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Whatever it takes

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Lately I've been feeling...well, there's no other word for it, but "defeated". I have been making poor eating choices and while I would love to blame things like my circumstances (particularly how much sugar has been floating around in my neck of the woods). I've been losing and gaining the same pound, back and forth...back and forth...So, yeah, I've been having struggles.

And no, I haven't been consistently choosing to exercise or eat right. Part of that is due to the discouragement I've been feeling. Part of it is simple out-and-out laziness. And part of it is just trying to do too much on my own and getting discouraged when that doesn't turn out the way that I want it to.

Today I was determined that I would go workout. The weather was kinda gray and yucky-looking. But, I donned my workout clothes and went off to the park after work. I was surprised at the sheer number of people who were jogging along the path. Generally speaking, when I've been on that path after work, there haven't been all that many people walking or jogging. Plenty of people riding bikes, but not so many people moving on their own two feet.

I was intending to continue my Couch to 5K training. I will be completely honest and say that this is the week that I have been dreading the most. It was walking for 1 minute, jogging for 3 minutes. Not so bad when as long as you don't take the number of repetitions into consideration.

The number of repetitions?


Holy. Freaking. Cow.

8 reps?

Going in, I thought there was no way I was going to push through 8 reps. I didn't think the 1 minute walking was enough of a recovery time for me.

The last time I had gone out and jogged (last week), I managed to make it 2.78 miles. That gave me some hope that, come the 18th, I could actually do the full 5K and actually STOMP my previous record.

When I did that, I barely pushed through. It was 2 minutes walking coupled with 3 minutes of jogging, six repetitions. And I thought that was hard enough to push through.

All of this was running through the back of my mind as I was gearing up for my trip. I made it through the first rep with little to no problems. As I was walking along, I figured out that I didn't have to count the reps as I normally did--it was just making me feel discouraged and overwhelmed. Instead, I chose to focus on the fractions. Rather than saying I had completd 2 of 8 reps, I would say 1/4th , rather than 4 of 8 reps, I'd say 1/2. It made all the difference in the world to my mentality as that clock wound down the minute that I spent recovering.

And I did it.

I not only barely made it, I felt like I could have done at least one more rep if I had been asked to. But instead I chose to walk for a longer period of time for cool down.

There were so many things that were accomplished today. I went the furthest I have ever gone in this program. And I knew it just by the landmarks. I almost made it to the point where we had turned around on one of our longer Spark Team walks. But the real proof was glowing at me from the little screen on my iPod when I finally stopped my workout.

Yup, you read right! 3.35 miles in 50 minutes, a pace of about 16 minutes/mile. In school, when we would run a mile, I was lucky to make it in under 18 minutes. My fastest time was 10 minutes and 30 seconds for one mile. And that was when I was at my healthiest and still pushing myself to the point where I was not feeling so hot afterwards. So for me to do this, and go further than I ever did in high school, not to mention at a pace that was faster AND for me to feel like I could have pushed it a little bit further if I needed to was freaking amazing.

But here's the thing that I was reminded of as I was jogging along. At the beginning of the year one of the things that I had determined that I was done trying to do this journey on my own. That I was no longer going to choose to rely on my own strength to carry me through. Because I know just how weak I am. And I know that if I rely on just myself, I was going to run into some serious issues and would not be able to complete what I had started.

And yes, I was wanting to rely on others more. But the thing about relying on other people is that they're...well, they're human. And (let's face it) at some point and time, they're bound to let you down. I'm not being cycnical here, I'm just saying it. So I knew that I was going to have to rely on something else--on someone else. I chose to rely on God instead. He's got all the strength I need.

And the other thing I determined was that I was going to give God all of the glory for every victory that I had accomplished.

The thing is, I haven't been feeling all that victorious lately. I've been stuck in a downward spiral that was just getting more and more discouraging. Yes, I'd have moments where I was "up", but that never lasted for very long.

And as I was jogging, I was reminded of that by a song that came on called "Whatever it Takes" by Nate Sallie. I was also reminded of something that happened at the beginning of the week.

On Sunday I was at both Easter services for the venue where I was serving. One of the songs that we sang is a popular one called "Overcome". In that song one of the lines says "All authority, every victory is Yours".

And I was reminded that when I sing that song, "every" victory is not just the big ones that I love to acknowledge. It means the ones that I deem to be "too small" or don't even notice. God whispered to my heart and told me that I don't have to have absolutely everything figured out for something to be a victory that can be claimed for Him.

Today, clearly, I had a big victory. But there were also a series of smaller victories that happened, too. Like, resisting the urge to gorge myself on the Peeps and brownies that currently reside on the kitchen table at our office.

Or, like yesterday, when I chose to go to Zumba and work out despite the fact that I had forgotten to pack my socks (yucky, I know, but I figure I'm the only one who wears my shoes, my feet were clean and they're going to get replaced soon).

It's things like choosing to have yogurt or fruit instead of candy and cookies. It's realizing that things like candy and cookies don't taste as good or are somehow not as sweet when I've been having them frequently. Somehow, they seem so much better and more special when I have them on occasion rather than everyday.

Kinda like how people get excited when Cadbury Creme Eggs come out at Easter. Or Girl Scout cookies in the spring. They're just not special if you're having them all the time.

Those victories may seem small to some people, but they can lead to bigger and better things. And I know that. I've seen it played out in my own life as well as in the lives of others. But the realization that I need to claim those victories and be proud of them just as I'm proud of the larger milestones in my life is HUGE. And that I can claim those victories and point to God as the source of my strength to do those things and make those decisions makes those victories that much sweeter.

To that end, I have added a new goal to my calendar for the month of April. To celebrate and write down at least one victory (however small) each day.

I started out on this journey knowing that it would lead to spiritual change, a change that I have been desiring for quite some time. And the song I mentioned earlier was a reminder of a commitment that I made then and am making again. I wanted to post the lyrics as a way of recommitting myself.

"Whatever it Takes"
By Nate Sallie

Who was I to try to live without You
Thinking I could do things my own way?
Lord, I know that I should never doubt You
I get so lost and lonely when I stray

Now it's time to surrender to You
I'm a man who believes it's You that I need

Whatever it takes, that's what I'll do
I'd give anything to get back to You
I know I was wrong, I made some mistakes
But I'm gonna do whatever it takes
Whatever it takes

In a world of darkness and temptation
Only You can give me eyes to see
Father, You're my strength and my salvation
Show me now who I was made to be

I will follow anywhere that You lead
For it's Your will, not mine
I'm gonna prove it this time

Whatever it takes that's what I'll do
I'd give anything to get back to You
I know I was wrong, I made some mistakes
But I'm gonna do whatever it takes
Whatever it takes

I'm standing here cuz I've got nothing to lose
I lost it all when I walked away from You
I swear this time around I won't let You down

Whatever it takes, that's what I'll do
I'd give anything to get back to You
I know that You will forgive my mistakes
So I'm gonna do whatever it takes
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    As Luisa said it can relate to a lot of different things. God has been working in my life a lot lately. He always has but I am more intuned to Him lately.

    I will keep you in my prayers and if you do the same for me I would really appreciate it.

    3600 days ago
    Greetings, Erin.

    You had quite a victory today, quite a breakthrough, quite a day!

    It is easy to get discouraged....especially when we try to do things in our own strength. I know that I have! When I try to figure out what went wrong or what is going wrong, I realize that my strength is limited, but I serve a God who will provide me with His strength....if only I had relied on Him and asked Him. It is a lesson that I learned long ago. Unfortunately, it is a lesson that I continue to learn still today.

    So don't be discouraged, be encouraged. I might have already shared this with you....but, oh well....it is still very applicable. Ecclesiastes 4 says.....If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

    I will remember to keep you in my prayers. That the Lord will continue to strengthen you, protect you, encourage you and that you will be empowered by and through His Word, confident of His soon return, growing daily in faith and will be a testimony of His goodness.

    Best wishes always.....Bill
    3601 days ago
    What I do, when I have something that can be compartmentalized (like 8 reps of 4 minutes) is to pick as many people that I have reps (8) and pray for them in each rep (3 min/1min thanks/needs), OR pick as many people as reps (4) and pray for each 1 min of each rep. Does that make any sense? The thanks/needs part is variable concerning the person but I split each person into the harder part (longest) and easiest part (recovery) based on my relationship and what they are going through. I am sure this makes no sense now. Perhaps if it was my week for the brain this would be comprehendable (see, I'm even making up words now), hopefully you are taking good care of it (the brain) and can decrypt this message.

    Although, if you printed this out, decrypting it would take almost your whole 32 minutes!

    Love, Pip
    3601 days ago
    Erin, your blog can relate to a lot of different things in our lives, and not just weight loss and getting fit - as these are universal truths that we all can use at any time and any place in our lives.
    3602 days ago
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