For the past several months I have been a part of an incredible journey and opportunity of a lifetime. I was chosen to be a part of the book launch team for Jen Hatmakers new book For the Love. It’s been an incredible journey of meeting new friends growing in life, love and encouragement. This post is a part of her For the Love blog tour (to learn more and join us click here).
For the love of exercise I completed my first triathlon on Sunday. I initially had typed that I was competing in it but then it hit me that I didn’t compete… I completed. I had carried around this excitement for a couple days and if I can be honest with you I still get really excited when I get to tell the story. Ask me, I will fill you in 🙂
For the first time in a long while, as I was preparing to jump in the water for the swim, I wasn’t the overweight girl, I was just me. I just wanted to finish. Off into the water, around the pylons, onto the bike, off the bike and on to the run. Now, by this point I couldn’t tell you if I was running on adrenaline or actual energy but I would venture to guess it was the first of two options. What happened next I still kick myself over, and wish that I could re-do.
As I began the run I just simply could not get my legs to move any faster than a brisk walk. I was beginning to get very frustrated. If you are anything like me, when that time comes I find myself looking down at the ground a lot more. I was ashamed and disappointed. As I am looking at the pathway crawl under me I can see all the ages of people that are passing me by (they write our age on our left calf). 41, 37, 60…. all running by and for the next 1/2 mile I walked through every bad name anyone had ever said to me and even the ones that I had said to myself.
As mile 1 crept up I knew that I only had 2 more to go. Something changed in my head and I decided that I wasn’t going to finish like this. I remembered reading in Jen Hatmakers book For the Love (and yes that is a link to buy it because it’s that amazing) she says this “We measure our performance against an invented standard and come up wanting, and it’s destroying our joy.” Amen sister! I repeated those words to myself and decided that the last 2 miles were not going to go down like the first one did.
My performance had nothing to do with the ladies who were 41, 37 or 60. It was about me! It was about the fact that I was out here doing this and I was going to complete it. It would be a total waste to do all that work and allow the comparison game to steal my joy! This standard that I invented and put on my self to be better than anyone else was absolutely leaving me wanting for more. It took all the joy that I had in me and threw it back into the lake that I had just swam in.
Y’all, then I rounded the corner (yes, running this time) and I could hear the sweet excited voices of my friends who had driven to the 2 mile mark to cheer me on from there. I heard one say “Go Amanda, you’ve got this” and I thought to myself yep… I sure do. There’s my joy, it cannot be destroyed. I had 1 mile to go and I could consider myself a triathlete….that is a thing right? Eh, let’s go with it.
It’s not even just about athletic events that this happens! It’s all over life we find ourselves trying to live up to this standard that no one has put on us but ourselves. If only it was taught in school that we don’t have to listen to what society says we have to do, don’t you think that we would be in a much better place? Or would we? Thank you to social media for being the biggest culprit. I will admit that I do love it most of the time but we have to be careful not to get caught up in comparing our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. Let’s face it when was the last time that you only posted the ugly nasties that were going on in your life for all of Facebook and Instagram world to see? I know I don’t.
So let’s stop letting all this comparison and crazy invented standards destroy our joy and let’s just focus on the finish line. When we get there, the emotions will flow… let em. You did this, you competed and completed. Go get ’em!