I went for a 3-mile run at 6 o’clock this morning. That’s not a thing that I do. I’m not the kind of person who doesn’t “feel like myself” if I haven’t worked out that day. (Ohhh, how I wish I was.) And if I’m being totally honest, it was only because my dog has been so hyper the last couple days that I thought she deserved a long run to get out some energy. And when I say running, I mean a slow jog.
But while I was running, I felt good. Really good. I ran without music for the first time in a long time. It was 27 degrees, the sun was barely coming up, and my dog was having the time of her life. I was keeping a consistent pace. And I felt immensely happy, no, joyful.
That’s when the phrase “hitting my stride” came into my mind. And it wasn’t just regarding my running, though I’m glad to be at a point where I can just get up and go (slowly) run 3 miles.
Things have been going really well in my life lately. Not that I’ve had this terrible life until now. It’s always been pretty great, even with some incredibly difficult trials mixed in. But it’s like I’m on this steady path of happiness that just keeps getting better. I’ve never felt more motivated or hopeful. (And if I’m still being totally honest, I have to admit this scares the hell out of me, because based on life experience I know that something is bound to go wrong sooner or later. But I’m trying my best not to think like that…)
So, while I was running, I was also praying. For my friends and my family, and the world in general. Giving thanks for my health and my life. But I also thought about all the times in my life I’ve felt like a failure. Or unsettled. Or out of place. I thought about all the dreams I haven’t made time for and the work I haven’t felt qualified to do. I thought a lot about my worth.
I’ve run across a couple of things lately that have lead me to really developing and honing in on what is true about my worth, and all of our worth.
See, we live in a weird time. Where, without even really recognizing it, we define our worth by likes, shares, views and followers. But also by job titles and salaries. By looks and possessions. I suppose this has always been true, but is just outrageously amplified by social media.
The thing I’ve been realizing is that my worthiness does not come from any of those things. I am worthy simply because God deems me so. And I don’t have to do anything to earn it or prove it. None of us do. I am just worthy. To be alive and to live.
And I guess this is where I connected the dots between my spiritual health and my physical and mental health.
For a while now, I’ve been focusing a lot on my relationship with God. I’ve been reading daily scriptures and praying purposefully. I’ve been listening to a lot of books and podcasts by priests I respect and other Christian leaders I find inspirational. In fact, it kind of makes me giggle when I get in my car and hear nothing but a man’s voice who is basically preaching a sermon, because it makes me think back to my childhood and finding it so weird when adults listened to people talk for fun. I never understood that– “This is so boring, why aren’t you listening to music?!” Funny how life changes you like that. Now I’m like, “Give me all the podcasts, I need more information and inspiration!”
Strengthening that relationship has brought so much awareness to my life. It makes me feel constantly grateful for the gifts I’ve been given. It’s helped me recognize that whatever work I do is not in vein, but to better reflect Jesus. It’s made me realize that I may never be a size two, nor do I need to be, but that I do need to take good care of my body if I want to continue doing good works.
My worth is in God alone. This has brought me so much peace of mind. So much gratitude. So much joy.
I only just now, at 31 years old, feel like I’m really hitting my stride. And I know there will be trips and falls, but if I continue on this path, I think it’s going to be one heck of a race.
I’ll leave you with a couple gems that really spoke to me this week!
“Your accomplishments do not need to be recognized, celebrated or esteemed by man to be highly valued by God.” -Christine Caine
“You can leave your mark moment by moment, as you fulfill the ordinary duties of your daily life with gentleness, humility, thoughtfulness, generosity, kindness, service, hospitality, lightheartedness, and joy.” – Matthew Kelly
Leave your mark moment by moment. Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone!