Last year my friend Laura invited her friends (on the internet and in real life) to join her in committing to 100 Days of Sun Salutations. I thought, “That’s a great idea! But I can’t commit to that now.” For whatever reason, the timing wasn’t right, although I probably needed a steady yoga practice last year more than I’ve ever needed it, as it was a stressful and full-of-unfilling-stuff time. But, I didn’t commit. So this year, when Laura again offered up the invitation to join her for 100 Days of Sun Salutations I didn’t think about it for a second. I said yes before I could change my mind.
I started Yoga with Adriene a couple of years ago and have intermittently been a student of hers. So I have an arsenal of poses that I know and like. I have been using that toolbox to do my Sun Salutations, or, more appropriately, Moon Salutations. They have been short and sweet but consistent. This week I was sharing my 100 day commitment with a friend and I said that the daily short flows were good, but that I wanted to start taking time to do some longer flows a couple times a week. So tonight when it came time to do my yoga I thought, “I should do a video!”
Yoga with Adriene is great because everything is free and because there is a TON of content. She is always starting challenges and series and I love those kinds of things. So tonight I fired up her first video in her latest 30 day series, True. The video was 25 minutes long, which was totally doable. It was a lot of warrior pose, which I love, but longer than what I usually do, so I was definitely feeling it. My knees were down during those last plank breaths for sure.
And then we sat back down and Adriene said, “Day 1 in the books!” And I said, “It’s over?” And then I almost cried.
I’m not sure why that was my reaction, so I came to my keyboard to figure it out. What came to mind was when I did my first 30 day challenge with Adriene, when I first decided to care for my physical self in a new way. I can so clearly picture myself in the living room of my tiny, adorable, wonderful, cozy, colorful one bedroom apartment sweating like crazy (San Pedro is so much hotter than Jarabacoa, you don’t even know) and continuously checking the screen to see how much time was left in the video.
Today, a couple years later, the 25 minute video passed without me once feeling the need or desire to check how much time was left. I think when the flow was over and my reaction was, “That’s it?” I realized how much growth has taken place in my life since I lived in that tiny, adorable, wonderful, cozy, colorful one bedroom apartment sweating like crazy.
God has been so good.
Last night at Young Life Club Nicole challenged us. She told the story about the rich guy in the gospels who asked Jesus what he had to do to gain eternal life. Jesus told him that he had to follow all the commandments. You know the ones – don’t murder, don’t lie, honor your parents, etc. The guy was like, “Check, check, check. I’ve obeyed all of those!” Then Jesus threw a curve ball and said, “Great! Now go sell everything you own.” Oof. The rich guy was shook and he walked away sad.
Nicole challenged us with this question – what is the one thing that is standing between you and Jesus? What is the one big thing that if Jesus said, “Great! Now give up _____,” would leave us shook, walking away sad.
I thought about it in the moment and the first thing that came to mind was, “Husband,” because that’s the first thing that comes to mind almost always. But just as quickly came a sense of peace. No, no, I think I’m okay there. I understand now, at least now more than ever before, that a husband won’t fix me or complete me or magically make my life wonderful. I think I understand it because every day I am so stupid happy that I can’t imagine my life being any more wonderful. God is so good! He is so faithful and nice and I have so many wonderful things and people and pets and students.
The other day I was talking with my friend Alise. Alise and I were friends in college, but we weren’t close. We have stayed in touch via Facebook over the years, connected by a mutual love of books and writing. We are definitely hardcore word nerds. Over the past couple of years I have really grown to appreciate Alise in a new way and our conversations have at times veered off the word nerd path towards real life things.
Recently we were doing one of our routine check ins – we’re doing a year long “write 500 words a day” challenge. We got to talking about over committing ourselves and holding ourselves to ridiculous standards so that we don’t know the difference between giving ourselves a break and being lazy. Alise said, “Maybe I can just write about book about strong, driven women who feel like us.” And I said, “That reminds me of something I read today!” And I sent a terrible picture of this wonderful quote (from a book that Alise recommended to me years ago when she was writing her thesis on the symbolism of food in the Hunger Games trilogy – I know, you’re in love, go check out her blog):
Sometimes, in books and in life,
it’s not about the romance.
Sometimes, it’s about the girl.
– The Girl Who Was on Fire, Leah Wilson
Which set us to talking about how we love a good romance, but lament the fact that so many plotlines seem to hinge on romances, since real life isn’t typically like that – at least not our real lives. We shared some good sum-ups we had heard on the matter. “A man is dessert, not a full meal. He’s a nice, sweet addition, but not the full dietary requirements.” And – “I am not looking for my better half because I am not a half.”
Then today I was scrolling through Facebook and saw this video that my friend Simone posted of Pastor Michael Todd talking about relationships. It’s so good, just please go watch it. He talks about why the divorce rate among Christians is so high and one of the points he makes is that often after we get married we stop working on our “singleness,” which sounds like, “Duh.” But what he means, and what he explains, is that even after we are married we are still individuals in need of sanctification. We’re not done just because we got married. We still have to work on being our best, more Christ like selves, just like we did before we got married. Getting married, in other words, is not the finish line; it’s an event along the way. An important, life changing event, but not the finish line.
Today I really, truly believe those things with my whole heart, but two years ago, sweating all over my yoga mat in my teeny apartment, I viewed marriage as the finish line, a husband as the full meal, myself as just a half.
Bless the Lord, He gives us what we need and not what we want. Bless the Lord, we grow and we change and we get stronger and stretchier and steadier, in life and in our yoga practices. If we keep doing things, trying things, being consistent with things, we will see change. If I keep doing warrior poses every day for 100 days, my legs will get stronger. They will. If I keep hearing and repeating to myself the truth that who I am right now is a whole person in need of nothing but the blood of the Lamb, I will believe it. So when my husband finally does show up (she says in faith) he will be showing up to a full meal, a full person, ever moving forward toward the finish line with a killer warrior pose.