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Just Because You Can...

When it comes to working out, I’m not a fan of cardio, especially on the treadmill or the elliptical. I get bored too easily and honestly have a hard time keeping a decent pace up. I usually end up doing it halfheartedly and it ends up being a waste of my time. But I love hiking and jogging outside, more specifically on trails.

Last week I was on my favorite trails and ended up doing a loop so the hills that were ascending the first half, and quite daunting for my asthmatic 37 year old heart, were a breeze on the way back. There’s one place in particular that tries to kill me each time I go up it, but I found myself having a blast and picking up some decent speed on the way down, until I noticed how my knees were starting to hurt. I have had knee issues for about 15 years now. I came by them honestly by inheriting them from my dad, but being very overweight and sedentary for most of my 20’s just made them worse. I’ve learned through avoiding certain foods and adding certain exercises how to take care of them so they pretty much go unnoticed, until days like last Saturday when I stupidly find myself bounding down the side of a mountain. At one point you would have thought I was doing my best gazelle impression. Not only did I have the downward momentum but I have some amazing trail running shoes that have a crazy effective grip on them. It was no shock that my knees were starting to hurt, but it did take a few times of bounding down the descent in front of me to acknowledge that I needed to take them at a slower paces. Anyone who has any kind of breathing issues can relate to how much fun it is when you can get some speed built up without feeling like your lungs are on fire. To be honest, it has taken me years to figure out what kind of workouts leave me feeling empowered and not defeated. Cardio classes do nothing for my self esteem but yoga leaves me feeling like a rockstar. The same goes for for lifting because I am naturally strong. When I find something that encourages me, I stick to it and because I know I can get better results.

Isn’t it that way for a lot of things in life: we gravitate towards the things that empower us and shrink back from what leaves us with a feeling of defeat? College was one of the things that left me feeling defeated, so when I finally quit at the age of 21 I felt like a failure in a lot of ways. I had almost resigned to a future where academics was out of the question. It’s not because I was dumb, in fact I went into university with a full ride scholarship. I’m just not a traditional classroom learner. Then I discovered YWAM and their School of Biblical Studies Core Course. It was part lecture and part hands on, and it was hard. It was pretty much 6 days a week, fourteen hours a day (and reading on the 7th day) in the Word of God, and I loved it. I excelled too and a passion for learning was lit that my college experience had almost put out for good. I had found the way I learn and retain knowledge and since then, I am on a quest for continual learning. When I’m driving I often use the time listening to audio books and while I’m working out I’m usually listening to a podcast from an amazing Bible teachers. All that to say for me, when it came to education, college left me feeling defeated much like the side of a hill does when it comes to my breathing and working out. But in the case working out, I was reminded of a valuable lesson on Saturday: Just because I can go fast doesn’t mean I should. In fact in the case of wear and tear on my knees, going fast was actually doing damage. I let myself get ahead of what was best for me... I have done that a lot in my life. Something seems easy and is fun and I let wisdom fly out the window. I’ve done that with money. I start getting a little saved up and start picking up an extra things here and there, completely forgetting that I know I need to just let it sit and grow and use it for the important long term goal instead of the immediate shiny new thing in front of me. Probably the area I’ve done this most in is friendships. I meet someone and we just click and being someone who barely has a filter, I start over sharing out of enthusiasm of a new “close” friend. This has come back to bite me in the butt on several occasions because I find myself doing life with someone who isn’t on the same page as me or someone who can’t be trusted with the vulnerability of my heart. I’ve done this with jobs, projects, and all sorts of things, but I need to remember that just because I can do something at a fast pace means I should. One thing I learned from my grandpa is a lot of times it’s best to take your time. He did this in prayer, eating, and toward the end of his 95 year old life, he was doing everything slowly. While sometimes it would frustrate those of us around him, I did take note. Just because something can be done quickly doesn’t mean it should be. In everything we need to count the cost and not let our momentum get in the way of the overall health of whatever we’re working on...

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