Recovery of a No Excuse Mom: Togetherness

I have had a crazy week, which has led to me being behind in my blogging. I have had a very full, busy schedule… but the things on my list are far from the stressful things that we dread. Quite the opposite.
My last weekend was full of things that build me up.
Remind me of how blessed I am.
Remind me of WHO I am.
…. and be around people who give me strength.

I attended a women’s retreat through my church with the topic of “Shine: Stepping Into the Role You Were Made For”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize how completely beyond PERFECT the timing of this retreat is in my life. Finding and pursuing my “role” has been at the forefront of my mind for a good portion of the year. It’s is what has lead me to blog for No Excuse Mom and pursue my own health and fitness again. It is what inspired me to listen to two AMAZING audio books in my countless hours in my car for my job. And it is what has been urging me to begin pursuing my master’s degree and speaking engagements….
(If you’re looking for inspiration and direction, I HIGHLY recommend these two books, which I have no affiliation with but have been GREATLY blessed and inspired by: She’s Still There: Rescuing The Girl In You by Chrystal Evans Hurst and Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown. Even the names of the books are inspiring!! I listened to them both in audio format, but am highly considering also buying the hard copy of each book because I loved them so much.)
But I digress…..
Friday night the author, speaker and fellow mom, Allison Allen, started by talking to us about living our lives “in character”. I resonate deeply with this. All of my life I have felt the pressure to be something that I am not and I struggled for years as a people pleaser. I made a lot of my decisions in my 20’s purely because I thought certain things were expected of me…. She went on talking to our small little church group about living a life of Authentic Bravery and being who we REALLY are.

This is the exact call of my life right now. I want to be fully myself – in all of it’s raw, vulnerable, hard truths.
On one hand, it’s so scary exposing yourself to the world.
But on the other, I have a calling to be real enough to stop letting people think that they are struggling alone.
I cried a few tears Friday night and there was more to come the next day in the women’s retreat… but I had also signed up for my first 5k of the year Saturday morning as well. (Leave it to me to schedule two things SO closely…)
I headed home Friday night, decided to get groceries on my way and tried to get a good nights sleep… Only to toss and turn, wake up really bloated and starting my period.
I’ll admit, part of me wanted to skip the 5k altogether and just go back and be filled at the women’s retreat.
But I knew I couldn’t. I had no desire to miss it, even if I felt terrible.
I met my friend and mutual No Excuse Mom Selena before the race and offered to run with her. It was her first 5k EVER and knowing that we seemed about at the same point in our running training… I thought it might help both of us. She graciously left the decision up to me, but I am SO glad to have had her running – walking – trekking – and talking at my side for the duration of the race.
I had no idea just how challenging of a trail we were running.
Nearly the entire race was off road at an apple orchard. It started up by the entrance, entered the forest surrounding the orchard, re-entered the orchard, up and down large hills, back into the forest with a lot of twists, winds, ups, downs, and a total of 81 feet of elevation changes according to my running app. And wouldn’t you know it….? The finish line was at the top of a nice, beautiful, TALL hill.
Selena and I stayed together and honestly, I needed her as much as she needed me.
We completed it TOGETHER.

(This is the trail we ran!)
She was vital to my journey that day. And I can honestly say that I think I have been underestimating the power of friendship, togetherness and “Accountability” in regards to my fitness journey.
I have been treading the waters of fitness relatively alone for this last month (and for much of the last three years as I felt I was failing). The No Excuse Mom group in my area has meetings when I am at work. I’ve still been primarily working out alone and exercising at home and running solo… everything ALONE…. and I intend to be changing that.
We NEED each other.
We can build each other up, urge each other on, challenge each other, and – yet again – keep each other accountable.
Much like Selena and I did at the race for each other.
After the 5k was over, we parted and I went on my way to finish the women’s retreat… and it was also something that I needed.
First, it was more “togetherness”. I am coming to realize just how important it is to see that we are not an “island”.  We are not intended to do the journey of life alone, nor are we meant to travel alone for the fitness journey, the spiritual journey or whatever journey you may be one.
Seek out friendships that build up the areas of life you need building.
This has been very hard for me recently, mostly because one by one, my friends have been moving away, moving on in life to bigger better things or following their own calling – which is leading them far from the area I live in.
Distance-wise, my closest friend is my sister, who lives about a 40 minute drive away. My best friend is an hour’s drive away, a couple of my childhood friends moved to Colorado, a dear friend moved to North Carolina…. All on to bigger better things in life. Except me. I feel stuck and honestly, I’d love to move, but it doesn’t seem to be what’s going to happen in my life any time soon.
I have had the increasing knowledge that I need to build more friendships that support me spiritually, physically and emotionally.
The second thing that I needed from the women’s retreat… was much deeper. They talked about how we hold onto names that are NOT true about ourselves. I have been sharing a bit on here about my struggles with Failure. That was one of many words that I use for myself that I know are not true.
Even in writing this, I wonder how transparent I should be about the false things I have believed about myself.  But ehre goes some of it…
I have seen myself as stupid.
And many other terrible, false lies that I refuse to believe anymore.
Not only am I not a failure… but I am not stupid, fat, ugly or worthless! In prayer and tears, we were encouraged to write our false “names” on a name tag and I left those things at the conference and chose a new name that God has given me.

I finally know that I have value….
…and so do you.
Don’t leave room for any lies in your head. The future YOU depends on you believing that you have value and that you are not defined by your failures or by someone’s cruel words to you, or by anything that you have labeled yourself as.
Write down your false names and get rid of them.
Surround yourself with the TRUTH and with people who build you up, not tear you down.
Be the best you that you can be.
And shine your light to this world as only you can.