Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What if my best really is good enough?

I have always struggled with feeling like what I have to offer is just short of being acceptable. I remember telling a counselor years ago that  I wish I could have a cheat sheet so I could see what people expected of me. That way I could specifically do that plus just a little bit more. I truly meant it. I had felt that way for a long time at that point; I felt like I was falling short. I didn't have any tangible proof that I was letting anyone down. People were not saying they were disappointed in what I was doing or who I was. I was just at a loss for accepting that what I had to offer was good enough. I felt like I was lacking.  I don't desire a cheat sheet anymore. I still struggle. But my focus has slowly shifted from looking to others opinions of me to what God says about me, how I feel about they way He made me, and the gifts I have been given.  While I have come a long way, my goal this year is to continue to get better at accepting myself and what I have to give. 

 I have gained some weight back, and have been struggling with shame because of it. I have't put a lot on. I am still in a size 8, but I am giving my jeans a workout of their own today. Truth is, I am just not comfortable at this weight. I am only 5 feet tall, so while a tight size 8 might be a great size for someone 5'6''or 5'8", it doesn't feel great on this frame. I was out of my typical routine for about a month or so between the holidays and a tight shoulder. I am working my way back into it. I hit a boxing or kickboxing class 5 mornings a week and have a strength workout put together to do after class. But, I have yet to get through a full workout after class. I have done about half. Somedays (like today), just a quarter. My first inclination is that is not good enough. It doesn't count. Fail. What I want is to be proud of what I do, instead of frustrated with what I don't. I should be proud of the fact that I have put together a good workout, and that I stayed after class today and knocked out 50 burpies, a super set of tricep extensions and bear crawls. Especially after the hour I spent working my tail off in Ozzie's class. 

Yes, there was more I could do, but there will always be more I can do. Doing more doesn't alter who I am. It may help me get the weight off faster, but I am pretty sure I don't get bonus points for doing this quickly. What I want to focus on is appreciating consistency. If I look at the big picture, it really doesn't matter if I stay for an hour after class working out, or a half an hour. My body will appreciate and respond to the time I put in. If my goal is to continue to build a balanced, healthy life, then I am right on track. Because even in the steps I take backwards here and there, I am learning about myself, and what I value and desire in my life. If I stay for only 30 minutes extra, but I have time to sit down and eat breakfast before I go to work, that is valuable. 

I make myself face the mirror in class when we are doing lunges, jumping jacks, squats, whatever. It is hard to do now because the weight I gained is obvious. I've got a wiggly tummy and thick legs. But, it is good for me to face what I don't like and realize that literally, what I am doing right that second is part of the solution. It is also good for me to face the truth that those extra pounds do not change who I am. Sadly, I was ashamed for my friends at the gym to see me.  Which is ridiculous, especially in light of what AWESOME people they are. Sure, it is possible that when they saw me they thought huh, Chris gained a couple of pounds over the holidays. Because, ummmm....I did.  I am confident that they would not have thought of me as a  failure, or less of a person, or unworthy because of that. It is important for me to remember to be as nice to myself as they are. When Jesus said in Mark 12:31 that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, there is an obvious assumption that God expects us to love ourselves. That is not being selfish. It is good to appreciate God's obvious care and love in the way he designed us. That is healthy.

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