“Every journey begins with a small step…”

“… every race has a starting line.”

So begins one of our Year 6 songs this summer, as they prepare to leave primary school.

What journey are you starting out on? Or rather, what journey do you have to start out on, but haven’t yet made that small step?

For me, I’ve been in a seemingly endless cycle of mistreating my body and my health: drinking excessively; smoking; late nights and early rises; over eating; under eating; exercise regimes that never quite last.

The journey I am on at the moment is a difficult one. I am a mother, and a wife, a daughter and a sister. I want to be healthy, to live a long life. I want to be physically strong, so my own daughter will have an example of what it is to live well. And yet, when I snatch a glimpse of myself in the mirror before bed, it all comes back down to weight and aesthetics once more.

As I said in my previous post, I did not start running earlier in the year because I wanted to lose weight. My journey began because I wanted to be fit, both mentally and physically. And that’s still true. What’s changed is that I have come to realise that it isn’t enough to simply run 5K 3 times a week, nor play a bit of netball. I need to get serious about how I fuel my body.

Over the last 10 days or so, I have felt exhausted. Clearly, I am not getting enough sleep and my body isn’t getting the right sort of energy from the food I am putting in. (Seriously, any tips would be gratefully received!!)

So I am stood at the starting line, waiting to take that small step. As with much of my life, I’ll be winging it and seeing what works well. Let’s see what this body of mine can do when it is fuelled correctly.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

You are not your own; you were bought at a price.

Therefore honour God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6: 19 – 20)

“I hate running.”

Or so I used to say. Now I’m one of those people who will say, “Ooh! I love running!”

Do not misunderstand me. When I rave positively about running, it isn’t because I’m good at it. Nor am I fit, or fast. I’m not even slim and toned, as I still very much enjoy membership in the Mummy Tummy Club. I look red and weary when I run, and there are points when I could walk more quickly than I currently run.

And yet… I love it.

Not because I find it easy – I don’t.

Not because I am losing weight – I’m not.

Not because I used to run – I didn’t.

I love it because I feel strong.

I love it because it makes me feel good.

I love it because it makes me feel determined.

When I started running back in March, I was running at a pace of 9:30/KM. Now I am running regularly at a pace of 8:05/KM. Yesterday, I ran another PB of 40 minutes 25 seconds for a 5K, AND a PB of 25 minutes 42 seconds for 2 miles.

I am still quite slow, but I am determined to get fitter and stronger. I know the speed will come in time. And those who know me well, well they know I am never in a hurry.

Vulnerability


A friend shared this image with me this afternoon, and it spoke volumes to me. “I thought this could be your mantra,” she said.

What is amazing, is that this morning I was talking to a mentor of mine about baggage. More specifically, we were talking about my baggage and how it has shaped me and continues to shape me. She then asked me, “how do you think having your daughter has changed you? How do the two link together?”

Vulnerability.

That’s how they link together. In my darkest moments, when I was really struggling with who I was and what I was worth, I was vulnerable in every sense. Since then I have spent much of my time trying to control the way I am seen and the way I handle myself, so that I’m not vulnerable. But the vulnerability actually remains, it’s just that I was hiding it from people. So my mentor and I unpicked the issue of vulnerability some more. As the thread unraveled, I spoke of how in labour I was physically and emotionally vulnerable, and since then I’ve also been vulnerable; I’ve been stripped raw. Through that rawness and my own vulnerability I’ve had no choice but to let go and make myself spiritually vulnerable too. That way I can really lean into God, listen to him, and receive from him.

It was a wonderful, rich conversation. And then I came home to this picture. Wow! What confirmation! Someone who was right there beside me in those dark moments, who knew me at my most vulnerable, bringing me such truth.

It’s ok to be vulnerable. I mean, we all are inside. But it’s ok to show it too.

How has your past shaped you? How can your vulnerability be your strength?