Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Year of Work

Today is my birthday.  44.  That doesn't seem as old as it did when I was 20, or 10!

One year ago I heard my wife make a statement that really resonated with me, "I'm 43 years old and I'm in the best shape of my life."  To put it in context, I had come through a fairly intense season of Lent where God had started connecting some powerful dots for me related to my physical health/body with my spiritual life and the health of my soul.  I had begun to see for the first time ever, that what I do with my body truly impacts what's happening with my soul.

I know, really big realization, right?!  Wonder why it took me 43 years to see it?!?!

Anyway, when Jo made that statement, I thought to myself, a year from now, I might actually be able to say that same thing.

It's been one year, and here is my declaration:

"I'm 44 years old and I'm in the best shape of my life!"

I weighed this morning and I am the lowest I have been since high school.  I also ran the furthest distance I've ever run at one time this morning - 5.25 miles. And at a pretty good pace too!

When I ran back into the driveway this morning I raised both hands in the air and pumped my fists in victory!  I wanted to yell, but it was still very early.

Then I picked up the book my wife recently forced gave me to read (just kidding babe!  I love it!),  The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown, and I read these words:

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to skip over the hard stuff, but it doesn't work.  We don't change, we don't grow, and we don't move forward without the work.  If we really want to live a joyful, connected, and meaningful life, we must talk about things that get in the way.

That's when I was reminded that this morning's moment of victory wasn't about this morning.  It was about a year of pushing.  A year of growing.  A year of struggling.  This morning's celebration wasn't about today, but about everything I have been willing to do with God during this past year.

There were certainly days I wanted to quit (and days when I did quit), but over this past year I haven't skipped over the hard stuff.  I have put in the work, and today I got to live a truly joyful and meaningful moment in my life!

As I have traveled this journey of health and wholeness, it has also been one of great spiritual awakening for me as well.  I have realized that same reality is true of every facet of our lives.  When we want to live joyful, connected, and meaningful lives with Christ, we must be willing to talk about the hard stuff.  We must be willing to put in the work of allowing His Spirit to push and needle us.  In the midst of this process, it's often painful and a deep struggle, but it is the pathway to this beautiful, wholehearted life.

I certainly know I am not at the end of my journey - physically or spiritually - but when I think about where I am today, on my 44th birthday - I am grateful.  I am grateful for the journey.  I am grateful for the struggle.  And I am grateful that both of them will continue!

It's a happy birthday!