I began 2022 with high hopes that this would be my year to celebrate and work on my health: physical, mental, and spiritual. I had goals for the number of races I would run after the Flying Pig Half Marathon. I had strength training goals. I had goals to continue to work on my mental health and personal development. And of course, I had goals for my spiritual health, which, oddly enough, seem to be the only ones I’m meeting.
I completed my first in-person half marathon in May and it was amazing. I immediately signed up for the same race in 2023. I took some weeks off to recover, ran until the summer weather got too hot for me, and planned out all my fall and winter races. I was excited to map out the year in running, but I fell ill in the summer and it lingered. Eventually I got better…until I fell sick again and the cycle continued. Now here we are heading into the second week in November and I’m still coughing up whatever it is that’s stuck in my lungs. I completely missed all the October races I wanted to do, and at this point, if I’m honest, my tradition of running a Turkey Day 5k is starting to look iffy.
It comes to no one’s surprise that life has been a bit stressful. Knowing that I’m not meeting my physical goals and weekly workout routine has added anxiety to the ever-present stress about my body. How can I be strong if I’m sick? How can I be there for my family if I’m not well? How can I get basic, daily tasks done if I’m constantly tired and needing rest? The physical strain has worn on my mental health all year long. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I planned on having a rough draft of a new book done by now. I’ve moved the deadline so many times I almost feel like abandoning the project. I can’t though. I have to see it through because I know there is a reason God placed the subject on my heart and created a passion for it. But I am so tired and worn out and I just need a rest.
Ironically, it’s my spiritual health that has pulled me through this year. It’s been a challenge to find things to be grateful for, though there are plenty. I’ve had to remind myself to praise God in the midst of the trials, and when I remember, I praise Him with a righteous fervor because I know the enemy would rather I curse and wallow in my misery.
My church has been on a two-year journey of reading the Bible together as a congregation. I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t quite make it through Jeremiah, 1&2 Kings, or 1&2 Chronicles, but I plan on being caught up by the stroke of midnight on December 31st. Diving into Scripture this way has taught me more about the Father than I ever hoped to comprehend – and I went to Christian schools my entire life, including college. My education laid the foundation for this journey, but this was the first time as an adult that I put in the commitment. It’s made all the difference. More on this in the coming weeks.
My devotional life has changed partly because of this church journey. My worship and my prayers have been heavily impacted by seeking God in His Word and through other devotionals. This relationship with God that I’ve cultivated and nutured has kept me standing even when my physical and mental health seem to have crumbled around me.
A good summary of the past eleven months is the song “Build a Boat” by Colton Dixon. I built a boat in a desert place and now I am secure in my faith and in the Father as the storms and the trials pursue me. It’s not fun to be sick for a good chunk of the year. It’s not fun when my brain overthinks my food and my body and derives my worth from how good or terrible I feel. It’s not fun to not be there for my kids or to place the burden of running the house on my husband. But God says in His Word He’ll never leave me, so I trust that He’s not only with me in the good parts of my life, but that He’s there in the bad parts too.
I still have plans. I’m looking at the remainder of this year from a place of gratitude. I’m thankful this year hasn’t been worse. I’m thankful for my family, friends, and church community. I’m thankful for my job and both of the schools the boys attend. If I happen to not meet any of my other goals for the year, it’ll be disappointing, yes. But at least I have a life where I am blessed enough to be disappointed sometimes.
I don’t believe in coincidence. I think that in declaring 2022 as my year of health the enemy saw an opportunity. A good one. A chance to attack me in not one place, not two places, but three. I think he figured that if could get me down about my physical health, then the mental health would be next. He was right. I think he further figured that if my physical health was weak, and my mental health was weak, then my spiritual health would be weakened as a result. Some days that’s exactly what happened. It’s been a year of ups and downs. But ultimately, there have been more spiritual ups because I finally recognized the strategy and I put an end to that nonsense. Don’t underestimate the power of the enemy, friend, because he doesn’t play fair. The Bible says he’s here to steal, kill, and destroy, and we make it a lot easier for him when we do the destroying ourselves. Don’t let him get away with it.
I dropped a lot of vague information here as a survey of 2022. For the rest of the year, I will post shorter, more intimate stories of specific things that God has done. Hope to see you back.