Wisdom

My hip flexor is getting better… not as fast as I would like but it is improving. Daniel is encouraging me to keep focused on the recovery “like you focus in the bottom of a squat; it’s what gives power to resulting press.” His favorite words to me are “sine curve, not line” because no one progresses in a constant, linear fashion.

Of course, sometimes he just messes with me. Like the day he said, “Go ahead and run on an injured hip flexor. *pause* That’s how I shattered my hip and couldn’t run at all for a year.”

Thanks, Daniel. Always keeping it real.

Donovan has been a great coach in the process too. Reminding me to slow down and listen to my body. Asking me how each exercise feels every time I do anything. Keeping my muscles challenged as much as he can without irritating anything. And reminding me constantly that rushing recovery is the best way to make it take longer.

As much as I appreciate both of these guys, recovery is an inside job. Donovan can only coach based on what I am willing to confess… and everything in me wants to deny all pain and just push through. I have goals and this process feels like a hindrance to achieving them.

Speaking of hindrances to goals… we need to talk a bit about cookies.

I’m super glad that I didn’t freak out when I decided to eat way too many cookies at that party. I’m excited about my progress and ready for the next adventure. But, seriously, y’all, it has to stop!

Tuesday I justified one cookie at a time till I got to 4. Wednesday night was the “Cookie Party” then Thursday morning I had four before lunch.

Sweets are something I’ve avoided for very deliberately… Thanksgiving was my first real deviance since starting with Donovan in June. This week has been a string of one compromise after another.

So what does all this rambling have to do with anything? I’m taking today about my favorite paradox “Grace and Truth.” (These are the “Bible” words but you don’t have to be a Christian to relate to this concept.)

See, the Bible is pretty clear that there is this vital balance between those two concepts. Grace is about forgiving and moving past mistakes. Truth is about calling it what it is and addressing those mistakes. (Some passages call it Law instead of Truth.)

Life with Grace and no Truth is licentiousness. That’s my SAT word for the day… it basically means you are a wild child. You make your own rules and no one gets to judge you for it. And that’s awesome… until those rules you are making start harming yourself and others.

A great example is my cookie problem. If I keep living in Grace without Truth, then every day I can justify all the cookies I want to eat. And that’s great. And no one can judge me. But in a month when I don’t like what I see in the mirror then I will pay the price for my “cheap Grace” that neglected the Truth: those cookies are not good for my fitness goals.

Now let’s talk about Truth without Grace. Because this is equally evil. Truth without grace makes me a Legalist (turned inward) or a Pharisee (turned outward). The Legalist beats themselves up to perform to an unrealistic standard. The Pharisee takes that standard and applies it to others, even if they themselves are not living by the same standard. (Pharisees are the people who give Christians a bad name and they were the primary target for most of Jesus’ criticisms.)

A great example of Truth without Grace is my unwavering commitment to workout every day… and not slowing down when my body became injured. In fact, the reason it’s taking so long to recover is because I didn’t even tell Donovan about the pain until it had been going on for like 6 weeks. As soon as I started feeling even a bit better, I wanted to go back to 100% and Donovan has had to, multiple times, tell me to slow down and let recovery run its course.

I feel like recovery is some kind of punishment for doing something wrong. I can’t workout like I want to and it’s because I failed in some way… but that’s totally not the case. The reason I need recovery is because I did amazing things and challenged my body to do what it couldn’t have done before. Now my muscles need a break before I go scale the next mountain.

If you were to read everything I have written, you will find that this balance of Grace and Truth is my constant quest. To me, understanding and balancing these in how I treat myself and in how I interact with my friends/family is the ultimate Wisdom.

You’ll also pick up on the fact that I don’t claim to have this figured out… not even a little bit.

I think we all have one of the two that comes easier than the other. For me it has always been the “Truth” element that I am drawn to. Create lines and punish those who cross them. Punish myself for crossing them. And this makes me a really hard person to live with… just ask any of my former roommates.

But, as is clear with the cookies, even the staunchest Legalist and sway in to Licentiousness. Why?

With solid black and white rules, there is no grey area and so one cookie vs 100 cookies are both a failure. With that mindset in hand, I have many times been on the “I will start again on Monday” train. Really, y’all, like Monday is always my best day, no matter what discipline we are charting.

The cure is not to weaken Truth and say that cookies are ok. Rather to learn to accept small deviations without negating the entire law. This to me is the ultimate maturity and something that I am striving to master more and more each year.

To accept and forgive the cookie I ate without using it to justify the next. That is true Wisdom.

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