT’s for years)
“BUT, Kay. It’s ok to quit. If this is “too hard”… don’t do it. You’ve dealt with enough hard things. You deserve a break.” And so… I’d listen. I’d get in agreement and the big BUT would win, and a plan would develop around it so that it didn’t add to my feelings of insignificance. “So, Coach, I was thinking… Seeing as PEACH is the such FIRE on the track, maybe we should put her as last runner in the relay. I mean, lets face it… you can set her there and place any runner in 1st, 2nd and 3rd relay positions and we’d still win because, let’s face it Coach,  she’s gonna punish herself to close any gap; she’s gonna be like the wind and cover ground no one else can; She’s gonna be the one who can catch and pass anyone else like they’re standing still … there’s no way we can lose!”
But here’s why it was a “quit” for me.

That used to be MY position. I was last. I was “fastest”. I was “wind”. (Keyword : was) But, here’s the rest of my comment to Coach: “IF she’s  in the relay, in my place, that frees me up to run one more short sprint. We need more short sprint placers” . Short sprints were my jam. I could run those like a mouse covering the distance from the cupboard to his hole, when a cat spotted him. And if Peach were running my relay leg, chances were good, she wasn’t going to be in my short sprints. I mean, in the short sprint, I could still beat her, but , I realllly had to work for it (meep) and “the cat” got a little too close for comfort if you know what I’m sayin’.
Yeah, Yeah, yeah… we were a “team”… so if we scored a 1st and 2nd place in our event together, it would be more points for the whole team and that was the goal.. right? Well. Sure. But… It was also my Senior year for track and I was so wounded and broken inside, I just needed to be the best for just one more season and then, my “voices” whispered, I could end my high school “career”, “successful”.

Whoa. Transparency moment. I had all the appearance of confidence but inside… the shattered parts were cutting me.

Coach didn’t buy in.

Whaaat? It was the perfect plan to maintain my significance! It was the best case scenario for me to maintain a facade. It was the ultimate way to allow me to keep allowing myself to “believe” I was the best. I mean, if  her “flame” didn’t get held up to my “candle”… it wouldn’t matter. Right? Right!!! I could just keep pretending my flame was still super bright.  Even… Brighter. Goal for  me. Shine the brightest. Be “seen” . SEEN is valuable. SEEN is worthy.  SEEN was wanted.

Ugh. I was a mess. Truly a jacked up mess.

And now. Because of “Coach”, I needed a new plan.

Enter: Excuse.

It’s “Big BUT’s” best friend.
“Coach, I live an hour away from school. By the time I get home from after school stuff, and do homework and eat and complete chores, I don’t have time to “train”… Peach trains like crazy so she OF COURSE is going to be better at some things. She’s lucky she doesn’t have my life.”

“Coach, I have flat feet.  (Which I do. Hobbit feet to be exact. Hahaha . They are flat and thick and wide and I may or may not have to shave my toes- meep) and Coachhhh, (insert teenage girl whine) they are really beginning to bother me. I can’t even wear spikes because I can’t find them to fit my feet (which I could, BUT, they were really expensive and my family couldn’t afford them. Friends, do you SEEE “Big BUT” and EXCUSE hanging out there together? Jerks. ) So OF COURSE Peach is going to be able to run faster!”

And….so , excuse laden quitting became a thing.

You know who else is a good companion of “Big BUT “ and Excuse?

Comparison.

She’s just as mean. She steps right up to your face and calls out all you are not, if you let her. Mean girls suck. And yet, we give them POWER and call them Truth when we allow them to become some of those voices that speak in our own heads.
I learned to partner with “big BUT” and Excuse and Comparison and they all led me to the school of Quit…which is totally in the land of “Not Enough” and has a commuter system of “Regret”.”

Know what else is Truth? “But’s also have a father. His name is LIES. And he taught “baby girl” well.
He whispers, “Daughter, if you can get her to use you… she will deceive herself and we will be able to keep her from living her best life, a life that speaks REAL TRUTHS and becomes powerful for things like Good and Hope and Faith and Love. WE can’t have THAT!  NO… She must form a habit of believing the LIE that she is not enough and that she is NOT made for more. Daughter, keep after her. Lead her to partner with BUT’s in her life that park her in despair and comparison and leave her ineffectual for Kingdom work. Let’s form a system of Regret that she can’t get off! Let’s get little sister “EXCUSE” a presiding roll here too. With a BUT in one hand and an EXCUSE in the other, she will be ours to manipulate and destroy. Ineffective for any good thing.”

Seem like I took that scenario too far? Just a thousand words ago, I didn’t even know what to write!

#Sisterfriend. (And some Dudes) I didn’t.  I promise. I didn’t.

See, we have an enemy, roaming about seeking to devour us. He plants seeds of insignificance that he tries to grow into sprouts of “not enough”, in hopes that they become a forest of despair, thick with briers and hard to find your way through. He wants to keep us stuck and wounded and useless. He deceives and lies and sets BUTS and EXCUSES before us like low hanging fruit that we pick because it’s EASY. He knows  that low hanging fruit didn’t demand a climb. It didn’t’ require effort. It didn’t ask you to believe for MORE and see the worth of high fruit. It didn’t need you to look around for the better tools to reach that top fruit nor develop in you things like persistence, determination, goals, stamina, consistency, endurance and grit. You remaining grounded by shame and cemented in self ridicule is critical to his mission of making sure… Evil wins.  Well guess the freak what? Evil doesn’t win. It’s not a marathoner. It’s a short sprint to no where and all it wants is miserable company.

Get up #sisterfriend! and some Dudes! You GET to be MORE because You ARE MORE! You are beautiful and a masterpiece and this world needs YOU..just as you are!

Unlike the marathon, the short distance is easy. The walk through the park is easy. The stroll to the corner to hail a cab is easy.
But Marathoners know, you push yourself because there is an achievement that is worth the effort. Marathoners also know… you don’t have to be first. You just have to finish. You don’t have to be the best, you just have to show up as your best self.  Marathoners know, the finish line is not the greatest achievement… the belief you had in yourself the entire race , is!  POUND the pavement of your LIFE with THAT!!!  Who do you partner with in that race? Here’s the thing… YOU get to choose! You totalllly get to choose your “teammates” in this race.  Choose the ones who will help you run it well. Choose Faith. Choose Hope. Choose Love. Choose Persistence, Consistency and Grit! Side up to Grace and Charity and Compassion and make best friends with “Flawsome”… that chick knows her race!

And here’s the thing #sisterfriends, and some Dudes…
This blog. This place. This space…  you’re gonna meet some of those “folks” here. Promise.
So….

Welcome to my “marathon”.

Blogging.

Life.

“I’m coming for you.” I may not be running as fast as others, but my Partners are rockstars!

*Pictured: My girls. One by birth, one by heart. “Marathoners” for each other – in LIFE

marathoners