Two phrases run through my mind today. “You do you” and “Just show up.” Embracing the mantra “you do you” has not been easy for me because I tend toward absolutes. No excuses! Work harder! But I have grown to really appreciate it and whole-heartedly endorse individual approach to growth!
I love Barre3. This week I was able to resume my regular workout routine after a two week break due to sinus surgery. I really love that it isn’t about getting skinny or building six pack abs or a beach body – even though a person might. It’s about being strong, healthy and the best version of me. The emphasis is that I am perfect just like I am. (Did you know that imperfect = i’m perfect? Sweet, huh!) The emphasis in every workout is “you do you!” I love it!
The other day my daughter asked if I wanted to join a Sugar Free January challenge. I checked it out and decided I would do it. One of the greatest draws to me is that her guidelines for the challenge are very fluid and she emphasizes “you do you.” That sealed it for me.
Here’s the clincher for both of these growth opportunities. I have to show up. If me doing me is sitting on my sofa claiming one of the millions of reasons I have for not exercising or eating right then I will never see the changes I desire in my body! I have to show up.
The same thing applies to changes we desire in other areas of our lives. Learning a new skill, growing spiritually, living with more joy and peace, being a great parent, overcoming a bad habit – whatever it is. It’s important to find a way to access these changes in a way that honors who we are as individuals but many of us are so busy embracing “you do you” that we fail to show up.
In my Daily Reads for Monday, I asked the question, “Where do you need to show up?” We don’t all need to show up for the same thing. Perhaps parenting teens is getting the best of you and tapping out for a year or two sounds good about now. JUST SHOW UP! It might be that food is strangling you rather than feeding you and saying “no” to the extra helping of lasagna or the seven layer chocolate cake seems impossible. JUST SHOW UP! Whatever it may be, we get to decide how badly we want it. And then we need to show up!
What does it mean to show up? First, it doesn’t mean trying harder. Trying harder results in losing heart and giving up before we get very far. In 2000, I decided I needed to add exercise into my daily routine. I started by walking every day with a friend. She started talking to me about learning to run (she was a runner) and before long I wanted to run.
About a month later my husband and I were the speakers at a young adults retreat. During a break one of the attendees said she was going for a run and asked if I wanted to go along. Well, I desired to run so I was sure I could do it. Yes! I would go. Off we went down the gravel road to the highway. She ran at a pretty good clip and I managed to keep up for the first half mile or so. Then I started to lag behind. She didn’t slow down and moved further and further ahead of me.
I had never run before so I soon resorted to walking as I watched her disappear over the horizon. Now I was in a dilemma. I was on a highway I had never been on before in the middle of nowhere by myself. I decided to turn around and go back to camp. I felt two things – humiliated and afraid.
I soon turned on the gravel road leading back to camp feeling quite vulnerable when I heard a car coming behind me. Terrified, I scampered off the road into the woods and started pushing through the briers and brambles toward the sound of the campers playing volleyball.
It wasn’t long until I reached the clearing where the others were playing games. I popped out of the woods, cut and bruised and tried to nonchalantly join the others, blending in as if I had been there all along. But inside I was humiliated. Trying harder to keep up with an experienced runner didn’t work. Wanting it didn’t translate into success.
In order to be a successful runner, I needed to show up. Showing up meant I didn’t try harder, I trained wisely. And that’s what it means to show up. I train wisely.
How do we train wisely? It means arranging our lives around activities that enable us to grow muscle in the areas we want to develop. I wanted to be a runner. That meant every day I hit the road running and I kept track of how far I ran. And every day I ran a little farther. A few months later, I ran my first 5K and the next year I ran my first half marathon.
The same is true for every other area of change we might desire. My daughter told me the other day that parenting is exhausting. And her daughter is only two. But I see them being consistent in the little things like teaching her to say “No thank you” when she doesn’t want you to do something rather than screaming “No!” Finding some good reads on parenting and implementing the principles in a consistent manner translates into successful parenting.
Remember, you don’t have to do it alone. Sharing with someone else helps lighten the load and provides support and accountability. I had a running partner for most of the years I ran. But even more helpful to me is the time I spend talking to Jesus about my desires. He helps me to focus on what is truly important and gives me strength and joy to continue the journey.
Any kind of change requires discipline and maybe even some soreness. Getting up earlier, researching new recipes, consistency with a two year old – it won’t always be pleasant. But the dividends are out of this world.
So, you do you! But in order to do that, you need to show up. Bring what you have and get ready to grow. Don’t worry about doing it like anyone else ’cause you are going to do you and I am going to do me. And God will honor all of it. Remember, he doesn’t despise small beginnings (Zechariah 4:10). He’s just thrilled to be on this journey called life with you. He has some really exciting things in store and I, for one, don’t want to miss a single moment!
Until next time…
May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.Numbers 6:24-26