90 Days

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need.

Colossians 1:11 (NLT)

 

90 days.

Some of you may remember the blog I posted at the end of June. I wrote it to let you know that I had decided (with a bit of heavenly encouragement) to participate in a 90 day fitness challenge.

The Challenge:

Follow a exercise program through 90 days.

While my summer filled up fast and I lost track of many of my goals and set plans, I am happy (and a bit surprised) to report that I completed my 90 day challenge!!

Don’t misunderstand me. This was a victory that was hard won, and not without its setbacks. (I am not sure what happened during week 8- but I am sorry to say that I know exercise did not.)

BUT… I didn’t give up. I didn’t give myself the usual out of “well, I blew the week, might as well wait till __________________ and start all over again….

I didn’t go back to week one. I didn’t even sit around and think about going back to week one. I looked at the schedule and I started week 9.

Understand, I am not one to skip and move on. And every fiber of my body just wanted to “repeat week 8” and just finish a week later. What harm could it cause? I had already lost the time. It felt like skipping a chapter in a book. (If you know me, you know the gravity that suggestion conveys).

While staying on week 8 may have been a good compromise between moving forward and starting over, had I not pushed forward I would not have learned two very important lessons.

  1. I realized that I could physically do Week 9 even though I had not successfully completed week 8.
  2. I realized that I would have been more prepared for week 9 had I completed week 8.

And as I recorded the week’s exercises and times I had a moment of clarity as a lightbulb went on.

Exercise is not the only thing I always “wish I did more” yet always “lose the time.” While I am able to keep myself disciplined in accordance with work and school… exercising is not the only “more personal” goal I have a tendency to put on the back burner when making it “fit” just feels too… hard.

(i.e. turning all my notes and drafts into the blogs I long to write.)

You see often (almost always) in life when I experience a set back- when I fail where I had planned to succeed- I sit back. I hesitate. I start to head back to the starting line.

And that makes absolutely NO SENSE.

When I stubbled or fell in a cross country race I didn’t go back to the starting line, or back to the last place I had sure footing, I ran forward. So why do I insist now I have to finish it (whatever “it” is) in one successful awe-inspiring swoop?

Why is it that I decide to put my goals and dreams in an unnecessary form of “detention” until I deem myself capable of attempting the pursuit again?

Maybe you can relate?

And all this had me thinking… what goals have I set for myself that instead of moving forward I have started back towards the starting line or worse- resigned myself to where I fell.

The lessons we learn from falling only take effect after we get back up.

So I am beginning another 90 day challenge. Actually, I am beginning several 90 day challenges.

Writing, Speaking, Studying, Budgeting… and setting the boundaries that will allow me to run towards them. (Also exercising – watch out week 8!!)

And while obstacles may still litter my path, and I still may miss week 8, I won’t be turning around and I won’t be staying down.

But in a holy and defiant endurance and patience I will run my race, and I bid you all to do the same!

We will probably come out with a few scrapes and bruises, I at least will definitely be a bit winded, but when we look back we will see progress. And whatever “defeat” there was that attempted to keep us from moving forward, will be trampled in the dust.

And an important 3rd lesson: Dream Big and Take Baby Steps.

My 90 day challenge for exercising was not a two hours a night 7 days a week regime. It was doable and flexible and fit in my schedule while still pushing me to make the time for it and commit to completing it at 100%.

However, not only can I run a 5K outside again (take that MS Heat Sensitivity) BUT I was able to shave 7 minutes off of my time. And while I won’t be doing any major weight lifting competitions anytime soon, I can feel strength returning to my arms and legs.

This is not 90 days of make it or shame it, it is 90 days of reaching for the stars and reaching for a hand up when you find you’re struggling to get up on your own. Make perfect plans and remember that you’re not perfect and accept that that is okay.

God asks for a little, and our little can do far more than we could ever imagine. Oftentimes it is in our weaknesses His strength prevails. So take a deep breath and dive in. Let yourself laugh and cry when you need to. Don’t go back to the starting line, your starting line moves with you and is wherever your progress has brought you. (However, never skip a chapter in a book… I am still hard pressed to imagine a time when that is okay…)

Cheers to the next and last 90 days of 2019! Let the race begin  continue.

Photo by Hanna Viellehner on Unsplash

Tried & Trying

“Though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”

Psalm 37:24 

 I once had a mentor tell me that it took an average of 22 attempts for a person to quit smoking.

22 tries at briefly achieving and then falling off the wagon. 21 falls and 22 rises. And that is an average, which means some took less attempts… while others took more.

What strength is that to fall and fail and fall again, yet at some point reaching a period where you dust yourself off and you continue to try?

This fun fact was shared with me on Tuesday.

And then on Wednesday I received a “Last Day to Sign Up” email from a motivational group I follow- 90 Day Workout challenge.

I am not sure if I have reached or surpassed 22 attempts at regularly exercising, but I can tell you I feel I am definitely in the ballpark. And the sad thing is I love feeling healthy and having energy. I enjoy running, at the very least I enjoy hiking and doing things that generally require strength to a certain degree.

And it was just last week I was explaining to my sister that I did not like the gym. And I didn’t want to go to a gym.

But I do want to get into better shape. And with the MS, my doctor highly suggests that regular, healthy, daily exercise is beneficial and at times essential.

So the email arrives. 90 Day Challenge. At home workouts. Last Day to Sign Up.

Oh and Level 1…

Free.

So in a split decision on my lunch break- I signed up. Fully committed? I wanted to be. Think about it later and change my mind? Hopefully not.

The more I thought about it I could feel an outside thought whispering I was too busy, that it wasn’t fair to put this pressure on myself, why couldn’t I be happy with all I was already doing… However, the more I thought about it, the more I also remembered all the reasons I knew it was worth another try.

And through all the naysaying I could feel the small still voice that had encouraged me to sign up continue to get excited. Because what is better than reaching a goal?

Making a goal.

And what solidifies this goal today? What makes me want to write a post and share it on my online journal space, to let all who read know I am starting a 90 Day Workout Challenge?

Thursday morning when I was getting up and getting ready for work I wandered onto Facebook (I know, I know) – and the first thing I saw on my newsfeed- Run for the Soul, September 28th at the Columbus Zoo.

The same race I attempted to run in 2017, following my August diagnosis of MS.

The same race which encouraged me to take to the sidelines.

The same race that almost broke me.

Now the race’s victory was short lived and I made a fairly quick come back, running a race that October. And I have committed to fearlessly doing all the things, as well as I can, regardless, since. However…

I cannot help but draw a parallel between the timing of the challenge and the timing of the race. Call it coincidence. Call it me being unnecessarily dramatic or imaginative. Call it me having really loved my last t-shirt from that race (because I did and still do)…

But Attempt #22, here we come.

And my friends, I do not know what you have attempted time after time with temporary success, but please remember failure is only permanent when we fail to try- and to try again.