I am not what you would call “outdoorsy”. I like being outside, going for walks around the park, sitting by the waterfront with my book. But I’m not “outdoorsy”. I have come to accept this about myself and while many of my closest friends identify themselves this way, I do not.
For the past eight months, transformation, change, challenge, and discipline have been a part of my life in a big way. And it has been like nothing I have ever experienced. Much of it has come from a dear friend who has found a gentle way of pushing me out of my comfort zone. And that’s just it, I don’t like feeling uncomfortable. I don’t like change, I don’t like failing or looking foolish. I don’t like trying things I may not be good at. It’s this thing called Perfectionism and I’ve dealt with it for many years. I hold back on things that seem adventurous because I’m afraid of the unknown. I like structure, predictability, and control.
This friend of mine understands this about me and relates in many ways. In her understanding, she has found a way to convince me that trying some scary things would, in fact, be okay. This began with exercise. Crossfit. “YEAH RIGHT” was my response. There was no way. But somehow, I was getting up at 5:45am to work out in the garage of her & her husband’s house. It was HARD. I was ridiculously out of shape and it showed. Instead of feeling foolish and disappointed in myself, I chose to feel proud about a positive change. This of course was encouraged by the others at the “I Street Gym”, as we called it. And slowly, I was actually becoming stronger. Next was the food challenge- 21 days without sugars or grains. Again, “YEAH RIGHT”. But by the grace of God, I managed to get through that too and even continued most of the eating habbits. This was the most structured and disciplined I have ever been in eating well and exercising regularly. And I felt good! Imagine that!
Next, the gym. Join the crossfit gym. You can guess my response- it was a bit more like this, “HELL. NO.” This would be a place where I would surely be the only girl who is out of shape and unable to do the exercises. Plus, the trainer wanted us to take measurements every month. Yeah, not interested. But, something crazy inside me made me decide to try it. And in some strange way, I liked it. The exercises were incredibly challenging (and that is an understatement), but they were difficult for everyone. I wasn’t alone. I didn’t feel like a fool. I felt like I could actually hang with the rest of the gym rats. And soon, I found myself there 4-5 days a week. Crazy.
And then, hiking. People from the gym are going. Oh no. This is where I draw the line. I am not “outdoorsy”, remember? I will lift weights at the gym till the cows come home, but I am not hiking. I don’t know what the trail will be like. Your version of an “easy hike” and mine will most certainly be different. It might be raining, it’s the day after “leg day” so I will be too sore, I have too much on my to do list for the weekend- I could come up with EVERY kind of excuse. But, I have pushed myself this far. I have been at this new gym consistently for three months and am seeing results! So this “easy hike” just might be do-able. It might actually be fun. And it might be awful. But most things I thought would be awful have been do-able and sometimes actually enjoyable. Okay, why not?
So I went for a hike with a group of people from the gym. Rattlesnake Ridge in North Bend, WA. Rated “easy and family-friendly”. Okay, a good place to start. I mean, I have been on a handful of hikes in the past, but I’m not “outdoorsy”. We got there and it was cold. Like low 40’s cold. And damp and muddy. But we started hiking and it was beautiful, so green and completely surrounded by trees. But then, my calves were burning, there was this heat in my chest, and I felt out of breath. I started to wonder why I agreed to this “outing”. But we kept walking, no stopping until we reached the top. I simultaneously thought, “I’m done with this” and “It’ll be worth it once we get to the top”. After an hour, we made it. And it was stunning. Breath-taking in a different way than the journey up. Four friends were already there and the fun began. We all laughed and talked, took pictures, ate snacks, and waited for the rest of the group. Okay, I may have been having a good time… wait, what?! I was having FUN on a hike?! An hour of being in the warm sun, with a crisp breeze, and a gorgeous view- that angst I was feeling may have been worth it. And the hike back down? Easy peasy.
Okay, so I did it. I’m doing it. Eight months of change, challenge, discipline. And crazy transformation. Transformation of my mind, my strength, my body. Not to mention, serious conviction that if I can be disciplined in these areas of my life, I can also be disciplined in reading God’s word and spending time with the Lord! Health and strength in all areas. What a journey it’s been. I write this only to give glory to God for the way He is challenging me to trust Him. To put my identity in Him, not in my abilities or inabilities. To realize the potential of this dwelling place He gave me. To be yet another reminder that I am not perfect, that I will fail, that things will not go my way- but His way, His grace, His goodness is so much greater. I don’t have to be “outdoorsy”. I can be strong, healthy, and choose to go on the “easy hikes” if I want to. This blog was titled “this adventure called life” five years ago. I hope to continue learning about adventure and choosing to participate in it. And thanks to Jesus, I’m learning to participate fearlessly.