Back in January 2016, I received unexpected news. I found out that I had a herniated disc, two bulging discs and a series of other problems with my back. Only two months prior, I had run my first half marathon. Earlier in 2015, I had run a 10-miler and a 15K as well. It was shocking and devastating to have the doctor tell me “Your running days are over”. You can read more about the details of that season of my life at my blog, Earl Grey and Yellow.
By the end of August 2016, I had progressed enough that my doctor said I was able to run a little. He said I could do maybe a mile of intervals, no straight running. He also advised that I needed to lose weight if I really wanted to help my back. I knew he was right. Though I’d run those races, only having taken up running in the past five years, I was overweight. Not a little bit either. I was carrying 50-60 pounds more than I should.
I ran once in October 2016, then once in March 2017. Frankly, I was afraid of what might happen if I ran. I feared re-aggravating my injury or doing some harm that might require surgery. As a result, my weight kept creeping up and my activity level was low. I wasn’t even walking or riding my bike, two “safe” activities according to my doctor.
In September 2017, after a summer of gaining, not losing weight, I decided that enough was enough. I’d allowed fear to become my excuse for complacency. I was convicted by the Holy Spirit because I’d been spinning my wheels and not being a good steward of my body. As a blogger, I thought going public with my progress would be good for me and encouraging to others. I decided to use Instagram as the platform to share photos of the whiteboard I was using to keep track of my progress.
This September yielded little more than a yo-yo show. I’d effectively fiddled around and wasted yet another month, remaining practically the same weight and getting almost no exercise. At the end of the month, I decided once and for all to choose faith over fear. I went for a run on September 30 and it was surprisingly okay. I was slightly sore, but I survived. I iced afterwards and made a plan to run again in a few more days.
By allowing fear to become my excuse, I justified my inaction, citing concern over “what could happen” if I did take action. I was fooling no one, not myself, and certainly not the Lord. In 2 Timothy 1:7, we are reminded:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (NLT)
My spirit of fear had been a comfortable excuse for throwing self-discipline to the wind and playing the victim. And honestly, “what could happen” if I don’t eat better, exercise and get healthy is the real issue. I had Gestational Diabetes with my 3rd child, which increases the chances of Type 2 Diabetes later in life. Being overweight can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. I don’t want any of those things. I’m tired of the 25 year cycle of trying, failing, and self-loathing because I continue to make poor choices and excuses.
I have finally chosen to honor God with my body by tracking my food, getting exercise, and staying the course this time. No matter how long it takes, I am going to see it through. Be encouraged that you can start TODAY to tackle whatever you’ve been putting off by using fear as an excuse. You serve a God who is your help and your provider. Day by day is the way we do it.