The beginning of my run is always the same. “I Can Handle it” blaring on my headphones. Running uphill. It’s kind of a bummer to always start on the uphill, but you know what? I don’t go into the hill afraid. Pastor Furtick’s voice in my ears and his message, “Faith doesn’t take the fear away. It teaches me to fight it,” are what spur me onward and upward. When he comes in with, “I know my help comes from above, so if fear insists on knocking, I’ll meet it at the door…The lion may roar, but I see his leash, so I keep moving forward, cause I’ve been down before but my hope knows how to bounce back from rock bottom” and finally, “I’m…
Bring it on, in his name, I can handle it,” are like my lifeline on the uphill battle.
This song is what gets me up the hill. It is also what pushes me forward to the top of mile one. Because once mile one is under my belt, the rest is cake. The endorphins kick in. The runner’s high is at its peak. I have too much skin in the game to quit. And so for the two or three or sometimes even four more miles that accumulate, I am on autopilot. My legs are moving, as if on their own, as I pound the pavement, and as I process everything life has thrown at me.
Life is tough. Relationships, money, teenagers, jobs, chores, household duties, grades, projects, social media, parenting, vacations, budgets, teenagers (oh, did I already mention teenagers?), due dates, bills, laundry…it goes on and on.
Some people meditate. Some people have quiet times. Some people do yoga. And while I do all of these things, too, they are not the things I do to process the above. Running is my jam, and it is the time when I experience the most ah-ha moments.
Like the one I had the other day, after a long and difficult stretch of higher than normal stress.
My husband’s company has gone through a lot of reorganization this year, and it has been tough on him. It has added a layer of stress on top of the normal every day stress that is life. And while he was processing it all, I got in the way and got my feelings hurt because a lot of the times his stress was not about me, and I tried to make it about me. I learned a lot by walking through the pain alongside him. Sometimes I handled it well, sometimes I did not. The amazing thing is that now that I am on the other side, I have a unique perspective about the pain.
My very brilliant and amazing friend, Kelly shared with me the coolest thing about feelings. You remember the game, “Going on a Bear Hunt?” In this game, you’re hunting a bear, but you keep encountering obstacles that you can’t seem to bypass, you just have to go through…
Chorus: We’re going on a bear hunt…We’re gonna catch a big one… Uh-oh! A forest! A big dark forest. We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh no! We’ve got to go through it! Stumble trip! Stumble trip! Stumble trip!
You see, I had been stumble tripping through the past month. Feeling all the yucky feelings of my husband going to bed before me because he just needed the day to end. Of him hopping on another plane because he was putting in extra hours and working double-time. Of him being too tired to help me make plans to do something fun on the weekend. I was GOING THOUGH IT.
But what I learned from Kelly is the importance of allowing myself to go through it. I was tempted to run away (and believe me sometimes I followed that temptation), to escape the painful feelings of sadness I felt for my husband’s sadness and stress. But when I stayed in the moment and let it wash over me, I learned the importance of staying. I learned he needed me to stay.
What are you processing that you need to stay in, in order to learn something? In order to come out on the other side stronger, better, hopeful, resilient, dependent, courageous?
I dare you to go on a bear hunt.
To GO THROUGH IT.
Running is my go-to when I need to process something. But, I’m not running away, because I always know my limits. I always know just how far I can go before I need to turn back and head home. Before I run out of strength, determination, and the courage I’ll need to make the return trip. I am running through it, only to return, bathed in sweat, with renewed commitment to my goals, and an appreciation for the process that I must go though.
Bring it on. In His name. I can handle it.
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