For a long time, sweet husband and I have talked about needing to get into a regular exercise routine. It has long since been something that we have wanted to do together, but it is only now in this season of life that our schedules afford us this opportunity.
So finally, we bit the bullet, and now every day we have a standing appointment with a trainer who does his best to whip us into shape while bringing us as close to our demise as possible. Or at least that is how it seems. He is soft spoken and kind… but that’s how he gets you. He is intense. Having his accountability is important because as a couple, we easily prefer Blue Bell over barbells. If left to our own devices, I suspect we would have given up after two sessions max. Alas, Blake’s will power is too strong to let him quit and my people pleasing tendencies keep us from ever missing our appointment. And so today, off we went.
Before going, I had the thought that I wished we would work out our core a little more. Any woman knows that’s always a prime area you’re hoping to target. At least that’s what my vanity focuses on at this stage of life. And wouldn’t you know, [how silly of me to have thought this] guess what we did today… lots and lots of core.
And here’s where I am going to get a little bit vulnerable. I was on my third set of certain death when I crunched up and noticed it. A pooch of fat protruding at the bottom of my belly. It wasn’t just the obligatory roll that all the girls with even the flattest tummies have. This was the belly of a momma that has birthed a lot of kids. It’s the part of your muscles that weaken over successive births and seems to become more and more stubborn as you get older. And with every crunch, it poked, and I was shocked at what happened next.
I felt a strange feeling– shame. I noticed it again and again and even hours later staring in the mirror, it just wouldn’t let me go. And then I felt a different feeling– anger.
Nevermind what this extra weight represents– a momma who has carried her babies.
Nevermind that I am generally fairly happy with my body– larger than I want to be, but grateful for the way God made me.
Nevermind that in just a few short weeks, I have increased my stamina by a million percent– thanks to Coach pushing me to literal death.
Nevermind that I have seen so many other victories– core strength, muscle tone, and consistency in showing up.
I was focused on shame. And that made me angry.
It made me angry for how unkind and unfair I was being to myself, but it also made me angry because that little moment is so representative of what I believe halts us in progress in so many aspects of our lives.
How often– so very often– have I gathered my will and thrown all of my enthusiasm and effort into something I have long wanted to pursue and then, just when I start to see small steps of progress, something else pokes and protrudes its way into my confidence? Instead of focusing on the victories in front of me, I begin focusing on the areas I haven’t progressed, haven’t perfected, haven’t planned out. And just like that, the shame of my lack overcomes the potential of my purpose. I am suddenly derailed and discouraged before I even get headed too far in the right direction.
This is not about my momma belly, y’all. And it isn’t about the area of your body you’re beating yourself up over either.
This is about not letting past failed attempts get in the way of future ambitions.
This is about stepping out when I’m afraid to stand out.
This is about realizing that I don’t have to have every plan perfected before I pursue my purpose.
This is about chasing what we’ve always been meant to chase.
If you’re still here, if you’re still breathing, if you’re still doing those dadgum crunches– there is hope. Get up, get out there, and do what you’ve always known you were created for. God is not done yet… and you aren’t either. The world needs who you are, my friend.
Spoiler Alert: Those tiny imperfections are what everyone will love most anyway. There is beauty in vulnerability.
Go and be who you were ALWAYS meant to be.