comeback kid.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

There’s something comforting about counting repetitions.

It’s methodical, it’s predictable, and it provides a structure.
When I walk into the gym, I am not thinking about anything else.
I am focused on my workout, on my weights, on my repetitions.

1, 2, 3, 4.

5, 6, 7, 8.

9, 10, 11, 12

And repeat.

I had a breakdown last week. The feelings, the thoughts, the fears over losing pieces of my life that meant so much to me swallowed me up like a wave in the ocean. I felt like I was drowning, and began doing anything necessary to get back up to the surface. I cried on my couch for a few hours. I sent text messages I should have left unwritten. I prayed, I cried some more, I went to a place I haven't been to in a long time. 

When I woke back up (literally, as my go-to coping mechanism is usually sleeping), I felt worn out. I felt like I had just sprinted back to the starting line I had spent such a long time trying to move away from. I immediately regretted those messages, the tears I wiped away, and the time I had wasted worrying and wondering. I tried to recover. I went for a long run. I tried to push away everything that felt heavy in my heart and soul.

I reminded myself that I am a comeback kid, and these days may happen, but they don't shake me from who I truly am.

I’ve taken on this persona of a “comeback kid,” the last few months. I resonate deeply with this description of myself, as I come back to who I was before my life spun out of control. It motivates me when I feel like I’m falling behind in life. When I still feel like I’m sitting on the sidelines as others continue racing towards their futures at full speed. As discouraging as that can be, I know I’m in a season of “coming back to myself.” And that encourages me to utilize this time and space to be better, and do better.

I think part of the reason why I like this persona so much is because I've spent the greater part of my life being an athlete. I've spent countless hours pushing my body to become stronger, leaner, and better equipped for the challenges in front of me. I've watched myself build muscle, mental resilience, and skills to win matches, outrun opponents, and go farther than before. My inner voice is like a coach, and when I broke down last week, I felt that familiar voice in the back of my head saying "Okay kid. Time to get back up. Time to go back to work."

This season is no different. I'm not going to sugar-coat it, even though things have definitely been a lot better since I started a new job and made some new friends, it's still hard. I'm still not okay with parts of my current situation. But I have to keep going, because there really is no other choice. It's why I keep pushing myself to be better, starting in the weight room and track, and also my life in general. It's why I tell myself I'm a comeback kid. It means I'm a person who is going to push through the pain and hurt to get to somewhere better, eventually. It means I don't give up when life gets hard, when my muscles burn, when the world feels like it's caving back on me again. It means I wake up and do my job, consistently. I lift the weights. I run the track. I keep going, and keep hoping. Keep going, and keep hoping.

Like an athlete rehabilitating from a season-ending injury, I continue to push myself to come back stronger and better than ever. I see potential when I’m bench pressing weights. I feel hope when my muscles burn in my last set of curls. I am reminded of strength in it’s truest sense when I am pushing myself beyond my limits, day in and day out.

I like to think God is digging this whole comeback kid thing too. 

I've taken a major step back from organized religion recently. I plan on writing a lot more about this in the future, but for the most part, I feel as though the church has lost my trust in a lot of aspects and I'm just needing some space to be alone with God. For the first time in my life, I'm not regularly attending a church or small group, and honestly, it has been really refreshing. I feel as though I have the freedom to decide what I believe, outside the constraints of a church dictating it. I feel the Spirit leading me where He wants me to go, rather than church leadership directing me. I am drawn to pray for who/what God reveals to me in the quiet moments. In the spaces since leaving a church community, I've found myself drawing closer to the heart of God in different ways. More meaningful ways. More significant ways.

My sanctuary has been the weight room and a dirt track. The Holy Spirit speaks to me like a coach: reminding me of the worth and potential I have within me, and pushing me to accomplish what they know I’m capable of. If this is a season of rehabilitation, then the season to come is going to be far more incredible than I could ever imagine. And isn't that what God has been trying to speak to me since I began my recovery process? That I'm still worthy of love? That He still believes in me and my future? That He is making all things work together for my good, so I can trust and live in that daily? 

It's not easy.

It means putting in the work. Rebuilding both your outer, and inner strength, takes time. I know that far well. But I also know that I am a comeback kid. That I’m not falling behind in life. That my time just isn’t here yet. Which means I need to keep going, trust this process, and this season. Just like counting my reps grounds me in my workout, so do these thoughts ground me when I feel the waves of fear and instability begin to rise again. When I see the engagement and wedding photos flood my Facebook. When I worry I've made a life-altering mistake I'll never be able to repair. When I fear that my future is not going according to plan. 

When I find myself starting to drown, I come back to the same thoughts, and the same repetitions.

1, 2, 3, 4.

You are a comeback kid.

5, 6, 7, 8.

Your time is coming.

9, 10, 11, 12.

Let's go kid. Time to get to work.

And repeat.

Respectfully submitted,

Want a peek into my world as a comeback kid? Check out this video, here.