Happy “Here”

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“Christians should be the happiest people on the face of the earth… we know where we are going!”

How many times have I heard that sentence rattled off by a suit and tie wielding leather-bound pages?

To say I’ve lost count would be an understatement.

“Blessed assurance”… “Certain ends”…. “Comfort in the chaos”.

Whatever you want to call it, Christ’s gift of eternal life is a high-end commodity for our lowly race of beggars.

It is such a commodity in fact, that it makes the entirety of the rest of our lives completely irrelevant.

Because there is no “messy middle” that compares to the glory of an eternity in Heaven with Christ.

Faithful Christians then, always rejoice.

Faithful Christians pull their shit together and sing of God’s goodness no matter what evils befall them.

Faithful Christians are not to fear even death itself.

And boy, did I ever want to be a faithful Christian…

At the age of 16, in reference to being terrified of failing my driver’s ed. test, I wrote:

“I didn’t want to pray a selfish prayer by asking God to help me pass, so I simply asked the LORD to help me handle every failure as a Christian should. Not by crying or by being angry, but by smiling and saying “I’ll just have to try again”.

It seems silly to me now that I thought the great and mighty God of the entire universe had a very vested interest in whether or not I passed my little test and in how I would handle not passing.

But, especially as a teenager, there was something addictive about the idea that every single last minutiae of my life not only mattered to someone, but that those minutiae were also preparing me for my “certain end” in Christ.

Talk about rude awakenings!

Nowadays, people keep asking me how I got “here”.

“Here” meaning “fallen off the straight and narrow” and “given over to my own evil desires” after being such a “light”.

“Here” meaning “spiritual, non-religious, and Agnostic”.

The truth is though, that I’m still asking myself the exact same thing.

Because the story can only be told in many pieces.

Pieces taken from little moments, from little fractures, from little lies, from little truths…

Pieces that sliced my palms and stitched up the wounds.

One of those pieces is called “happiness as faithfulness”.

In my mind, and in the minds of my community at the time, the day my hopelessness stole my joy was the day I betrayed the gift of Christ.

Losing my joy meant that, unlike my drivers’ ed. test, I had failed.

Because Christ is greater than grief.

If you keep your eyes on Christ, then pain should hold no power over your mind, your heart, or your body.

What does it matter how much pain you are in as long as you know your certain end?

How great can your suffering be when Christ’s and His martyrs’ were all the greater?

It is clear to me now the harm in these ideas.

Because no matter what, the blame would always be placed on my shoulders.

If I did not have joy, it was because I was not faithful.

If I did not feel comfort, it was because I did not pray earnestly enough.

If I did not have faith, it was because I didn’t meditate fervently on the scriptures day and night.

Even the fact that I had pain in the first place was my fault because I let something have a greater space in my heart than God.

When you’re a faithful Christian, there is no scenario in which the sinner is not in the wrong.

Because God and all of the ideas that He supposedly endorses, are perfect, righteous, and kind.

If He did not help me, it was because I did not deserve help.

Thanks to all of these extremely useful ideas about the world, I entered therapy nine months ago believing whole-heartedly not only that I was going to Hell, but also that I deserved to go there.

Although! I will say that God’s Hell didn’t scare me quite as much as it used to at that point because I had already been through my own.

I feel so sad for myself that, that was my reality.

Because I most definitely do not deserve to go to Hell.

I am a kind, compassionate, peaceful, and understanding person.

I would do anything for my friends and I have empathy for those people who have hurt me and for those I disagree with.

I am a 24-year-old young woman who loves fitness, writing, music, and nature.

I’m a vegetarian who’s been known to catch and release spiders instead of kill them.

I am funny, I am driven, and I am a good listener.

If there is a God out there who thinks I deserve Hell, then what does that say about Him?

Many of my friends are praying for my soul to this day, pleading with God that I would come back to my faith.

But, I am so much happier “here”.

I’m a better person now.

I’m stronger now.

I don’t want to go back to something that was making me so miserable.

I endured the pressure of it for 9 years of my life and I don’t see why anyone would wish that upon me again.

I may not know where I’m going anymore, but at least I know I’ll be free on my way there.

And that makes me feel whole.

 

There’s No “Right” Way to be Fit

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There’s no right way to be fit!

It’s true!

There are a million ways to be “fit” these days!

No one way to fitness is superior to any of the others.

And that’s because everyone has a unique body and everyone has different goals.

What works for one person, may not work for another.

And that’s honestly a beautiful thing.

Culture has a lot to do with shaping what the most popular way to work out is at any given time.

For example, back in the 80’s it was all about those cheesy Jazzercise videos! XD

Today, culture has us believing that the only way to be fit is to go to the gym and lift weights like a fiend.

But, this message couldn’t be further from the truth.

I learned this the hard way.

As much as I have absolutely despised living with chronic pain from an injury, it has done a lot for my perspective.

There was a period of time on my fitness journey when I had no choice but to stop all but very light activity.

I went from lifting and doing HIIT 6 days a week at the gym along with 4 days a week of practicing two different martial arts, to struggling to walk more than 5 minutes on a treadmill.

It was tough having to give up the things that I loved to do. But, my mindset around these necessary changes made an already upsetting situation, all the more difficult.

Thoughts like “If I’m not lifting, then it’s not really a workout” and “I’m not as fit as I used to be”, became the norm.

Looking back, that’s honestly a self-sabotaging outlook. Because it’s not that I wasn’t taking care of my body, it’s that I was taking care of it differently.

And it’s not that I wasn’t as fit as I used to be, it’s that I was working on a different kind of “fitness”.

The whole point of fitness is to enhance your life by improving your health, increasing your energy levels, and minimizing your pain while maximizing the things you can do.

The moment that your “fitness” begins to take away from your life and your happiness is the moment it stops being “fitness”.

So, if you ever find that you’re killing yourself to maintain a lifestyle and a routine, then it’s probably time to re- evaluate your goals.

Are you working out the way that you are because it’s what works best for YOU as you stand NOW, or are you just doing it because of an outside cultural expectation?

There is more to fitness than brute strength. To give you some ideas, you can work on things like:

-Form

-Explosiveness

-Endurance

-Flexibility

-Mobility

-Stability

-Balance

-Coordination

-Mind-body connection

– Posture

– Correcting Imbalances

The possibilities are completely infinite.

So!

So what if you hate the gym?

So what if you can’t lift as heavy as they can?

So what if you can’t keep up with those complicated looking Instagram workouts?

You can still be working on your fitness.

Whether it’s committing to walk for 30 minutes every day, or squeezing in some yoga on your lunch break, or taking a workout class.

All of your efforts are valid and equal on the journey to maintaining your health and enhancing your life.

Do something that you love, that you can stick with, and that makes you feel good!

Heck, maybe you’re even into some exercise kink like Jazzercise! XD

Or, if you’re NOT and you WANT to be, check out this Jazzercise compilation I found to get your feet wet!

Keep it Kinky y’all! There’s not just one way to work out.

 

So, What’s YOUR Super Power?

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“You are a woman; that is your superpower.” –Unknown

Happy International Women’s Day everyone!

This is honestly the perfect occasion for the re-launching my blog!

This day means so many things to so many different people…

I’m thinking of the women all over the world who are viewed as second-class citizens while still holding all of society squarely on their shoulders.

I’m thinking of any and every woman who has ever been made to feel like she needs to play it small.

Of the women who work so hard to minimize themselves for the sake of a culture that tells them women are to be skinny, quiet, and passive.

I’m thinking of the little girls who have wild, untamable, heart pounding dreams and vision for their communities who may never be given the education or the opportunity to make those dreams happen.

On this day, it is important I think, to reflect on my own privilege.

Being a white woman in North America, I have nearly endless opportunity for the kind of growth, success, and dream chasing that many women simply do not have.

I think on and acknowledge my privilege with the resolve not to waste it by playing small.

I have the unique ability to step fully into my womanhood and to use my feminine powers for the betterment of others.

The same is true for any woman who has access to this blog.

That ability is no small thing.

I have big dreams today.

I want to be a coach.

I want to create.

I want to travel and volunteer.

I want to build a life and a love that is the embodiment of who I am as a person.

I sit here in my settled little suburbia and I wonder, “How will I ever stop living a life I call “ordinary”?

And I know the answer in the very next breath- I will stop living in the ordinary when I begin to show up and live fully as the woman that I am without reserve.

That means taking action.

That means allowing for clumsiness and awkward phases.

That means using failure as a stepping-stone and not as a reason to quit.

I hope each of us will reflect on our dreams and opportunities today and begin to rise to the occasion that they warrant.

This was my first step to unlocking my superpower.

What will yours be?

Tell me about it in the comments!

If you need some inspiration, check out this link I’ve provided featuring 100 Quotes for International Women’s Day!