The Self-Tracker Inside

On Saturday, I received this little beauty in the mail:

Garmin

A GARMIN! Don’t worry: I’m the last one to call myself an honest-to-goodness runner (yet…!). However, as I was doing my third day of Couch-to-5k last week (more on this later), I noticed that I was going at a 7min/mi pace, which is NOT ideal for a beginner runner, and certainly not for me! So I decided to invest in a training tool that will help me keep my pace a steady, manageable (and super slow) level so I can avoid injury at all costs! I love gadgets, and this one seemed like a wise investment that could grow with my abilities. It even has a walk/run feature–see? Perfect!

Sunday morning I was feeling really weighty. I felt something pressing down on my heart, but couldn’t figure out what it was, so I decided to go for a run. I ditched my Couch-to-5k app on my phone for the peace and quiet of running down by the Charles River so I could let my brain do some communicating with my heart, and just ran with abandon.

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Let me digress: In January when I returned to campus after the holidays, I was feeling really, really good, so I decided to start the Couch-to-5k running app and see how far I got. Real talk? I was inspired by the Biggest Loser. Anyhow, I didn’t sign up for a 5k that go-round, and I stopped two weeks in because I didn’t have a tangible goal. This time, I’m signed up for my very first 5k (!) on June 22nd, and I’m determined to make it through! This will be my second week back on the program, and everything is going smoothly! I can’t wait to share how I’ve been recovering from each run (hint: lots and lots of self-care).

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What happened when I let go and let my mind turn upwards to God? I ran 4 whole minutes without stopping! I couldn’t believe it. I walked for 3 minutes, then repeated the cycle twice more for a 21-minute workout, minus warmup and cool down.

You know something? I don’t care how unimaginative this is, but the verse I always, always turn to when I don’t think I can make it through something is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” As a child, we used to play the Hide ‘Em in Your Heart series in the car, and the song that runs through my head most often is the one set to this verse. So today, I ran to the beat of the verse, and for the first time ever, I prayed while running. It felt so organic, so freeing, so beautiful.

I have a sin issue I am working through: pride. I am perpetually afraid of what other people will think about me, and it has been holding me back from so many things. In particular, it has affected my spiritual life. I have always searched for “the right way” to pray, the tactful, cheery, put-together way to pray because I don’t want to be messy, even in my conversations with God.

Well guess what? I am messy. I am not put together. I am a soul in need of guidance and truth, and that is what was on my heart this morning before I set out on my run. So really, God was helping me run toward humility: “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2). And so tonight I’m continuing that prayer, asking that God for wisdom and thanking Him for His grace.

So even with all the self-trackers in the world, I still need to remember to follow Jesus, the Self-Tracker in my heart.

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My Heart’s Spring Cleaning

This morning I looked outside my window at the rowers on the Charles River and sighed contently: spring is finally here. The birds know it, the trees know it, and my heart knows it. It’s time for a spring cleaning of my perspective–and how I write this blog.

Since I primarily tweet about being a student with chronic illness, I found myself with less and less to post here this semester. Why? For a while, my EDS went into remission. It. was. glorious. It was the best I have felt since my freshman year of high school, and I tried to relish every second. That meant spending a lot more time with friends, singing till the sun came up, and really, truly enjoying academics. This left me conflicted, and silent: if I claimed to discuss being a student with a chronic illness when I didn’t feel like I had a chronic illness, where did that leave me?

I am so often tempted to shed layers of myself in order to squish into a certain mold; in this case, that mold is the chronic illness blogosphere, and the layers I shed to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings left me a shadow of the life-loving, vibrant person I am in real life, and left my blog silent for months.

I love reading faith blogs, but am not a “faith blogger”, I love reading chronic illness blogs but am less and less a “chronic illness blogger” (though my EDS has returned with a vengeance). I go through phases, but truthfully, writing about what is on my heart helps me stay sane in the crazy competitive environment I live in, and helps me stay grounded to what I truly believe and care about.

So I’m back here! But with a new heart-perpective. I don’t want to shed any more layers of myself, and instead will begin adding them back in to my online presence, and I’m excited! I can’t wait to share more authentically with you. I miss this space, and I miss hearing from you.

So what will I be talking more about?

  • faith, and my struggles with it. I hope that fellowship with others in the online faith-blogging community will deepen my understanding of God, and I hope that I can create a safe space to discuss fears, doubts, and, ultimately, hope in God. 
  • fitness. One of the things doctors always say to me when I first see them is, “Just exercise! It’ll solve all of your problems!” Well, no. I’ve had to learn how to exercise safely, without causing permanent or even temporary damage to my joints, and I’d like to share my strategies here. I signed up for a 5k on June 22nd, 2013, to keep me motivated, but there’s a cushion built in for injuries in my training plan. Everything I write about will be what my physical therapist and I have worked on together, so you EDS folks don’t have to worry about me!! That said, just because I can do it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk to your doctor–everyone has varying strengths and weaknesses with EDS (and in general!). I’ve realized that exercise helps me feel whole, and I don’t want to hide that anymore!
  • food (maybe). I’ve been playing around with how to eat right for my body in a dorm setting, and it has been quite the experiment! This summer I’ll be living on campus without a kitchen or dining hall services, so this might have to wait until the fall, when I have a kitchen in my dorm (!!).

Long story short: expect some changes up in here. Thanks for sticking with me, and I hope we can connect more this way!