All my life I have been an average girl. Average, or just above average in pretty much everything I did. Now before you think I'm cocky let me tell you there are a lot of things that I am way below average at, but have never really pursued, even if I've done them from time to time. For example, pretty much anything musical would go in that category, though I do love music and appreciate it from afar. I was an average student, athlete, and game player. I played a lot of sports but wasn't great at any of them. I actually swam for 8 years, but always leveled at the top of the JV and bottom of the Varsity. I have never been super popular, but always had good friends I could rely on. I like games, but don't always win, nor do I feel I have to. I have never been a prefectionist, and I don't really want to be one, though the ability to do quality work when I choose to is something I am working on. I like being okay with "a good effort," that is usually enough for me. I have never considered myself competitive, but the truth is that I would rather be okay with losing than put in the effort needed to win. I have never been described as thin or super fit, but most of my growing up years I was pretty strong and for a while had pretty sweet biceps (thank you swim team for that) and I was okay with that.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being average or mediocre at some things, however, I have found that I have become so "okay" with not ever doing anything really well that I have lost all drive to do better. I will push hard to reach a goal, to get to that above average spot, and then I would coast. I remember realizing that I could swim my entire two hour practice without ever getting really winded or pushing myself. I could have kept on swimming for another two hours, I was just coasting along. While this takes a lot of work to achieve, it should not however have been my goal. When you stop pushing yourself, you stop improving, and when you stop improving, inevitably you begin to slip.
Lately I have been feeling the building affects of years of "slipping" coming down on me, in several areas of my life. When I lived in Bend, Oregon I was single, I lived with active roommates, in an extremely active community. Going cross country skiing, hiking or rock climbing were second nature. I loved it. I kept myself busy, but not too busy. I worked as a nanny, I hung out with my friends, I had quiet evenings to journal and spend time with the Lord, and I was aware of the food I put into my body. In short, I was living a pretty healthy life.
Fast forward six years, one husband, three children and lots of legitimate excuses and I struggle just to go for regular walks with my kids. It's a lot of work to wrangle three kiddos in between nap times, meal times, and errands. I go through phases where I do really great, I go to the gym, I ride bikes, I rid myself of eating evil sugar and carbs, and I feel great. Usually however, I get burnt out. After a month or two (and possibly another pregnancy or child later) I shut down completely. I'm just going to "take a short break" I say. I run on high and short circuit, often leaving myself feeling the same or worse than before. Every time I try again I struggle to push all of those past failures out of my head. Every. Single. Time. Man that's hard. Failure seems to be my worst enemy and my biggest fear. If you're not going to succeed, why try? Right? It takes a lot of effort to try.
This is where I find myself these days, struggling with the will to go past being borderline unhealthy and inactive (physically and spiritually. ) Struggling to push myself to risk failing...again. I wish that I could isolate these areas in my life. That I could be failing in one area, such as eating well, but would be super active and could make up the lack. Or at least that I could be focusing on what the Lord is showing me in my life and spending time listening to him, even if I wasn't very active. Somehow though, all these disciplines seem linked together for me. When I spend time with the Lord, I am more motivated to exercise, and when I exercise I am more motivated to eat well, and when I do all these things, I am a kinder, more understanding mother, wife, and friend. The reverse is also true. So why do I spend so much time on the downward spiral? In a world that thrives on instant gratification being disciplined and pushing oneself, while admired, are not things we tend to strive towards. Too much work. We are always looking for short cuts. The problem with using too many short cuts is that eventually you forget how not to use them, and when you try to do something the hard way you often find that you don't know how.
So where does that leave me? I have trained myself to "just get by" and now that I know I need to change I barely know where to start. Ahhhh! But we are not alone! Today I was reading in Ephesians 3:14-21 and it says " For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.