Written February 20th, 2013
Laughter fills the cafeteria one evening as me and one of my best friends, who also works at the same place, reminisce on our more “fit” days. Slowly, I am taken back to the days where track was my life, and getting a chance to mingle with the boys on the basketball team was a nightly occurrence. We were all young, all friends (some of us), and the idea of what the next 4-5 years would look like were far, far away from any of our thoughts. We defined who we were and what we did at school through the eyes of our sport, academics, and incredible physiques.
Now fast forward a couple 5+ years later and as I sit in the cafeteria and watch all the students at the tail end of their teenage years, and some are just starting the early part of their adult years, things have changed, for me.
I’m relearning who I am.
Sitting at the cafeteria a few nights ago like most conversations with my still very active friends and former teammates (who still run) I am continually being reminded of the old days, and that night, in particular, a brief conversation struck a chord with me.
“Eunice, dang girl! You’re skinny now”.
“Yeah…I. Know. So and so tells me all the time she can barely see me, and that it is quite noticeable. I’ll get back into shape eventually. I want to but don’t have the motivation. I will soon "soon”, I laughed, "don’t worry."
“Well, I don’t think it’s bad. This is you at your natural state. So this is how God intended for you to be…”
Her words trickled off into the controlled chatter of the cafeteria but yet sirened loudly in my head. “…this is how God intended for you to be.”
Damn. That’s right I said it…damn. We are either too skinny, too fat, not enough of either…oh well. When I graduated from college and began working a job and no longer working out, I didn’t realize just how much relearning of myself and body I would have to do. And over the past few weeks, it has been the topic of my brain’s thoughts, primarily due to all the reflections I have been writing up the ying yang at work.
Long story short…the Eunice I thought I knew, is a very different Eunice than the girl who works out, eats, loves Jesus, and talks to people. This Eunice is insecure, emotional, a worry wart, and I am not sure if I am 100% sure this is a good thing or not. I am sure my friends who knew me then and know me now sometimes think the same things, but I guess it isn’t that bad. It has opened my eyes to the inner workings of myself.
Which brings me back to my main point…I am relearning who I am, and it at times sucks.
I tell you about this, not to brag but to make a point. Life is continually changing, and what makes these changes so tricky is there is never one aspect of the change that is completely 100% where we want it to be. We feel strong spiritually, and so we then begin to focus on getting the body right where we want it, which in the process we begin to realize we are becoming vain, and so caught up in how we look that slowly we are spending more time working out and less time with Jesus. Or more time at work becomes less time to help others. Or assisting others turns into less time to pursue our passions…does it ever get easier?
The truth is, it doesn’t.
I am not one to talk about my body, and I’ll be real, as much as I miss being in excellent shape, I genuinely believe there is a time and a season for everything. Life is continually changing, and so are we, and for so many years, I had a foundation that wasn’t foundationally built on God but built on sports and the friendships that it gave me. So once sports left the equation after being a part of my life for 14 years of my 23 years, and the bonds it brought me, though still active were not present as frequently, the solid confidence I always carried diminished a little bit along with the muscles, and my stress increased and my relationship with God stayed the same.
Which has ultimately become my biggest revelation…my relationship with God stayed the same.
When I think about having a relationship with God, the simplest way I can ever break it down to being somewhat understandable, is too think of my love for Him in the way in which I would love my husband and kids someday and then add way more love to that feeling. That meaning just like in any relationship, you have to make changes to things as life changes or seasons change, I imagine that my relationship with God does something similar. As I develop into a different person both emotionally and physically, my relationship with God could either suffer or flourish within the realms of this change.
There was a time where God used that lifestyle to bring me closer to Him, but now I think He is saying, those things have decreased so that I must increase in your life, in a new way.
He is the filler of the unfulfilled.
Restorer of the broken.
Takes what is partial and completes it with HIS WHOLENESS.
He is the completer of incompleteness.
I may be in my “natural state,” exposed and vulnerable, struggling at times to figure out who I am apart from athletics. It is so comforting knowing that everything I need to know, and everything you need to know can be found in HIM.
So when life gets tough and things begin to change. Your paradigm begins to shift; you must start exercising the spiritual to sustain the natural.
Life is a workout in and of itself, and if anyone is looking for a workout that works on all aspects of the body, shoot live life to the fullest!
I am continuously reminded that without Him, there is no balance, there is no equilibrium and just as much as working out and looking good is helpful when that is all said and gone, not done. When I have a job, career, maybe someday a family, if that was all taken away instantly, would I know who I am?
Do you know who you are?
I am learning that there is so much I have yet to learn about myself and Jesus.
Jesus says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
So apart from Him, we can’t experience true abundance.
If you can help it, never get caught up on what you do, but who He is. I may be in my “natural state,” but I am learning that with God, the natural can and will always meet super. Which, as a result, creates something supernatural.
I know what John Mayer meant when he sang the words, “Your body is a wonderland,” and in every sense of what he meant, it is. God also created the body and every part of it with intent and purpose, and that all encompassing realization is wonderful. Of course, if you’re not content with it, you can change it, but even though God created our outward being with intention, I love that He still chooses to look at our heart. I figure if we all focused on that as well, naturally we’d stop worrying so much about missing a workout or eating one too many donuts. Or we’d take the time to care for our bodies, not because society makes us want to look like someone else, but because we want to offer the best of ourselves to the one who loves us no matter what.
Whoever said being skinny or losing a lot of weight makes you automatically healthy or beautiful was dumb. That isn’t always true, Your body is a wonderland, and I feel to have a real revelation of that, we need Jesus.
Take care of your heart. Guard it and learn who you are based on what He says and not what you do, and what you do will naturally fall into place because you know who you are in Him.
I’m on a new journey to self-discovery and as tough as it is…I am relearning who I am and starting to love it…okay not quite LOVE it yet but be in the likeness of it.