Yesterday I decided to go for a run. I don’t always make the best decisions. My feet hurt. My ankles hurt. My calves hurt. My shins hurt. My hips hurt. My lower back hurts. Forty is getting closer every day.

My first thought was why am I doing this? I didn’t have an answer right away. As I got to the top of our street, I took off my outer long-sleeve. It was warmer than I realized. I ran around the block and down the hill, up another, down again, around another corner. Why are you doing this?

I quit my gym membership this month partly because of time and money, but mostly because of my neck and back. I need less strenuous activities. Earlier this week, I tried yoga at home. It didn’t go as planned. Between sibling rivalry, the clarinet and the trumpet, it made it difficult to clear the mind. So yesterday morning I went for a run.

I love the fresh air. My lungs feel otherwise, but it gives me a chance to think.

Well I want to look good… and I want to feel good.

Eventually I took a turn that would loop me back home. I was about half way up and turned back around. Oh, I said to myself, it’s a dead end.

The more I ran, the more I questioned my motives. Do you really just want to look good and feel good? How does that make you a better person? And then I remembered that I wanted to be a stronger person. I want to be healthy. I am tired of chasing the desire to look and feel good.

It is a dead end.

BODY

Ever since I was about five years old, I have struggled with negative body image. It’s still something that occasionally creeps in. Julianne, you really need to work on those thighs. Julianne, why can’t you eat some healthy food for once? Seriously Julianne? You put on five pounds in the last couple months. You know, these used to be your fat jeans. Why are they so dang tight?

I believe our physicality is woven together with our state of mind. I’ve seen this in the gym, in myself and others. It’s interesting how our mentality can limit our physical ability. I don’t have it figured out but somehow they are intertwined. The human mind is complex. God made it that way.

MIND

It’s easy for me to put words into emotions that I KNOW are a dead end. Sadly, I’ve been stuck on this road too many times. Still camp out there. Like all the time. Thoughts like Oh my gosh, this makes me look like such a bad mom or what will this person think about me if this or that happens or Jeez Julianne have some confidence for a change. 

Being overly concerned with myself creates wasted space in my brain.

Perfectionism turns me into an emotional mess whereas vulnerability breaks down barriers and strengthens friendships. A pastor friend once said, “you give power to the things you hold in the dark.” That is such a true statement. I’m not a big advocate on vomiting up all my problems, but healthy relationships do involve some level of transparency.

Like for example, I am more of a hot mess than a cool mom and a cold B of a wife than a hot one. Too much? Oh, that was just an example.

SOUL

If I let this dead end mentality cross over into my spiritual life, it could get ugly. If I were to focus on looking and feeling good, I would be misleading myself and others. Jesus sacrificed his reputation all the time… for the sake of others, all because of love. Death on a cross? No good feels.

Jesus was all about strength and health and healing and love. My strength can only take me so far. My health is out of my hands. Healing comes from God alone. And love? God invented love. He is love. He is the source of all these things. Striving, apart from him, is nothing but a dead end.