First I want to thank each one of you who wrote me last week in response to my post with your story, your testimony, your thoughts and your dreams. I cannot tell you how humbling, inspiring and encouraging each one of them were to my spirit. How grateful I am to be surrounded by a community of women with stories of struggle, strength, courage and love as wide and as deep as this. Truly, I am grateful. If you missed what’s happening in my writing life, you can catch up here.
Over and over people ask me the same questions: What keeps you going? Do you exercise every day? How do you
stay committed? How do you make the time?
When I answer that I work out an hour or more most days, their response is usually the same too: I just don’t have the time.
Let’s be honest: You have the time.
The question is what you choose to do with your time.
I’m not the same person I once was. Twenty years ago you would’ve seen a chubby girl who avoided exercise at all costs. She was far more focused on figuring out why she was gaining weight, while diffusing her tears in Dairy Queen ice cream at night. That story is true.
But so is this one: Every single day I get up and go. I don’t run or exercise because I feel like it. I do it because it makes me strong. I do it because it makes me well. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – exercise and fitness has changed my life. I always say I found God in the street, and it’s true. It’s not very provocative or particularly powerful, but it is to me. It’s my testimony. How, at twenty-two, in a tired pair of sneakers on a old country road, I began to find my faith. How only a loving father would, He met me when I was weary, discouraged, rejected and alone. When I had nothing but a very thin sliver of hope left.
And He restored my life.
One step at a time.
One decision at a time.
One choice at a time.
One day at a time.
Running taught me that I just have to put one foot in front of the other. I don’t have to like it. I don’t have to want to do it. I just have to do it.
It’s these ordinary extraordinary moments when God meets me on the street and reminds me of His love. His faithfulness. His provision, protection and plan over my life. Every single day, He is faithful. But sometimes I have to get up and go — I have to pound it out — or sweat it out — before I can see it.
For the first year I went to sleep in my running clothes so I had less of an excuse not to go. Believe me, when you wake up ready to run it’s much harder to crawl back into bed with a good conscience. Now, over fifteen years later, it’s my default.
It’s my choice. We all get the same amount of time. It’s what we choose to do with it that will matter.
How I will spend my time? Where I will focus my energies? How I will begin my day? Will I squander it? Waste it? Or will I use it to make me stronger. Better. Braver with my one life.
Over the years, through marriage and three babies, I’ve had people insinuate that my commitment to exercise is, perhaps, selfish. That my time would be better served given to someone else instead. Perhaps you struggle with that question yourself. Maybe you wonder if it’s selfish to give yourself that time, just for you. If that’s you, then let me just tell you this: I am a better wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend because I go. Because I practice putting one step in front of the other. Because I know the cost. Because I understand that some days the miles will be hard. Because I believe that someday I will look back and see how far I have come.
I know what it has given me and my family, and I will choose it again, every single day, for the rest of my life.
How can you carve out time in your schedule, today, to exercise? To find YOUR strength. Your faith. And your song.