Two weeks ago, I put this picture up on Instagram:
With this caption:
“I love this! This is on the wall in the weight room at my gym. I’m thinking about all the areas in my life that this is applicable to: exercise, art, parenting, prayer. Is this encouraging to you as well?
Also, I dreamed that I did squats until my legs turned to jelly, and then my alarm went off and I had to get up, go to the gym and start all over. Why don’t dream squats count, for real?
We go to the gym first thing every Monday morning. It’s hard to get there some weeks, but so worth it. It starts the week on a positive tone, makes for a happier momma, and a more productive homeschool week.
What do you do to start your week?”
When I read it again later in the week, it made me cringe. Do you ever do that? You throw something on to Instagram or Facebook with the best intentions, but then later you realize it was little more than a humblebrag?
We all know how easy it is to put up the easy pictures, the beautiful pictures, the not-completely-truthful pictures. Pictures taken in the one uncluttered, well-lit corner of our home. Pictures that just tell part of our whole day, skipping the messiness, tears, stretch marks, and dirty laundry.
I wanted a do-over with this picture.
I honestly do like the sentiment. A lot. It made me think about several areas in my life where I need to loosen up and enjoy the process. So I don’t think I should just scrap the photo and the info.
But what if I just told the whole truth, instead? Here goes.
We do go to the gym bright and early every Monday morning. And honestly, it’s hard to get there almost every week. Sometimes I drop the kids off at the childcare and go sit in the locker room and try not to cry, while boosting my courage enough to go to the weight room.
And you know what the biggest motivation for me to get out of bed and get there is? If I cancel my reservation for free childcare, made a week in advance, they will charge me. I don’t want to pay $10 to not work out.
Do you know why I work out? It’s to save my life. I am keeping one step ahead of the weight of depression that is constantly threatening to settle on my heart. For me, the best long-term treatment I’ve found is regular exercise and nutrition. I know that if I don’t make it to the gym, I will have to fight even harder the next morning to wake up and face the day without dread. And with the dread comes negative thoughts. Then self-loathing. Then numbness. Then nothing. And the nothingness is scarier than anything.
So when I write about doing squats, I’m barely lifting anything. I’m just doing it. Doing the little I can to remain emotionally present in my life.
And you know what? I rock at Monday mornings, even when it’s a struggle to get there. My kids are dressed and fed, and I drop them off in a new environment with new toys and books to explore for two hours. Yeah, Monday mornings are my jam.
But you know what’s not my jam? Pretttty much everythig else. After the gym, we come home to a 9 year old puppy that always wants attention, clean laundry that hasn’t been folded in two weeks, a sink that’s usually full of dirty dishes, a floor that probably needs to be mopped, a to-do list that I can’t even find. And I can’t even get started on those things because then our homeschooling day starts.
So that’s the truth. I rock Mondays. The rest of the week? Meh. I’m working on it.
So I’lll ask the question again. What do you do as part of your weekly schedule to bring life to yourself? Do you hit up the gym? Lots of coffee? Employ a maid service? Yoga? Prayer time? How about if we celebrate the life-giving things, while all knowing that we struggle in other areas? We know we’re not all perfect, so let’s stop pretending. There’s freedom and grace there.