So, I’ve told very few people but I’ve signed up for a half marathon in two weeks. Yikes. Yeah, I know. Bold move but we’re rolling with it. It was one of my 2019 goals and well, I was running out of time to put it off. Mike has graciously put together a plan for me that I’ve been following the past month and a half or so. On the agenda this morning? 10 miles. The farthest I had ever run prior to starting to “train” for this half was 8 miles. Before that? Never run more than 5 miles I think. Anytime I had a longer run, I tried to find a podcast that I could listen to. Tim Ferriss has been my jam on those long runs but I was finding myself just in a funky head space. This morning Mike recommended a playlist to listen to so I threw it on and got lost in the music. It allowed my mind to wander and it helped me focus on the run, how I felt, what I felt lifting off my shoulders with every step.
The past couple weeks have felt heavy and I think listening to podcasts was just adding more onto my shoulders. Like, can I just pick one self-improvement thing to focus on at a time? (The answer is “no I cannot”). I’d end my runs with a slew of interesting things I wanted to share with Mike and some new thing I wanted to try to implement to continue to strive towards bettering my life. Yes, that’s a good thing. No, it’s not a good thing all the time. I’ve needed my runs to be my “zone out” time. I’ve needed my runs to lighten the weight on my shoulders, not add to it.
I was talking with a dear friend of mine earlier this week. We were texting back and forth, catching up on life and how sometimes we can appear “okay” on the outside but internally we feel like hot messes. When I asked “why,” she put it beautifully:
We were the first group who were supposed to be CEOs who cooked dinner, went to spin, then played with our perfect children and then put on [Instagram] about how #blessed we are with perfect family photos on vacation. So we kill ourselves at work and feel bad if we aren’t perfect there and don’t fit that social timeline…but damn it we keep trying. Never stop to breathe, or talk, or have an extra cup of coffee. Never go to bed early or turn off social media or tell the job no. Always feel like we’re too much and not enough at the same time.
She ended it with “but that’s just me.” I think that’s just, well, most people. Put in a predisposition to hate anything less than perfection and you’re in for a beating. I think there’s a time and a place to be intense and driven and focused. I also think there’s a time to lace up your shoes, throw on some Chainsmokers, and run like Phoebe.
I adore Rachel Hollis and loved Girl, Wash Your Face but I don’t think the answer is to simply put on our big girl panties and “work harder”. I think this is especially true of those who work in fields in which we are giving so much of ourselves to others. Sometimes I need a reminder to plant my bottom on my couch and binge watch Friends for the 50th time. In a social-media driven society that is constantly showing us what we’re not and what we should be striving for, I think we need to remember that however we are now is okay. I know, that words makes me cringe too. I don’t like the word okay. I don’t want to just be okay. I find it comforting to think that just because I’m not where I want to be doesn’t mean I’m not where God wants me to be.
My sweet friend, Jess, and I have been texting back and forth about tattoos. (I know, sorry Dad.” I sent her a picture of one that says, “Here I am, send me”. As I explained why I wanted that, she said, “Oh I knew exactly why you picked that one.” To be honest, I’m tearing up just thinking about that. It’s probably one of the scariest things I’ve done, listening for God to tell me what’s next. Mike told me I’d hear God while I was out here. He was right. I’m just such a good planner and I have an incessant need to be informed about what’s next. Trusting is hard. Throwing up my hands and saying, “alright God, send me” is frightening. It’s not easy being “okay” when all you want is more from yourself and others (hello, Enneagram Type 1). I can’t help but imagine, 30 years down the road, looking back and thinking I wish I had stopped striving so much. I wish I sat in that season of life.
Easier said than done, huh? I think a huge part of this is finding others that remind us we are enough. Thank God for Mike. On a daily basis he talks me off a ledge as I go on and on about not being where I want to be in, well, every aspect of my life. I think it takes time, adjustment, and learning to not rely on a partner for constant reassurance–I think that deep reassurance can only come from God. It is helpful, however, having someone that says, “I see you where you are and I love this version of you. I see you where you want to be and I love that version of you, too. But however you are right now, in this moment with me, that’s who I love the most.”
In my mind, God sees it the same way. He probably watches us, constantly chasing “more” and I imagine it would sadden Him. “But Danielle,” He’d say, “can’t you see the magic around you right now?” Then He’d kick up His feet, crack open His beer, and watch me try to figure out what He has next. (I’ve told you before—God is a beer-drinkin’ dude in my head).
While it’s hard in the age of Instagram “influencers” and “the next big thing” to sit in the now, it’s a disrespect to our God who has given it to us. It’s a disservice to those who need us present in this time, because they need and deserve all of us.
So we should all go run like Phoebe and sit in the “now”. Enjoy the extra cup of coffee. Pet the cute, wild pup of ours for a few minutes longer. Tell our partner “I love you” five more times before we go to bed. Thank God for the time He has given us by enjoying it as much as we can, not wishing it away.