Progress

We live in a social media, digital world where we can see into the lives of people in a matter of seconds- their picture perfect world compared to ours looks wildly different. We see results, we romance results, we compare results–we are obsessed with results!! We place  a high value on overnight successes and one hit wonders and under value the grind, the struggle, the everyday ordinary choices, the hard work that’s necessary to yield the results we wish to achieve.

A little background story about me… I’ve always been athletic and pretty disciplined when it has come to my health. I enjoy running and being active. After having twins, I was able to get back into pre baby (babies) weight in a few months. Fast forward a few years and gave birth to my son just 8 days before giving birth to a spiritual child, LOL and launched our church, Influence Culture. That year was a whirlwind, trying to adjust to life with three children and a new church. So, unlike my first experience, I wasn’t back to my pre baby weight. In fact, I was heavier than I had ever been, more tired than ever and just plain exhausted. So, as we sang happy birthday to my son and our church, I knew it was time for change.

So, I started working out in my apartment complex’s gym (so boring, by the way) everyday, getting up and doing the very unattractive, not so very exciting workout. I started to adjust my eating and you know , more boring stuff. I didn’t take any pills, I did however look up a tummy tuck a time or two and realized that’s outta my budget, haha! I didn’t do any miracle shakes, I just did boring stuff, everyday. There were days I ate too much, had pizza one too many times in a week and didn’t feel like any of it was worth it. My goal was to not start over every Monday, but to keep going. So I did.

I kept going.

I set a goal weight (success) That I wanted to achieve after one year-I didn’t achieve that goal… but I kept going. I hit hard seasons, experienced bad days, but I kept going. I knew that although I hadn’t given up, I wasn’t seeing my desired results because there were areas where I needed to be more disciplined and more intentional.

October of this past year, I stepped it up and began to be more intentional and more disciplined,  not starting over, but taking the next step.

One day, someone recognized this change and asked, “what have you been doing? You look like you’ve lost a lot of weight?” I replied, “You know the boring stuff-eating better and working out.” They were uninterested in a matter of seconds. Even more so when they found out it had almost been a two year journey. Haha!

Fast forward to stepping on the scale for the past three weeks and not seeing the weight change. I’ve been working out 5-6 days a week, getting up at 4:25 AM in order to workout before my day begins. I’ve been working hard, but not seeing results on the scale.

This past week when I stepped on the scale, I had a moment–results are out of my control, but, progress is not. I need to de romanticize (is that a word) my relationship with results and start falling in love with the progress, the process. I know, more boring stuff!

Yes, my body weight on the scale isn’t changing currently, but I am making progress. I can run longer and faster and I can lift heavier weights.  Yes, my tummy still has a lot of stretched skin (thank you twins!!) and my arms still move too much when I waive (thank you Jett) but I’m making progress.

We want a hail marry, game ending touch down, but we only need a few first downs and we are going to earn ourselves 6 points on the board.

The same is true as I am looking at other areas where I want to see results. Our church, for example is in a new season, and boy do I have some expectations! Expectations aren’t bad, but I need to re evaluate what success means to me. Progress doesn’t always feel and look like progress, but when you change your perspective, you begin to see progress loud and clear.

Progress collects compound interest–over time we not only achieve those desired results but we shatter those barriers!

I read something this week that spoke to me and reminded me about this very thing.

“Success is not sexy. It’s sweaty!
Success is not glamorous. It’s gritty!”

-Mark Batterson from the book, “Chase the Lion.”

Um, HELLO! How true is that?!

I didn’t give you the play by play to show you how awesome I am (because I’m not) and I surely don’t plan to start my own fitness instagram (you’re welcome)  haha! But, I wanted to encourage you that whatever it is that you are wanting to achieve, to get a vision in your heart and get to work! Keep showing up, keep doing the boring, not so awesome things. STOP looking at results and start measuring progress. Anyone can fantasize about results, but it takes true heart and mental toughness to get excited about progress.

When you get excited about progress you realize that your desired goal isn’t a destination but a moving target. Every time you inch your way towards it, it moves forward–as it should.

Are you facing discouragement or frustration because you aren’t seeing the results you wish to see? I encourage you to take a deep breath and do a little inventory, place the value on progress!

I know, boring stuff… but it will get you there, one decision at a time,  I promise.

These two pictures were taken exactly two years a part. I know, boring stuff…. but I’m going to keep making progress.

Personal Record

This morning, I ran a personal record, clocking in one mile at 7 minutes and 32 seconds and I’m pretty excited about it! Personal records are supposed to be exciting- they are your best, so far!

I wasn’t the only person in the room who hit a PR. When our coach asked the group if anyone hit a PR, many hands went up. It was motivating and exciting to see that others hit a personal record as well.

When I got home, I saw that my friend also hit a personal record during her one mile run this morning! I immediately texted her to celebrate. She and I ran our best today, even though we didn’t run the same. 

I didn’t have to ask her for her time to know that she CRUSHED it because comparing her results with mine was and is irrelevant. Her running a 5 minute and 54 second mile (heyyyo!!!) took nothing away from my 7 minute and 32 second mile.

She owned her mile and I owned mine. 

In life, we are called to own our mile, to train better, work harder, run faster than our last time. While we work to earn our best, we are to encourage and cheer others on as they do the same. We are all in the same race and called to run with endurance, but we are not supposed to run the same. You and I are not experiencing the same season–some of you are further along in your journey than I am, and maybe I am further along in my journey than you are.

What matters most, is that we get better.

I know it can at times feel deflating when in one moment you feel like you had a victory, but compared to the person next to you, it quickly becomes a defeat–but it’s not my friend! The enemy of our lives wants to discourage you-he wants you to believe the lie that you are losing, that you are not measuring up… but listen to me, YOU ARE WINNING!

You are winning every time you decide to try again, every time you take on the challenge, put in the work and do the hard things that are before you. 

Our focus needs to be input minded not outcome driven. What do I mean? We live in a culture that celebrates the results, we celebrate the outcomes and then we hold ourselves to that standard-when we don’t achieve that outcome, we experience defeat. What we should focus on is input work–we can always measure our try, our passion, and our time we put into that goal or the ceiling we are trying to shatter.

Where do you feel like you’re losing? I encourage you to not compare what you are experiencing to others, but instead focus on your best. I know, when you do, you’ll realize very quickly that you are winning!

If you are not experiencing victory, I want to also encourage you to examine your input work–are you putting in the time and the work that you need to in order to get better?

 

 

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!

1 Corinthians 9:24

 

I’d love to hear from you and your experience! Are you a runner? What’s your personal best?

 

Please comment below & share your story. I’m cheering you on, friend!!

 

Rest

We need rest. I know, there’s a lot to do, people to see, places to go–I know all about the never ending piles of laundry, the grocery store trips (yes trips.. it’s never just one) I know about the dream in your heart, the to-do list and the 14 school projects that we can’t avoid or neglect. I know about the full time job and side hustle, trying to make ends meet or pay for that desired family vacation.  Oh and don’t forget about the kids-they need to eat and bathe every once in a while too, you know… I get it,  I’m right there with you.

All the more, we need rest.

Rest has been etched into our beings since creation. God himself demonstrated rest when he chose to work for six days and rest.

If you’re like me, you can easily associate or misunderstand rest for being lazy. Or maybe you just don’t see how you can ever truly rest. So, I hear you when you start to think-here we go again, another blog about the benefits of rest, blah, blah.

But, that’s not what I am going to do.. I just want to commission you, remind you and encourage to rest, more.

Our bodies, our minds and our souls were created to respond to a pattern or work and rest. So, when we don’t intentionally decide to rest, we quit.

Rest is not abandoning our  calling or taking steps back in the name of rest, that called  quitting. Resting is a rhythm and counter part to working–they go hand in hand.  Rest doesn’t make life more convenient and easier, it fuels you and replenishes you to continue.

Rest reveals a lot about who we are and what controls us- it exposes the idols in our lives. What we are not able to unplug from has more control over us than we think.

Rest reminds us that He is God and we are not. God works in our rest. He fills in, makes better and multiplies what we offer in our rest. Our ability to not do, shows that we are not doing these things in our own strength, but in His strength. It takes great humility to rest (sabbath).

We must be intentional and fight for rest. On my “rest days” I was finding myself, doing laundry, running to the grocery store, cleaning and preparing for our week. I thought, just because I stayed in my pajamas I was resting. But I was not… I was working in pajamas (something I wish I could do more, haha).

I have been asking God to give me divine strategy and insight to work more effectiently and effectively so that I can rest more effectiently and effectively.

Each of our lives are different, so I won’t try and attempt to give you the 9 ways to get more rest–but I will encourage you to seek God and ask Him. He will show you!! Why? Because rest is a part of His purpose for your life. God not only demonstrated a sabbath, but He blessed it and made it holy. He set aside a day for you and I to stop and acknowledge that all that we have, everything we do, belongs to Him. When we sabbath, we routinely place our confidence and our hope back into the hands of Jesus. We work 6 while the world works 7.

Something practical and helpful I began doing was-determining what were my “big rocks” / the things that are non negotiables in my life. For me they are: time with Jesus, my husband, my family,  gathering with others of faith (church) and working out… I began placing these items on my calendar and then I began adding REST to that list of non negotiables. Before I schedule coffee with a friend, or RSVP to a birthday party, I schedule in rest.

When something is on my calendar it’s off my mind and no longer something I’m considering or trying to make happen. I was finding myself exuding so much energy trying to think of when, where and how am I going to rest–how ridiculous, I know!

What kind of things have you done to assure that you get rest? How have you made rest a part of your life-rhythm?

Maybe you don’t even know if you’re truly getting rest-what do you think is your biggest rest stealer?

Whoever you are, however hard you are working, whatever you are trying to accomplish in the hours you have been given-be sure to rest, ok? It’s not only important and good for you, but it’s a commandment from God.

Homerun.

This morning while at work, I received a text from my husband stating, ” Bad Dad award goes to…. THIS GUY!” He was talking about himself and how today was Jett’s Dr. Seuss party–the kids were supposed to dress in green and we were supposed to bring Hawaiian rolls (it’s our go-to on the sign up) for the party, later today.

This week was Dr. Seuss week at the kid’s schools– Each day, doing something fun in celebration of him. Whether it was wacky sock day, mustache day or today, green shirts and party!

My immediate response to my DADDY OF THE YEAR husband was, ” NO WAY, you deserve all the amazing awards… you can’t hit homeruns in everything.”

I know we want to, so badly–but the reality is that we aren’t going to knock it out of the park everytime we get up to bat. Some days we are going to have a homerun dinner, or make it to school on time three days in a row, we might remember to put our kid in a green shirt, and we might remember the Hawaiian rolls for the party. But we won’t knock it out of the park every time.

And, that is OK.

Knowing that we won’t hit a homerun in every area (work, school, marriage,parenting, friendships, etc) frees us from guilt, worry and the constant desire to be driven by what’s demanding us of our time, attention and money. Understanding that we aren’t meant to hit a homerun in every area allows us to run at our own pace and focus on the areas that deserve our best.

My husband didn’t remember the Hawaiian rolls, and Jett didn’t go to school in his green shirt, but my husband woke up earlier all week long to make me and the kids fresh pressed juice, (yes you read that right.. fresh freaking pressed juice…and I’m not talking OJ. I’m talking ginger, kale, carrots, apples pears.. you get the picture, now) pack their lunches and kiss us all goodbye for the day. He fixed things around the house, hugged our babies, and he told me I was pretty, many, many times… he did all of this while leading our church and preparing everything and everyone for a BIG move.

Those are some serious homeruns, some serious RBI’s (google it if you’re not a baseball fan, lol). That’s where it counts.

So, if you are trying to knock it out of the park in all things, and beating yourself up for it, take a breath and remember, you aren’t meant to, and that is ok!

 

 

Happy New Year!

I love wishing people a Happy New Year even after being a few weeks into the month. There’s something about keeping the reality that it is a new year fresh in our minds and hearts that keeps us on track with all that we have set out to do, accomplish and become.

I’m not one to set New Years resolutions, but I do take time to pray, to seek God and ask Him, “What do you have for me his year? How can I love & serve, well?  I pray that He would give me eyes to see and ears to hear all that He wants to reveal to me. I pray that I would be immovable in His promises and flexible with His process & timing. I find myself with a verse from the Bible, a statement and even a word that I anchor in my heart for the days to come.

At about September of this year, I was finished–finished with 2016 and all that it had been for me. It wasn’t the year that I expected to live out, one that I wasn’t hoping for or anticipating. I wanted OUT. As I began to seek God, search within myself and pretty much beg God to GET ME OUT OF THIS YEAR, He showed me something better.

In the middle of my tears, snot (you know that kind of cry), my clenched fists and defeated posture, I had a BLOG moment. I wanted to GET OUT of this year but God asked me, “Sarah, What will YOU GET OUT of this year?”

I know it was a process He had been taking me through, but in a moment I saw it differently. Life can be hard, situations can be difficult and seasons can be dry–when those times come, our first response is usually to want out.

Rather than asking WHEN can we get out of it, we should be asking WHAT can we get out of it.

When we search for what we can learn, understand and grow from in the midst of our trouble, our pain carries a purpose. The truth is, our God IS a deliverer and HE will deliver us OUT of dry and tough seasons, but it’s up to us to get something OUT of it.

So many people wish to forget the passing year–burry it, burn it and even throw it away. But God doesn’t work that way. Although He makes ALL things new and desires for us to look forward, He builds on what we have experienced, walked through and even learn from. As much as I wanted to leave 2016 in the dust, I knew I needed to take some things with me.

I’m thankful for all that I walked through and experienced in 2016, the good and the bad. I don’t say that because it’s over, I say that because in September, while I begged Him to get me out, He gave me eyes to see what I could GET OUT of it all. In the middle of “that year” things shifted in me.

This understanding allowed me to finish the year in strength and walk into a new year with momentum and a renewed perspective.

What are you hoping to forget from 2016 that God is asking you to remember?