Catchy title right?
I grew up in a small town. And within that small town there were a few different school systems. You could attend the “big school” in town if you lived inside city limits, you might attend a Catholic school, or you might be one of the few townies who lived outside of city limits and attended the little rural school in the country. As in, 50 people that stick together from Kindergarten through senior year size. I remember when I went away to college so many people were shocked a school that tiny even existed.
Think Kenny Chesney “Back where I come from” ish. You know you want to listen to this CD all day now, you’re welcome 🙂 As I grew up in this small town and rural school district, athletics became a huge part of my life. I’m sure this is the case in many small towns because what else are you going to do? That’s why there are so many songs, movies and books dedicated to Friday night football, or small sports teams and huge victories, it’s a BIG deal and a huge part of the identity of so many kids growing up today. Luckily for me, I didn’t compete in sports because I felt there was nothing else to do, I truly loved it. I loved being a part of a team, challenging myself and competing. I participated in track, volleyball, softball, dance, cheerleading, gymnastics and soccer. My mom was awesome at allowing me to try anything and getting me to ALL the practices I needed to be at. The only sport I didn’t ever attempt was basketball, I like my personal space and couldn’t stand the thought of girls waving their hands in my face for an hour. But don’t get me wrong, I spent many nights shooting hoops with my dad and brother in the drive way and I cherished that time.
All sounds great right? Until you grow up and realize unless you are college or Olympic material, the day you graduate high school that entire life and identity is over. I don’t remember having a hard time with that because I always continued to be active, whether it was running, getting some gym time in with girlfriends or just hiking at the local state park. But I do remember that time period where you become a mama and your life is wholly consumed by your new family (as it should be) and as I adjusted many times I thought….”It stinks that there isn’t a way for adult women to participate in some type of a sport”. (Actually, I probably was thinking more along the lines of GET ME OUT OF THIS HOUSE) Now I know there are volleyball leagues and basketball, but honestly those are usually all men or co-ed because as women we just don’t give our physical health the care it needs. Because somewhere, between the period of being in high school and becoming an adult, we are led to believe that we should look perfect, feel happy, have successful families, and that none of these things should require any time or effort. Just look on the magazine rack of any store…”lose 20 pounds in a week”, “wear this lotion to look 10 years younger”. There isn’t an article that says “take at least 30 minutes a day, eat food that is made to maintain your health, love your family and it doesn’t matter what you look like, God made you perfect as you are.”
For me, and I’m going to guess most women, this can be a constant battle. But ladies let me tell you, if you want to be a better mommy, wife, friend or co-worker you’ve gotta find a way to take care of yourself. About a month ago, I started a Crossfit class and I have to tell you I was a bit nervous about it. I trained for a half marathon a few years ago and it completely took over my life. I spent all day and night thinking about it and every chance I got I would be working to fit in a run. I believe there is a time for training, but for me it can be a tricky balance figuring out how to go all in and not neglect your first priorities. I’m loving that for me Crossfit means I have a set time that I can attend and it’s not negotiable, I’m able to challenge myself and at the same be competitive with others. It’s not about being skinny, it’s not about looking perfect, it’s about taking care of your body and working to make YOUR body the best it can be. When I look at my body as a tool to complete what God has laid out for me, it makes perfect sense. If you’re given a car to drive to a destination you want it working perfectly don’t you? You aren’t so much concerned about the paint job or if other people look at it as it drives by, but you want it to get you to your destination efficiently and safely.
Now there’s a reason that last paragraph had a lot of “for me” phrasing in it. I wanted to give you an idea of what taking care of myself currently looks like and how it fits into my life but that works FOR ME. If taking care of your body looks like going for evening walks, do it, if it’s yoga, do it, if it’s an exercise DVD when you can squeeze it in, do it. Just know that you were given this body to take care of it and your worth isn’t based on what it looks like, your jean size, your weight, your measurements or anything else. You were worth more than you can ever imagine the moment you were created. Someone thought you were worth dying for and there is nothing you can do to change that. I just believe that the least we can do is take care of the bodies we were given by that Creator and use our experiences to encourage others. And hey, if you can find a class that reminds you a bit about a part of your life that you used to love and you can use it to your advantage….do that 😉
God gave us not a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7