Why I’m Not Racing Today

There was a race in Nashville today. Actually I should say there IS a race in Nashville today- it doesn’t actually start for another couple of hrs, but I decided late last night that I’m not going. Usually the times I don’t feel like racing are the times I need it most. It helps me clear my head, refocus on my long-term goals, and feel better overall. This time it’s different.19713_860775994004483_1182053013396796429_n

This time it isn’t a decision based on lack of motivation or just feeling lazy like the others, it’s based on feeling so completely drained and exhausted from the week that if I were to race I would get to the end of it and feel accomplished, but useless for the rest of the weekend. I’m already toeing that line of complete uselessness and pushing myself to the max in a race is all it would take to send me hurtling into a hermit-like existence for several days. All week I worked, went to committee meetings, prepared decorations for a banquet, took care of 2 houses, 8 dogs, and 3 cats, sorted out graduate school finances, ran my normal week errands, and hit my workouts Mon-Thur. I never made it to bed earlier than 10:30 pm and several nights bedtime was midnight. I have pushed myself a little further every day and last night I realized that as much as this race sounds like fun (there’s a Cinco de Mayo party involved of course it would be fun!) the negatives outweigh the good. So I’m taking a break. Not on a grand scale of taking a week off, not even taking the whole weekend off from training, but a break nonetheless.db5a571e65024249835a8c67e3206c6f

Saturday is my Sabbath, always has been and always will be. Racing on Sabbath is a subject I stay in close communion with God over. It is a personal choice with God’s blessing, but that’s its own post for another time. That being said, Sabbath today is a day for me to spend quiet time at home with God letting Him renew me mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I love training and I love racing. In order to continue both I have to stay healthy in all aspects of my life. So today I take deep breaths and recenter and I let this race go.

acceptance

Doing Too Much

My mom is pretty awesome. Actually she’s more than pretty awesome, she’s flippin fantastic and could give any superhero a run for their money. Growing up I never really understood all that she did or how incredible it was. Now that I’m old enough to see the big picture I am blown away by her incredible inner strength and resolve to do everything. When I was growing up she worked full time as an RN, raised 4 children almost single-handedly, cooked most nights, kept the house in order, and ran a Sabbath School program every Saturday at church. That was in addition to getting each of the four of us to softball practice, piano lessons, and a myriad of school activities while helping us with homework most nights.

Today she works full-time, is raising my youngest brother, cooks every night, cleans, runs a Sabbath School program every Saturday, runs a Pathfinder program every week, and still manages to make time for gardening and writing and illustrating a book because she loves it! How does she do it? I haven’t figured it out yet. But she has unknowingly set the bar very high for me. I see everything that she accomplishes and I think I can do the same thing. Maybe its because she’s a mom and I’m not yet, I don’t know, but I fall far short of getting everything done that I would like to.

There are always a great multitude of things vying for my attention- my work, class, my animals, organizations I like to volunteer at, reading, working out, obstacle course racing, church, time with friends, etc. The list seems to grow weekly. With so much to do I usually find myself with my hand in everything and my whole heart in very little. There just isn’t enough energy or time for all that I would like to do. Simply put: I try to do too much. I always mean well , but often times more than one activity or project suffers because I can’t focus everything on just it. My time management skills continue to improve, but this generally leads to me simply taking on more responsibilities. Case and point- I agreed to pet sit/house sit for someone for 2 weeks while they are away on vacation, which would be fine except it is 4 dogs and I need to stay over there every night. This means my own 4 dogs don’t get the quality time with mom they are accustomed to in the evenings and there is a lot of necessary, but “dead” driving time between houses.

I am aware that this post may sound like a lot of whining, and some of it is, but most of it is just me taking a step back and realizing that as much as I would like to be sometimes, I am not my mom and I am not superwoman. I have limits and when I reach them (like now) I have to be able to tell people no and take time for me. I need to better prioritize my time and energy. I have learned the hard way now that there is such a thing as too much no matter how great you may think you are at getting stuff done.

A is For Acceptance

Today I am beginning my April A to Z challenge. For those of you that didn’t read the post I re-blogged about it a few days ago it means I will blog 26 posts this month as I go through  the alphabet in addition to other posts. Acceptance

Deciding what to blog about today was a bit of a challenge because there are so many good words that start with A and are applicable to my life at the moment. The one I settled on is acceptance because when I woke up this morning that is what I felt: acceptance of God’s love and His plans for my life. It’s difficult to describe, but when I woke up I felt more at peace than I have in a while. I felt like God was reassuring me that I can let go of everything I’m worrying about and stressing over, not just the small stuff.

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I have accepted the peace He is offering and I have accepted that He wants what is best and will guide my life if I let Him. No more drama and worrying about whether I’ll be happy or not in the future. He has promised and He will provide. I accept His gift. I accept the life He wants me to live.

I also accept my life as my own. I accept responsibility for whatever I haven’t taken responsibility for in the past. I accept that I am human and will make mistakes. I will never be perfect though I can strive for perfection every day. I accept this as fact and will conduct myself each day as God asks me to to the best of my ability.acceptance

What are the things in your life you need to accept?

Like Jesus Does

“All the crazy in my dreams,
Both my broken wings,
Every single piece of everything I am.
She knows the man I ain’t,
She forgives me when I can’t.
That devil, man, he don’t stand a chance.
She loves me like Jesus does.”

I heard this song for the first time yesterday afternoon. It’s called “Like Jesus Does” and it’s sung by Eric Church. I absolutely love it. Why? Not just because it’s a country love song, but because it has such an important message. God’s love  is all-powerful and everyone should love those around them with that same unfailing love.

loves me like jesus

God gave everyone free choice, it’s what makes us humans instead of robots.  That means that each one of us has to decide to love others the way Jesus does every day no matter what. It’s not a choice someone else can make for us. What does loving someone like Jesus mean? I think Eric Church nailed it: you accept and support everything about a person, not just the good, and you forgive them and let them know it. It means accepting that everyone makes mistakes and accepting the good with the bad in a relationship, whatever that relationship is.

Of course it also means the people around you can choose to embrace or ignore the love you give. Jesus died so we could all be free from sin, but not everyone chooses to accept His salvation. It doesn’t mean He loves them any less, and eventually He will have to let them go no matter how painful it is because of their own choices. Sadly, I can draw parallels in my life.

How can I love a stubborn, hard-headed, pain-in-the-ass man like Jesus does when all he does is turn his nose up at me? I loved him the only way I knew how until I got tired of fighting with him and gave it all up. Can anything really change? How can I love someone like Jesus does when I only talk to them once a year, but each time it makes my skin crawl?

These are my struggles, but God is telling me not to struggle with them anymore. I am called to love others like Jesus did. I am called to strive towards a Christ-like character of love and forgiveness. People can reject the love and forgiveness I offer, but I will find peace only by resting in Jesus’ love and sharing it with others to the best of my ability. Jesus experienced the ultimate rejection of being sentenced to death for His love and His belief in the goodness of humanity, and yet He loves us and always will.

I can rise above my struggles only by asking for God’s strength and letting Him guide me.


Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself

There are a number of things on my mind today, one of the chief things being the terms selfish and self-centered. A number of things have contributed to my thoughts on the matter and being the analytic person I am I have decided to write them out to try to bring about some sort of cohesion and peace of mind.all about me

First off, I looked up the definition of both terms. The online definition of selfish is:

1. devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others. 2. characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself

That is pretty self-explanatory. When someone is described as selfish they generally don’t care about the well-being or happiness of anyone, but themselves. The online definition of self-centered was deemed synonymous with selfish, but also holds more than that one meaning:

1. concerned solely or chiefly with one’s own interests, welfare, etc.; engrossed in self; selfish; egotistical. 2. independent, self-sufficient. 3. centered in oneself or itself. 4. fixed; unchanging.

I have been referred to as selfish and self-centered at different times in my life by different people. This isn’t surprising or outrageous. Most people have been called one or the other if not both in their lives and I believe it’s pretty much true. I have had my moments as everyone does, why try to deny the fact. The problem isn’t in having those moments, but in whether or not you live in or move past those moments. That is what makes the difference in a person being selfish or self-centered as an action, or being selfish or self-centered as a state of being (character).

“Here I am going to say something which may come as a bit of a shock. God doesn’t necessarily want us to be happy. He wants us to be lovable. Worthy of love. Able to be loved by Him. We don’t start off being all that lovable, if we’re honest. What makes people hard to love? Isn’t it what is commonly called selfishness? Selfish people are hard to love because so little love comes out of them.”
― William NicholsonShadowlands

My list of faults and mistakes are lengthy, but one of my biggest strengths is the compassion and love I have for living things. It doesn’t matter that I’ve had a number of bad experiences with people, I still love them. I love people who have lied to me, beaten me, used me, and attempted to break me. I love people who have met me at every turn with vile words and accusations. God has given me a deep desire to show Him to all living creatures and to be a living example of love. I stumble, I fall, but I always strive towards that goal.

Some people think that is a cop-out. They say I’m using it to avoid taking responsibility, but I’m not. Having pure intentions doesn’t excuse my mistakes or my faults. I still have to apologize and take responsibility for myself and my actions. I still have to nurture and rebuild relationships with people I have unintentionally wounded, mentally, physically, or spiritually. I still have to monitor my words and my actions around people who don’t trust me (and may not have a reason to yet). love them anyway

Unfortunately, sometimes people you love and care about deeply take one of your actions and brand it as a characteristic. It is, in my opinion, one of the most hurtful and unnecessary things a person can do, but it happens. Speaking from experience I will suffice to say that once a person has characterized you as such it doesn’t matter how you interact with them or how much effort you put into making their life more beautiful, they will always look down their nose at you and say you are selfish or self-centered. Few wounds have left such a deep mark.

Nonetheless, life goes on. Love thy neighbor as thyself is the command Christ gave us. It doesn’t have an ‘unless’ clause or an ‘until’ clause. It states love thy neighbor as thyself. That’s a period afterwards.

So I continue my life. I may still have my selfish or self-centered moments, but I will not make it a characteristic. Instead I  will continue giving of myself , loving those who may or may not love me, and improving myself in whatever mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical capacity I can. self centered radius

There is No Magic Pill for Anxiety or Depression

I have a confession. Sometimes I have irrational fears.

Sometimes I’m afraid of the dark. Sometimes I’m afraid that I will walk outside and my dogs will be gone or simply dead, lying lifeless on the cold concrete of the car port where they are tied. Sometimes I’m afraid I will walk into a room and everyone will turn and stare at me for no reason.

anxietyattacksQuite often I have anxiety attacks when I think about such things. My heart starts pounding. My breathing gets faster. My thoughts start racing and each thought is more horrible and gut-clenching than the last.

Nowadays when this happens I know that it’s irrational. I know that I just need to take a few deep breaths and calm down, but it doesn’t ever really work like that. My brain is screaming that I need to chill out, but the rest of my body doesn’t comprehend the command. Everything else in my body is screaming that I’m under some sort of attack, so the rapid pulse, near-hyperventilation, and racing thoughts continue.

This anxiety has happened for as long as I can remember, starting before college and before high school. I knew it was odd long before I could categorize it as irrational. There were even times I would have vivid dreams that would cause me to sleep walk and when I woke up in the middle of them with someone asking me what I was doing I would have a panic attack and go back to bed without answering them.

Unfortunately, as my anxiety got worse around people I found myself falling in and out of depression. I would have crazy, wild mood swings where I’d go from happy to cursing angry to bawling my eyes out in a matter of hours. The worst days were when my anxiety triggered my mood swings which generally triggered my depression.

The older I got the worse everything got and I became more and more of a social recluse who was too anxious or depressed to be around anyone else except when I absolutely had to be. Eventually I recognized my mood swings and depression as having somewhat of a cycle, but I still couldn’t control it. It took many, many years before I found a close friend to talk to about it and many more to talk to others about.anxiety cycle

Now, I know many of you who are reading this would like to hear a happy ending about how I realized what was going on and I took a magic pill and everything was rainbows and roses after that, but that’s not how it worked, at least not for me. It would be nice if it did, but it didn’t. In fact I still struggle with anxiety, panic attacks, mood swings, and depression. I do a myriad of things and talk to specific people about it to keep it under control, but it’s a constant struggle. There is no magic pill, no secret antidote for it, just me and the resources I utilize to make it better. That may be very discouraging and seemingly unhelpful to some of you reading this, but don’t let it be.

There were times in my life where I couldn’t function as a normal human being. There were times when I was so crippled by what was going on inside me that I would sit on my living room floor with my arms wrapped around my knees sobbing and thinking about ending it all. But somehow I pushed on. I would tell myself that it was selfish to commit suicide when I had family members and friends who loved me so much and would be devastated if I did. It may seem silly to some, but just having my dog Dirk depending on me every day helped pull me through some of those dark times. He would sit close and let me cry into his long, soft fur and he would lick my cheek and tell me in his own quiet way that it was going to be ok and he needed me to be there.

Each time I would come out of my depression I would try to find something or someone else to help me stay out of it a little longer, or manage it better. I talked to my best friends, I made lists of coping skills and things that made me happy, things I felt blessed for. Eventually I summoned up enough courage to talk to a counselor and try to find the root of the problems. panicattack

It’s not easy. Like I said before, I still struggle with it on a regular basis. There is no perfect answer, but it can be overcome if you really want to overcome it. There is help that doesn’t include drugs and alcohol (I tried the latter one and it failed miserably). So if you’re reading this and you feel overwhelmed and hopeless, take a deep breath. The sun is still there I promise. There are people who care and there are ways to change wherever you are right now, no matter how low or dark that may be.

Sincerely,

An Anxious & Depressed Individual Who Fights to Overcome it Every Day and Wins More Often Than Not

 

I Need That

I have a problem. I’m addicted to stuff.

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I’m not a hoarder and I don’t collect junk (of course, truth be told I can’t say that’s always been the case), but I have stuff…a lot of it…everywhere. Why?

I’ve asked myself why on numerous occasions and my inner princess has always obliged with a reason (usually akin to an excuse). I need those shoes for that dress. I need that dress for the interviews I’ll have in 5 years. I need that belt to match those shoes in case I want to wear them with something besides that dress. You can see how this line of thinking has gotten me in trouble; it has endless possibilities for the stuff I can collect.

Once, in my early college years (I was the poster-child for a long-term college plan), I was helping my best friend get ready to move. She had just graduated, was moving from Tennessee back to California, had no vehicle, and had decided to throw or give away everything she didn’t take with her as luggage, or what was too expensive or cumbersome to ship. I’m sure there were a few moments my eyes bugged out of my head when she handed me something and asked, “do you want this or am I going to toss it?” I went home rather happy that day, pleased with the pile of stuff I had accumulated without having to buy it.

Every day advertisements and messages bombard us telling us we need stuff. They tell us we need the newest medicine to make us healthy, we need the latest piece of technology to make us successful, we need another outfit to make us look better, etc. Sadly, it’s a lie. The majority of messages and advertisements that society throws at us every waking moment is a lie. Happiness and success do not come from stuff, they come from people and relationships.

I lived in a one-bedroom apartment with just my dog and it was filled with stuff. I wasn’t happy. In fact, I experienced some of the worst depression and suicidal thoughts of my life in that apartment. When I hurt or got depressed I’d go shopping. I’d bring home the newest $200 dress The Limited offered that I might wear once that year. Did it help? For a day, a week if I was really lucky. My life became a series of highs and lows that hinged on whether or not I got something new. I lived like that for the better part of two years, and I’ve never been so miserable. Several years later I was diagnosed with depression and possible bi-polar II. I got the help I needed and things started to level out, but by then I was obsessed with getting stuff. I was obsessed with shopping to make myself feel better about anything and everything, no matter how small the problem.

After living in a small two-bedroom apartment with two cats, two dogs, and two men (soon it will be three) I have come to realize how pointless it is to have so much stuff. Things I used to take great pleasure in owning, such as candles and various glass candle holders, have become obsolete in such a tiny place. There is no room to store anything, much less have decorations. I don’t need to shop for anything else. I don’t need half of what I own now!

So my newest goal is to let go of the useless, pointless, taking-up-room stuff in my life (like that cool $3 Native-American-looking pot sitting on the end table in the living room). I have friends and family and pets who need and want my time and attention. They are what is important in my life and its about time I showed them.