I just finished a 42 day challenge at the Pure Barre I attend. I have to admit, I was scared to sign up in the beginning because I was afraid of failing. However, I decided to go for it. In spite of the fact that I was committing to work out 6 times a week, and I had hardly been working out for the last 6 months! The reason I hadn’t worked out for so long was because I had gotten really run down and my body became extremely fatigued, which is due to my inability to be balanced at times and my body fighting an autoimmune disease. I had become extremely discouraged because I had been getting into shape for the first time in forever, and this setback was hard for me to bounce back from. I was unsure if I was discouraged from my fatigue or if my discouragement was making me fatigued.
I knew something needed to change, that I needed to push myself out of the comfort zone I had nuzzled myself into, but I seemed to lack motivation.
So the challenge could not have come at a better time.
I am proud to say that I have worked out 6 days out of 7 for the last 42 days! I have worked out when I normally would have felt justified for not working out — because I hadn’t slept well the night before, I was sore, I had a migraine, I felt sick to my stomach. I went every single time! That was huge for me because I can be the queen of excuses. I didn’t realize how often I undermine myself until I did this. I look back and can’t help but think, “Wow! I’m stronger than I gave myself credit for.” I found strength by entering into the discomfort rather than running from it.
I should also tell you that the challenge didn’t just focus on working out, but also on diet. The challenge for the diet was to eliminate processed foods and especially sugars, which is easier said than done for this carb addict. I have been working on my diet for a number of years, so I am pretty good about not eating packaged foods, but I love simple carbs. I crave bread, cookies, muffins, cake, candy, chips. I eat them when I am sad, mad, glad, lonely, stressed, hungry, full. When faced with a choice between eating something with nutrients or a sugar boost with no nutrients, I almost always choose the sugar. Not because I lack knowledge about what it does to my body( I have read enough books to go insane), not because I lack motivation (my body aches and breaks out in rashes after eating a whole myriad of foods), and not because I lack willpower ( I can be really determined at times). I eat these things for reasons that I will one day go into more detail about, but especially because it is easy. It is easier to eat a cookie than to figure out healthy ways to deal with my emotions. It is easier to deal with the known, even if it is hurting me, than to venture into the unknown.
There have been moments that I have done well suppressing the sugar cravings during this challenge, and there have been times that I have caved — more times than I am proud of and more times than I would like to admit. It is hard to admit how weak I can be, especially in a society that admires and celebrates the strong. But I am also realizing that there is a strength that comes from acknowledging my weakness that is actually stronger than any strength I could muster myself. It is the strength of God’s love for me in the midst of my weakness, it is the grace I encounter only at my lowest.
The truth is that I have learned I am stronger than I thought I was, and weaker than I like to admit I am.
God has made me both and He is teaching me more about myself and Him through both experiences.
But He said to me,”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9