Authenticity · COVID-19 · Faith · Health

Taking Small Steps Forward

Often I’m amazed at how many parallels there are in our natural world and our spiritual one.

For the past two weeks I’ve been trying to get my body into a healthier state, and it’s caused me to realize that not only have I been neglecting my physical body, but my spiritual one as well. It’s so easy to fall into a state of being physically unfit: Skip a workout here, eat a bit more junk there. It takes far more effort and intentionality to stay healthy.

It was almost exactly one year ago when I first heard the term “Covid-19″… that was just before it hit my world. At first, it was the distant “coronavirus” that seemed like nothing more than another repeat of the “SARS” or “H1N1″scare. I never expected it to effect me. I never thought that it would reach my country. And never in my wildest dreams would I have expected it to be here to stay.

None of us did.

As I look back over the past year, I realize that it took over so much of my emotional, mental and physical capacity and head space. I noticed my motivation to keep myself healthy – physically and spiritually – completely tanked as I became fixated on all the changes around me. Eventually, expecting change and disappointment became normal. Being adaptable was essential – and it’s where I put most of my energy into: Returning to homeschooling five kids overnight, cancelling all future plans, learning to meet with and lead my small group over Zoom.

Adaptable we’ve become, but it seems like all I’ve been doing for the past year. I find myself tired; burnt out, even. I’ve been physically trying to compensate for this fatigue by filling much of my extra time with unproductive activities, stuff that requires little to no effort. Logically this doesn’t make sense, of course, because if I’m going to run a marathon and do well, I have to take care of myself.

But here I find myself in that place where I’ve been running so hard for so long that I am in survival mode. In my few moments of free head space, I’m filling my mind and body with so much junk that I just find myself too full to eat a decent meal.

Something has to go.

I am hitting a wall and I just can’t run off of this cheap fuel anymore. I need the good stuff. I need the protein, the veggies; the word of God, prayer and fellowship with believers. I can’t keep grabbing for the granola bar to tie me over anymore, my body won’t let me.

So, I take small steps:

First Step: Two weeks ago I decided to give up processed sugar/junk food for 40 days during the Lent season.

Second step: Making wiser choses in what I eat… choosing a salad instead of a pizza. Grabbing fruit instead of chips.

Third step: Picking up my Bible instead of my phone when I wake up. Praying instead of complaining or worrying.

Fourth Step: This past week I decided to get back into running; just three days a week for half an hour.

Small steps I can handle, one choice at a time.

And today, I got pushed to take another small, but important step for accountability on how I’m spending my time: Being present with my family, instead of hiding away in my room to be alone. I need to learn how to be in community again, instead of pushing people away.

Today was a day I’ve been waiting for for a long time. It was the first time I’ve been to church since November 1st and even in my current exhausted state, I was ecstatic! Online “church” isn’t church to me. It’s watching a sermon.

Church is the people. My spiritual family. My second home.

Today marks the beginning of another step towards health: Meeting with other believers to worship our incredible God. It’s just one more step of healing from the isolation of this year… Fellowship. We need each other. If anything has shown us that, it has had to be this past year. As my community begins to heal and take small steps to open up, I want to heal personally and open up as well.

One small step at a time.

Have you been taking any steps lately?

11 thoughts on “Taking Small Steps Forward

  1. Wow, we sound a lot a like… I literally could relate to so much of what you said! I gave up sugar and coffee for Lent. I’m spending drastically more time in God’s Word during this season, and I just started maintaining working out 3 times a week. Thanks for sharing and being real in this post. May God continue to nudge you in this journey as to what needs to go and what fires need to be fanned!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so neat! We sound like we’re on a very similar journey. To me it’s amazing how often God does a similar work in his people around the world. As always, I pray that this will be a work that lasts in me, and hope that you experience the same!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very similar here. I gave up sugar during my recent pregnancy, and I’m still off it. I have resumed easy exercises, and once I’m past the 6 weeks post-partum mark I plan to start walking again. Due to pregnancy complications/ concerns early on, I didn’t walk or do anything more physically demanding the whole time. I’ve never had to do that before and it was really hard. Frustrating. Now it’s been 10+ months, and I’m looking at starting at rock bottom to get back in shape. It’s going to be hard. Frustrating (gotta figure out how to make it work with 6 kids and a newborn). But I’m determined to do it!

    …And, that bit about being present for your family instead of hiding away. That got me. My grandma passed away a week after I had my baby, and dealing with post-pregnancy hormones on top of grieving put me in a tail spin for a couple weeks. I’m coming out of it, but I do still tend to withdraw more than reach out to all the little arms wanting to give me cuddles and hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. After my fifth child, I also had to start at rock bottom with fitness! It is very frustrating, so I feel with you. One thing that might help you is what my doctor shared with me when I started exercising a few years back. He told me to not view it as exercise, but a gentle walk in the sunshine. So that’s exactly what I did. It was very contrary to my nature that loves to dive right in, but I walked in the sunshine for about half an hour a day. At first my pace was very slow and leisurely, as that was all I could do. That one step was life changing. It was paired with physical therapy for my damaged pelvic floor muscles and I grew much stronger. Gradually, I began to walk quite fast. Finally I downloaded an app on my phone called “C25K” (Couch to 5 Kms)… literally designed to help those totally out of shape to begin running. The results were absolutely amazing!

      Being present with my family has been something I’ve struggled with for years. Especially when I’ve been through a few traumatic events, just like yourself, it’s really hard to keep pouring out into others! I’m so sorry that you had to go through that loss while postpartum. It sounds very difficult. May you experience God‘s gentle guidance and grace on your journey of healing ❤️

      Like

  3. Ya, I can relate to this. Especially the part about hiding away from my family or grabbing my phone when I don’t have brain space for anything else. “Survival mode” is exactly the term that has run through my mind lately. This past year has hit different people differently; I know I’m biased but I think it’s been especially hard on moms. And the church problems have complicated things; for me it has resulted in the loss of friendships and the dismantling of my cell group. I believe God’s up to something special though, and I look forward to seeing what He will do moving forward!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man, I’m sorry your cell group is falling apart. It’s definitely happening to a lot of them and it breaks my heart! But I agree, I think Gods definitely doing something, unseen, in our hearts. (Sorry for not responding sooner, I’ve been off WordPress for a while!)

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s