Monday, July 20, 2015

My Current Paradox

I am truly loving this summer. The pace has been pretty great. The temps have been on the cooler side of hot, which is fine by me. I've done lots of reading, and biking, and sitting outside-all of which are things I love to do.

For quite a few years I have felt like the summer version of me, is my favorite version. It may even be the best version of me. Physically, I am strong and toned. (I completed my Iron Man last week-with some hours to spare!) My skin is sun kissed. Mentally, I am more relaxed and zen.

I feel healthy, happy, strong and energized.

But, the paradox is that, at the same time, I feel weak, unmotivated, and so overwhelmed by life that I just want to crawl into my bed, pull the comforter over my head, and not come out-ever?

Honestly, last week I felt my weakest, when I was feeling my strongest. When I was actually getting my Iron Man done. When I was running my first ever 11 miles in July. (I don't usually pick up those kinds of summer miles until August for 1/2 marathon training.)

This was not a righteous Paul thing either...when I am weak, then I am strong. Yeah. That is not where I was at.

I was exhausted. I slept close to 8 hours every night (some nights more). I took 2 or 3 naps last week. One of those afternoons, I was so tired, I packed up the cookie dough I was in the middle of baking, and went and took a nap.

I had some health issues, including a cold, that knocked my socks off. (I barely had a voice for several days last week.)

I was hormonal. Like, on the verge of tears when we cashed in our vouchers for a ball game, and got seats. I tried not to cry when the chicken instantly blackened on the grill when the temperature skyrocketed past 750 degrees. (500 degrees to 750 degrees in 3 minutes. Might be a record.)

Like, so overwhelmed by the fact that at 5:00 one evening I had to fold a load of laundry, make guacamole for dinner, and get a swim in, that I couldn't even find a way forward. What to do?

I didn't write. I haven't made bread in weeks. I vacuumed my house, but didn't dust. Scrubbed the bathrooms, but skipped the floors. I cooked basic dinners.

I was trying to sift through keeping promises with keeping my sanity. I was struggling to cope with life, and coping wasn't happening very well. I wasn't thriving in a whole lot of areas. I was surviving by the skin of my teeth.

So, pretty much, when I say on FB that I am having hard week, it's code language for my life has gone to hell in a hand basket. (I strive for low drama online...Snort)

And yet, it was still a great summer week. I loved the time on my bike in the quiet. I loved pushing myself, raising the bar, and meeting that goal. I loved teaching Sunday School. I loved drinking coffee with my man, and praying together every morning. I loved taking my kids to swim lessons, and to the pool to swim with their cousins one afternoon. I loved cheering my boys on at their baseball games, and watching them win both of them.

Weak and strong. At the same time. The paradox.

The struggle is real.

Some would say, "relax on the training. Listen to your body." Trust me, I'm listening. There was no way to ignore the message. But, I also knew that the hormonal crap would pass. It always does. It may have been rougher this time around the block for various reasons, but it was temporary.

I already feel better this week. I feel less tired. I feel less overwhelmed. I feel less guilt about the choices that I am making to simplify life.

I am being proactive about saying no for every yes.

I bought 4 loaves of bread on Saturday. I decided that I've fought this particular battle long enough. Bread making is not conducive to summer, training, and swim lessons. I relieved myself of the burden of trying to figure out when I was going to get it done. Of the burden of guilt for not making bread yet again today. No one is going to die from eating store bought bread for a few weeks.

I am focusing on the important, and what must be done this week. Swim lessons. Baseball games. Dinner with friends. Picking green beans from my garden. Picking blueberries at the farm. Dusting. Training. Working Tuesday. Studying for VBS. Reading to my kids.

So, I might be Iron Manning, but I am also napping. Buying bread. Skipping house work. Making uncomplicated meals.

I'm not doing it all. That option flew out the window quite a few days ago. I'm just striving to do the next thing.

That's what Elisabeth Elliot said-do the next thing.

That subtle reminder/quote came up in my FB feed via my sister in law last week. And then again in a Saturday newsletter from Art of Simple.

It's what I need to remember today. This week.

Just do the next thing. That's all.