Bad Christian vs the Bible

“So how do you judge what a man is worth, by what he builds or buys? You can never see with your eyes on earth! Look through Heaven’s eyes. Look at your life through Heaven’s eyes.
– Prince of Egypt, “Heaven’s Eyes”

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I have a confession to make. I’m a Christian and I don’t like reading the Bible. I never know where to start and because I don’t know where to start, sometimes I just don’t start.

But I’m still a Christian though, right? Anyway, like it or not, I can’t avoid the word of God forever, but if I dive right in I’m only going to get confused and frustrated. Luckily, at this point in my thought process, someone conveniently gave me a 5-minute devotional book. Five. Minute. Devotional. This is perfect. So I read that for a year and some and as I grew I knew God was nudging me to challenge myself a little more.

So I went out and bought a bigger devotional, one without a time limit. It was really great and I was feeling a lot more challenged, but after couple months I noticed that I spent more time focusing on the suggested reading in the Bible than the prompt in the devotional book. That’s when I knew God was showing me that it was time to unscrew my devotional training wheels and jump into the Bible.

And it terrified me.

Needless to say I ignored that until I was completely unsatisfied with my devotional. The very same book kept me fed and challenged suddenly left me wanting and unsatisfied. Touché, Lord. After some introspection, I realized that the only reason I don’t like reading the Bible is because I’m afraid I wont understand it and that’ll only confirm my lack of talent at Christianity.

Anyway, I know I can’t be the only bad Christian out there. Or maybe you are a really good Christian but you’re having a hard time diving into the Bible with no safety net. Either way I’ve been through this and I want to help. So from one bad Christian to another, here are some tips to get you started.

Start small
I’m sorry that this is so cliché, but hear me out. I noticed that sometimes I’m a little overwhelmed opening up my Bible to the the larger books. If I focus on 1 chapter a day, how likely is it that I’d still be reading Psalms 150 days later? Probably not likely. So, I started with the stories I loved the most and I thoroughly enjoyed rediscovering the reasons why I love them so much.

Make Parallels
I’m going to level with you, I’m scared of everything and I struggle a lot with my faith. It is small and easily swayed and I am constantly asking God questions. But, like a lot of bad Christians, I grew up in the church and I’m familiar with a lot of the biblical stories. I was able to match what I’m feeling with a character in the Bible. I chose Esther because she faced a terrifying reality and faced it head on anyway. I chose Abraham’s story because he is credited for his faith. I was especially comforted when in Genesis 18, Abraham bombarded the Lord with so many questions and He was patient enough to answer them all.

Switch it up
Reading is a little hard for me and I’m easily distracted by wordy texts. I’m not a theological expert but I know the King James can be a little hard to understand, but I’ve heard, don’t quote me on this, that it’s the closest to the original text. My Bible is NIV and that’s fine for me but ESV is my go to. Sometimes I like reading the MSG because it has a modern tone, so reading it feels very natural, but sometimes a little too casual. AMP is a little lofty, but it is extremely thorough and, for me, it feels like I can get the most out of my verses this way. There is so much available to us these days. There is no reason why you should be married to one version you don’t really understand that much. Don’t be afraid to switch it up.

I’m a bad Christian and the only thing that redeems my lack of talent in this area is knowing that God loves me. I know I love Him back and these are the only reasons why I continue to read the Bible that I may never understand.

I’m going to wrap it up by saying, from one Bad Christian to another, please don’t count yourself out. It is so noble and brave to keep trying at something you don’t feel any good at. You must feel like you’re surrounded by a number of people who seem effortlessly righteous. I understand. So this is me calling out to any bad Christians out there. Know that God loves you. That’s enough. That’s plenty to get you started.

 

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Bad Christian

“To one lost sheep a shepherd boy is greater than the richest king.”
 Prince of Egypt, “Heaven’s Eyes”

I recently went to a roller rink for the first time with some friends. I was really excited because I’ve seen it on TV a lot and I’ve always thought that I’d probably be really good at skating. Well, I sucked. I was terrified the entire time and I spent more time on the floor than I did on my skates. Actually, I spent most of my time in the rink clinging to one of my friends. I even took them down with me when I fell a few times. The only thing going through my head at the time was how bad I am at this. So, eventually I just gave up on skating.

That’s how I feel about being a Christian. If Christianity was an activity, I’d be bad at it. I’m a bad Christian. It’s been years and I’m still not good at any of this. I can’t rattle off verses off the top of my head. And if by some massive miracle and move of God I manage to remember a verse, there is no way I could tell you where it’s found. I could take 10 minutes to say a prayer, but 8 of those minutes are filled with distractions. I could probably even dedicate another minute to a slew of shameful apologies. I don’t watch sermons in my spare time. At my Christian college, I found most pop-up worship sessions fairly annoying. I definitely don’t enjoy heavy biblical discussion or debates. Seriously, I avoid theology classes like the plague.

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This list is pretty bad right, but ultimately forgivable. There’s still a little hope for someone like me, right? What if I told you that the main reason I’m a bad Christian is because I don’t like reading the Bible? The situation just escalated, didn’t it? 

Lately, I’ve been really burdened by this lack of talent in this area, but unlike skating, giving up on God is not an option. I don’t know if I’m doing any of this right and I’m curious to know if anyone out there feels like me. I started this blog because I wanted to give writing a chance. I didn’t plan for it to take a religious turn so quickly, but turn it has.

I don’t know if I will ever be a good Christian, but I think for now I’m comfortable being a bad Christian who is trying really really hard. I hope I’m not the only one, but maybe if I write about it, it’ll encourage the other bad Christians to come out of hiding.

So, if you’re a bad Christian trying to keep it together and show God that, although this is really frustrating and scary, you’re going to stick to it until something sticks. I’m in the same boat. Maybe we can work through this together.

SeekingToLoveBeingInTheMoment

Let me tell you what I wish I’d known when I was young and dreamed of glory. You have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story.
Hamilton, “History has it’s Eyes on You”

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My name is Grace and I’m suuuuper awkward. I’m going tell you about the most awkward moment I’ve ever had.

I went to a small Christian college. Now, sometimes (all the time) Christian colleges have weird stereotypes where relationships are concerned and sometimes (most of the time) they’re pretty accurate. Couples find weird, really inconvenient places to canoodle because there are strict rules about visitation. One would think lightly of going to the vending machine in the basement of your dorm. One should think again. One should think many times. No vending machine is safe.

Anyway, in my day I’ve definitely surprised a handful of couples near vending machines, behind doors, in stairways, the list is endless. Of course, I had grown weary of having to carry my already awkward self through the trauma of ‘disturbing’ a couples’ ‘alone’ time. Man…If looks could kill…

One night, during my final semester, I left the dorm to go to dance practice. As soon as I walk out the main door I see a friend of mine. He is standing like 50 feet away from the door. No problemo. He’s my friend, I like this guy, we weren’t too close but, you know, we’re kind of cool. Everything is wonderful. So, I take maybe 3 more steps and the girl he’s with comes into view. The wheels in my head begin to turn. I had heard that they were together or talking, I’m not really sure. This conversation looks serious. Maybe they’re fighting? None of that matters now, at this point it is just me, them, and the longest pathway in all the land.

Little warning sirens begin to go off in my head thanks to my internal Awkward Situation Sensor (A.S.S.). It is phenomenal at recognizing potentially awkward situations, but infinitely better at helping me make an A.S.S. of myself. Anyway, sensors are blaring.This is not a drill. As I continue to approach my friend and his mystery girl, the response teams are trying to think of an emergency evacuation plan. They offer 3 solutions:

Evacuation plan numer 1: Deviate
I could take a different route to the building where I’m having dance practice. I really shouldn’t do that though, because it’s the long way around, and I’m already a little late. My team is waiting for me, so I ultimately decided that this isn’t a good enough option.

Evacuation plan number 2: Ignore
I could stick with the original route, but say nothing when I pass by my friend. A decent option, but it’s unlike me and I don’t want to be rude. Will he be heartbroken if I don’t say hello? No. But I feel weird about it so I decide this isn’t a good idea either.

And so in my infinite wisdom and unquestionable intelligence, I figure that my best choice is…

Evacuation plan number 3: Turn into the skid
Acknowledge the awkward. Embrace the awkward. Show the awkward that you’re not scared of it.

I’m only a few steps away from my friend at this point, but Let’s side bar for a second. I’ve mentioned before that sometimes I make really stupid decisions, even when they’re such obvious disasters. I usually blame those on Idiot Grace. Today, I want to introduce Hindsight Grace and unlike Idiot Grace, Hindsight Grace is my girl. She is slick, witty, funny, and she can freestyle. This is tragic because she can only live in my memories, mocking me with the way she flawlessly finesses her way through any situation. Regardless, Hindsight Grace always has my back.

Upon choosing evacuation plan number 3 Hindsight Grace does the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen her do. She reaches out of the past, hops on the express bus through the space-time continuum and gets off at a stop in the present.

She runs to the control room of my A.S.S. and yells,  “THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA!”

To which Idiot Grace calmly responds, “relax, girl, I got this.”

False. You definitely do not got this.

I continue walking and my friend finally sees me. He’s a real smooth guy, you know charming and handsome, so I know exactly what he’s going to say. He’s going to say, “hey, girl.”

And so he says, “hey girl!”But then adds, “whats up?”

I wasn’t prepared for this.

I press on with evacuation plan number 3 ready for flawless execution, I confidently respond, “Hey, I feel really awkward!”

Hold on that doesn’t seem right. Is this the script we decided on? I don’t stop walking.

“Why,” he asks. I appreciate the fact that he gave me a second chance to be normal. I don’t take it, though. I’m dumb.

Hindsight Grace urges me to abort. I ignore her

“Okay, see you later, bye,” I blurt out in the highest octave my vocal chords can find.

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I don’t stop to hear what they have to say. I continue walking. I can feel the confusion in the air. It’s thick until I get out of their sight. That post awkward situation dread sinks into my system and I’m overcome with regret. Only my pride keeps me from hanging my head in shame. Hindsight Grace shakes her head. I don’t even dare to speak of this moment until at least six months later.

Needless to say I did not overcome the awkward that dark, dark night. BUT…here’s what I learned: No matter how unpleasant or potentially humiliating, get out of your head and stay in the moment.

I’d love it if my stories had happy endings every time so I could always make a great impression. Who wouldn’t want that flawless, effortless control? I’ve developed a violent case of over-thinking. And even if I was smoother than cream cheese and slicker than butter, people would still gather whatever impression they gather because everyone perceives and interprets situations differently.

This whole interaction didn’t need to take any more than 1 minute. 1 minute to get from point A to point B, and that’s including saying hi and bye to my friend and his girl. So, that social interaction needed only to be what, 4.87 seconds tops? And thats only if I had spoken slowly and made a deliberate effort to enunciate.

For some reason, those of us who are more prone to awkward situations think that strategies and planning will help us take control of the situation. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for planning, but when you’re weighing methods to say hello to someone, something has gone terribly wrong. Best case, you spend the rest of your time at that school trying desperately to be normal when you see one or both of them. You fail miserably at that. Meanwhile, you’re spending every spare second you have trying to figure out if this is who you are or if you should be binding the spirit of awkwardness. Thats a confession, not a hypothetical outcome.

Anyway, I’ve made efforts to improve at life since then. I’m living life outside my head and I can honestly say there scenery is much better out here. Bonus points, it also helps relieve chronic cases of RBF! And the story of that most awkward night no longer plagues me. Actually, now it’s just the story my friends use to roast me.¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Hindsight Grace would be proud.

SeekingToLoveMyCrush

“You’re sweet, wanna hit the streets? Wanna wail at the moon like a cat in heat? Just take me out tonight!”
Rent “Out Tonight”

I love musicals and a lot of my life lessons come from them.  Every so often, a musical enters my life and beguiles me with it’s melodic perfection. Rent is one such musical, WATCH IT! There are exactly a billion and two reasons why I love Rent but the character Mimi is top 5 for sure. WATCH IT AGAIN!

Mimi reaaaally likes Roger, but Roger is dumb and while he does like Mimi, he doesn’t really want anything to do with her. So, one night Mimi gets real tired of this and after leaving her work place at midnight, she sings a song, Out Tonight, to Roger. This song basically instructs him to take her out. Bonus, she sings it while climbing, yes, climbing, into his apartment.

I put mad respeck on Mimi’s name, age, and occupation because she was very bold and upfront with her feelings. I mean I don’t think it’s cool to invite yourself into someone’s apartment but, you know, Queen Mimi can do whatever she wants. So, I like Mimi because she is bold

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Now, I’ve had a lot of crushes in my day but I was never one to be hung up on a crush. Granted, when I dated, I dated hard, but a crush?! That just wasn’t my experience. So imagine my surprise when I developed feelings for my current crush. Let’s call him Bae. At first I noticed that Bae was really cool and nice and pretty easy on the eyes. No big deal, just one work of art appreciating another. But a couple weeks went by and I sat down to have an honest conversation with myself.

“So….. about this Bae you been trying to like,” I said.

“No big deal”, I responded, “just a crush.”

There was a comfortable, but lengthy silence.

I continued defensively, “I mean, he’s really great ‘cus *insert never-ending list of amazing qualities.”

“Mhm,” I responded unconvinced.

*Insert slew of profanity. “I have a real crush, I shouted, a hearty mix of shock and disgust surprising the rest of myself.

And that’s the story of how I surprised myself by having a crush. 🙂

And I seldom apologize to myself for it because, well, I have to be honest. I like this guy, and he is like chocolate after a bad day. I would think about his personality and weigh it against my numerous flaws. Usually, this is where a respectable person would come to his or her senses but, like I said idiot Grace loves to take command at the most inconvenient times. Somehow, I’d still be able to make a case for us. So, the laws of attraction could quite possibly be ruling in my favor. And with this realization firmly blocking the path to romantic safety, my inner Mimi began to claw her way out, a stark contrast to the very passive crushes of my past. I’m cool though, because I’m still thinking that it’ll pass with time. Turns out, Father Time is no help at all because the more I hung out with Bae, the more I would discover wonderful things about him. And my feelings grew with every new discovery.

At this point my little crush has seen a couple months well and I wanted, and by wanted I mean want, to bonk him over the head and sing Mimi’s anthem. But I don’t have her boldness. I’ve always tried to bet on people and relationships and I’ve never been scared of heartbreak, but the vulnerability chamber of my heart has lost a bit of it’s elasticity. So I gave, and by gave I mean give, up and chalk it up to one simple, irrational, completely debatable, opinionated fact: He is way out of my league.

At the end of the day I’m left dumfounded at the fact that this boy, excuse my lack of grace, got me trippin’. And although 85% of me really wants to say something, I always stop and thing twice. I think twice about the guy that made me surprise my own self. I think twice about the guy that makes me wonder if I really am rendered speechless so frequently, and worse, so easily. My friend tells me that there are other guys like that and I’m left to think twice about the guy who has turned my response into an definitive and commanding, “impossible.” I think twice about the guy who makes me want to immortalize this experience in writing.

When you apply for colleges they say that you should throw some reach schools in there. These are the really great schools that you apply to even though you might fall just short of entrance criteria. In love they just tell you not to settle, I guess because its terrifying to want someone who is out of your reach. -Sigh- I’m a weenie seeking the cure for sudden onset persistent crush syndrome.

SeekingToLoveBeingTheBaby

“Instead of treated, we get tricked. Instead of kisses, we get kicked. It’s a hard-knock life.”
-Annie, “Hard-knock Life”

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Youngest sibs from every corner of this great big earth, I salute you! I commend you for flawlessly maneuvering one of the more difficult jobs in the world, being the baby of your family. If I could, I would give you an award right now because we baby sibs get a bad rep most of the time. But, before I get into that, I’d like to talk about my inspiration for this blog post.

So, I’m the youngest of 5 and I love my big sibs very much. Ahh I bet you thought I was about to make a sarcastic comment, huh? Well, no tricks here, sorry to disappoint. For real, it’s all love! ❤ ❤ Anyway, not only am I the youngest in my family, but on my father’s side I’m also one of the youngest cousin. Actually I was the youngest cousin for like 12 years, but then my aunt had two boys. So, I’m still the youngest female, which is……. Just great. Moving on, recently my whole family gathered together for my graduation. Even some of my extended family were there and it was just a really great day! But during this really great, seriously just an awesome, wonderful, day, I heard the term ‘baby gracie’ fly around all too freely.

But, maybe you’re wondering oh that’s not so bad. Allow me to make my case. This was my college graduation, as in a graduation for my bachelor’s degree. Also, I graduated college at 23 very adult years of age. So you know, I’m no longer on the verge of adulthood. Like this is serious. I don’t have time to play games. I’m almost 25, which is basically 30, and we all know it’s all downhill from 30. Okay, ‘baby grace’ is just not appropriate. Seriously, put some respeck on my age.

So, I began to ask my sister if I would ever shake this title. Am I gonna go through the milestones of life with ‘baby gracie’. Baby gracie is getting married. Baby gracie bought a house. Baby gracie is having a baby. Baby gracie has finished sending her 2.3 kids to college. It’s just ridiculous, but it made me realize that I’ve spent a great deal of my life trying to shake this baby gracie title and  honestly, it has been exhausting.

And this is probably why we are known for being the ones who never have enough. We’re not smart enough, old enough, serious enough and the list goes on. And in response we try to prove that we’re all those things and more. Unfortunately it will probably come out in a moment of weakness and frustration sounding like, “you guys don’t take me seriously” or “why doesn’t anyone listen when I speak”.

So, lately I decided to try and look at the good side of things to make myself feel better because obviously the other side sucks eggs. Anyway, this took some light research, courtesy of parents.com. Get ready to feel better because science itself is about to send some affirmations your way. Here are 3 awesome characteristics of youngest children.

  1. Youngest children tend to be easy-going and and fun-loving. I mean, I miss the days when I could avoid chores and work in general by harnessing the power of being cute, but I think it’s pretty awesome to have this innate state of calm, even in crazy situations. A calm demeanor opens the door for a clear mind, and hopefully good decision-making. Structure is very important but so is having fun and relaxing. You’re basically the comic relief of the family!
  1. Youngest children tend to be outgoing. I think a lot of us have benefited from the security of having others look out for us more than we look out for ourselves. This in and of itself is pretty horrible, ‘cus, you know…take care of yourself and what not, but, I think it has given us a really deep inner confidence. After all, we grew up hanging out with people older than us, so chances are we picked up some cool social skills along the way. And even if things go horribly wrong, we’ve still got our families to fall back on. And at the very least, we know where to go to find people that will tell us how to fix it.
  1. Youngest children tend to be uncomplicated. And this, I think, is one of our greatest attributes. I feel like we’re just easy to please. There doesn’t have to be a bunch of drama or flash. Aaaaannnd that’s probably because we’ve had countless hand-me-downs and we’re just used to things just working themselves out somehow.

Now, of course, parents.com listed some not so great characteristics as well, like our predispositions to being manipulative or self-centered. I was a little offended but I mean, I guess I see that *rolls eyes*. We grew up teaching ourselves how to weasel our way out of things. If you keep that little habit unchecked you’ve got an evil genius on your hands. And, on top of that, we’re used to having people fuss over us, which might inflate our egos way more than they should be. But, as with most things, a little goes a long way.

So, chin up baby sibs, we’re still pretty awesome, even as adults trying to find a way in this crazy world outside of our parents and siblings. Hey, if you’re not ready to think you’re awesome yet, then be comforted in this fact alone: I understand.

I know sometimes it feels like the life is sucked out of your accomplishments because you weren’t first, or second, or even third to pass that milestone. I know sometimes it feels like you’ll never catch up to how smart and accomplished and put together your big siblings seem. –sigh- And probably what’s hardest is knowing that sometimes it seems like your mistakes are the only ones anyone is willing to laugh at.

But I also know that you’re probably working really hard so that ‘baby ______’ isn’t the first thing people see when you meet them or when you meet them again. So, take it easy, scientifically that easier for you anyway, breathe, and use that innate confidence to your advantage. That baby title is but small mark on the canvas that is your identity (Daaaang Grace you mad poetic) and you’ve got plenty of time left to paint, more time than your big sibs at least.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

SeekingToLoveThePast

“Don’t love a traveling girl. She’ll leave you broke and broken hearted.”
Avatar: The Last Airbender

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Now, I remember watching this show when it first came out and I thought it was VERY good for a kid’s cartoon, but I didn’t really think too much on it. 9 years later I’m re-watching the series finale at a get together with some teammates. The show was actually a running inside joke for us. Again, I knew it was awesome but didn’t really pay it any attention. Now, it’s been almost a year since that get together and I decided to watch the Avatar again from start to finish. I’m learning so much, so so so much.

Now, for all the casual fans out there, let me apologize because things are about to get so serious. Okay, I think the Avatar is a show primarily about redemption. I don’t mean redemption in the Christian sense where our sins are washed away and we are now blameless. Actually, maybe I kind of do mean it that way. Anyway, I mostly mean it as the act of taking back something that was once yours.

I’m not sure if I’m articulating this well but here is the example I have running through my mind at the moment. Ever heard of ‘winning’ a break up? Somehow we’ve gotten the idea that if a couple breaks up, the first person to move on, is happy with someone new, is somehow doing a lot better than their opponent, who is still single. By finding someone new, I suppose the person has redeemed his or herself from any form of humiliation the original break up may have brought about. I hope that’s not too confusing. And I don’t mean that to say that I think this is too complex of a concept. I just mean I hope I’m explaining it well.

Anyway, in the Avatar there is a character named Zuko. Zuko is an amazing firebender. I realize this term is lost on those who haven’t seen the show. Firstly, WATCH IT. Secondly, a bender is someone who can manipulate one of 4 elements, either water, earth, fire, and air. So, Zuko can manipulate and control fire. Okay, so Zuko is a firebender. Zuko is a prince. Zuko, if you look at his picture upside down and tilted slightly to the right at an .047 degree angle while eating the third quarter of a half peeled banana, is also 100% ME.

I identify SO MUCH with Zuko because he messed up and spent years trying to make up for it. His father, the king, banished him from their kingdom and in doing so took Zuko’s honor and future throne. Can you imagine what it must feel like to lose your honor? Honor is like everything good about you. Honor is every achievement, every privilege, every ounce of respect you’ve ever earned since the moment you were born. And Zuko lost ALL of that and wants so desperately to fix everything that he spends years trying to redeem himself and regain his honor.

I sympathize because I am also a fixer. If I do something wrong I desperately want to fix it. If I feel like I’m not good enough, I desperately want to become better. In fact, sometimes I don’t understand how people could mess up and not try to do anything about it. That doesn’t make any sense to me. And perhaps that is why I had to learn the hard way that there are just some things you can’t fix and some things you shouldn’t fix.

A lot of times I want to reach into the screen, hug Zuko, and tell him that making a mistake doesn’t make you a bad person, even if it’s a reaaalllllly big mistake. I wish I could do the same with my younger self. I think sometimes we put such finality into our actions and that makes it hard to move on, grow, change, learn, from our more memorable failures. And the if I could just.. and if only I had.. thoughts get the opportunity to take over and we become slaves to our, sometimes real but mostly, perceived inadequacies.

My name is Grace and I’m a fixer in recovery. I know now that fixing is a way to jumpstart redemption and I guess, in some ways, a coping mechanism for loss. But I must admit that a lot of times fixing is just a really fast way to feel better about myself, and that’s really selfish. Sometimes situations are too delicate for a rushed fix. Sometimes the situations fix themselves. And, sometimes it’s best not to fix it. Of the three I think doing nothing is the hardest, and yet perhaps the most rewarding.

May our failures make us learn. May our mistakes help up grow. May we learn to bend in bad circumstances, but always know when to let go.

SeekingToLoveRunning Part 1

“When you’re feeling certain feelings that just don’t seem right, treat those pesky feelings like a reading light and turn ’em off.”
Book of Mormon, “Turn It Off”

As a kid I was actually a really good sprinter. The other moms would ask my mom which athletic club I had trained with for sports day. You know I rep that I-used-to-run-barefoot-in-the-road-so-running-with-shoes-is-easy-now club. Despite my natural knack for sprinting, I always sucked at distance. Anything above 200 meters was a struggle.

One time for sports day they said I should run the 400 meter race. I don’t remember what my reaction was to the news, but if I know myself it was probably something like, if they think that I can do it, then I probably can and should. So I did. Man, I started off strong, man. I think I was winning too. The sun shining down on my face. My two little girl braids are bouncing in the wind. I ran past one of my teachers and she goes, “OH MY GOD, GRACE”. I’m a legend. I’m a track superstar right now. And I’m killing it riiiiiight up until that 300 meter mark where I conveniently burnt out. My opponents are running past me and right now I feel like that Mr. Krabs meme. No doubt I finished last, waaay after everyone else. Shout out to my mom. She’s so loyal. She was pretty much the only one to cheer me across that finish line. I still remember what she said, “Come on, Gracie, come on!”

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I believe that was fifth grade. Somewhere along the line I just stopped running and maybe even began to resent it, and other forms of traditional exercise. I got into other things, like dance and zumba. For a long time dance was my main source of exercise and I loved it. I got stronger, more agile, even more flexible. Actually, let me clarify. I’m still not flexible, I’ve just gotten more flexible than I was. Anyway, much like how I got the idea for this blog, I started having this thought that maybe I should pick up running again and this thought just wouldn’t leave me alone.

That was about a year ago around the beginning of my last semester in college. So I was like okay cool cool cool. I think I can do it. I mean how hard can it be? I even set some goals. I was going to run Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I was going to run in the morning, under the cover of darkness so as to avoid humiliation. Yeah… that lasted for about 2 weeks and it wasn’t even a consistent two weeks either.

So, a few days ago I started having the same thought again. I could run. I no longer live on campus so it is not likely that anyone that I care about would see me. I also thought it would make a pretty good blog post. I’m thinking with those two factors in place there is little to no way this could end badly. So, I google up some 30-day running challenges and I resolve to pick one thats actually challenging so that I wont wimp out. <– You’d think I’d know by now when idiot Grace is threatening to come out but alas, she continues to get the best of me sometimes.

Day one says 25 minutes. Okay, seems like a lot but I got this. I stretch on my leggings and dust off my running shoes. I don’t stretch because stretching is for weenies. I don’t have any music either because music is also for weenies. Weenies get all the good stuff apparently. I feel confident. I feel strong. I’m going take it slow though, don’t want to burn out too fast. Here I go. Running free at 3pm without a care in the world. WELL…turns out I had several cares in ALL the worlds because I gave up after 6 minutes. Yes I was timing myself.

Why? I don’t even know. this overwhelming embarrassment just overtook me and I felt so self-conscious in that moment. Mind you, I’m  pathetically VERY proud of my six minutes but I was just so embarrassed. There is next to no one on the road, just cars driving by. I stopped at a corner maybe 3 blocks from my house. It was a left turn and I was supposed to continue running straight. At the top of that left turn was a mom and her kid. THEY DIDN’T EVEN SEE ME but I felt so ashamed I turned around right there and walked home.

I have no appropriate explanation for this. I keep waiting for an encouraging lesson to drop in my head so that I can share it with you all, but I got nothing. Actually, perhaps its this: self-consciousness is crippling and it is important that we never allow it to have the upper hand.

I have titled this blog SeekingToLoveRunning Part 1 because there will be a part 2. And I’ll try not to chicken out that time. And I’m not going back out there to prove anything to anyone or to prove anything to myself. I’m only going to keep my self-consciousness in check. But, perhaps I’ll go under the cover of darkness and in my head I’ll replay my mom going come on, Gracie!