Yesterday while my son took a nap, I found some time to be still in God’s presence. I have experienced being still in God’s presence before and I have always come away feeling a little bit more grounded in reality afterwards. Sometimes I have “Ah-hah” moments, but most of the time it’s kind of like sitting in a peaceful box of nothing and everything. This is going to sound weird, but when I sit there I almost feel like a plant: still, yet intentional; not moving, but filled with purpose. I am rooted into the ground. Birds and squirrels come so close because I am so still and quiet. I am aware of their presence, but it doesn’t distract me from my stillness or my purpose. I can feel the rays of the sun dancing across my skin and it delights me; energizes me. I can breathe deep and slow and my breath spreads through my body; not just inflating my lungs but energizing every little space. And the breath seems to heighten my senses without making me jittery or anxious like caffeine has a tendency to do. It is only when I am rooted and healthy and surrounded by light that I can bloom to my fullest beauty and so I root, I breathe, I allow myself to be healed, and I delight in the light, for there is a hope yet unseen, but for certain, I will bloom.
But yesterday wasn’t like that. I could not stay awake. My neck felt like it was trying to support a giant bowling ball instead of a head. I felt empty, done, exhausted. Usually, I get lost in my breath; no thoughts, just breath, but I kept starting awake once I started to dream and my bowling ball head would crash into my chest. And just for a moment the enemy whispered, “failure.” I was so tired I couldn’t even be still in the presence of my Lord. My Lord wanted to sit with me and I could not remain awake, I was just like the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane- falling asleep when I should be experiencing His presence.
I heard God speak, “Even Jesus slept.”
This is not an excuse to always sleep instead of spending time with God, but for this specific experience God actually encouraged me to sleep. I felt like a child resisting a nap because I wanted to explore and learn and grow, but God was willing to hold me as I slept and delight in my presence just as a mother does with her child. And I slept.
I had become a plant whose roots had withered and yet I kept trying to put my energy into blooming. I had a beautiful bud with the promise of a giant bloom, but my weak root system could not sustain the bud, and the bigger the bud became the more the weight of it bent me over myself and pulled my roots further out of the ground. But now God was lifting my fragile body up off the ground. He pruned me down and replanted my roots into the soil. He watered my parched, lifeless, body and sang over me as I rested in His care.
When my son woke from his nap, I did too. I felt refreshed and energized. I felt good. Not just good physically, but I felt like I was full of goodness. It was out of this goodness that I was encouraged to work out.
Earlier that day I had tried to motivate myself to workout with one of my gazillion workout DVDs. But I was dry, exhausted, and done. For a moment I reverted back to old ways and tried to shame myself into working out.
“You’re tired because you are out of shape and to get in shape you need to work out. So, stop being a little bitch and do it!”
But I couldn’t do it. I found myself flipping through my mental rolodex of workouts and just becoming frustrated and irritated with myself.
“21 Day fix workout? Nah, Autumn always says, ‘you can do anything for 60 seconds’ and it always makes me feel really bad about myself because I have to stop so many times.”
“Jillian Michaels workout? Nah, she only has pretty and really in shape people in her videos and I find myself playing the comparison game the whole time.”
“Yoga? Nah, that is my worship time and I hate it when I turn it into workout time and feel obligated to cram more stuff into my practice than what is necessary. And then I feel guilty because my focus is on myself instead of God.”
I’m not even sure what I did instead of working out, but all I know is I definitely did not work out. But after my nap, I was full of goodness, rested, and energized! And it wasn’t the DVDs that called for my energy…it was the park. All of a sudden I wanted to take my son to the park, I wanted to work out, but I wanted to take him on an adventure. It was different then me just working out in my living room while he wandered around me and climbed over me; which by the way is a totally acceptable way to work out, and will most likely still be a go to for me, but this day was so vibrant and different and full of goodness and adventure. It was like I had taken a giant gulp of Felix Felicis (Harry Potter reference). My goal was not to workout but instead to expel the energy that I could not contain in my body. I can’t even explain it, it doesn’t make sense in my head why I would suddenly feel this way after praying and PRAYING for this type of motivation for years and never receiving it. And now, all I did was sleep when God told me to and I was ready to go?! But, at that point I didn’t really care why I was motivated, just that I was motivated.
Actually, it does make sense. Because before I was praying that I would be motivated to work out with the intention of being beautiful. But when I listened to God and slept I let go of my fleshly drive for beauty and held onto his eternal provision and guidance.
As I walked to the park, a simple workout came to mind. I’m actually very nervous about posting this workout because I am far from perfect and I fear internet trolls. I just want to say that I am fully aware that this workout may not be balanced, I may not have perfect form, and I am not claiming to have the answers and best workouts. I am in no way a professional, but, God asked me to share this, so I will.
This is not about confidently showing off my perfectly sculpted athletic figure. This is about discovering the capabilities of my very own body.
This is not about boasting of the quantity of reps I can achieve. This is about using my creativity to encourage others and share ideas.
This is not about my amazing filming skills. This is about doing it imperfectly (not on purpose…but just because I’m human and it happens…) and not losing my head over the fact that I’ve lost my head in half of these shots.
This is not about me having all the answers. This is about me honestly sharing my journey with you; even if that means I publicly make a mistake. I truly believe God can redeem anything and He is way bigger than my mistakes!
Anyways, here it goes. Here is a quick 20 minute workout that can be done at the park, you know, because #momlife. Adjust the reps for your body, this is just an example.
Don’t Lose Your Head Workout
Warm-up: Walk to the park (or around it if it’s too far away and you have to drive)
Circuit 1: Monkey Bars
Assisted Pull-ups (10 reps)
Oblique Ups (5 reps each side)
Horizontal Pull-Ups (5 reps)
High Knees (100 reps)
Repeat the entire circuit
Circuit 2: Bench or Platform
Box Jumps (10 reps)
Jumping Jacks (100 reps)
Lunges (12 each side)
Sumo Squat Jacks (50 reps)
Repeat the entire circuit
Circuit 3: Bench or Platform
Seated Dips (10 reps)
Elevated Plank, Knee to Elbow (10 Reps each side)
Push-ups (10 Reps)
Burpees (10 Reps)
Repeat the entire circuit
Cool Down: Walk home
Here is a cute little video of my son laughing as I worked out.
And let me tell you, it was so much easier to push myself when the goal was to hear my son’s laugh instead of thinking of my own desire for beauty. How cool?!