Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dizzying Thoughts

"It's all in your head."

The voice threatens to overwhelm, to defeat my paltry effort at activity today, today when I am most definitely dragging, using every ounce of energy to pull myself - stroke by stroke - across the pool.

The dizziness comes.  I must stop, I think, as I move - pull, kick, glide - down the lane.

I begin to resent, to let the already negative energy I've been battling all morning take me even further down the rabbit hole.

I hate this.  I've only just begun.  How could I need to stop so soon?  Why won't my body cooperate?  I don't like the message it's sending me.

"It's all in your head."

The words come again, but, this time, there is only a shadow of the former darkness.  I can still see the face of the one who used to tell me that as a child.  He meant well.  He was trying to toughen me up, to teach me to push through mental battles and succeed in spite of weakness, limitation.  He wanted me to learn strength.

I continue to swim, even when I know I shouldn't.  I'm succumbing to the old lesson, the "push through" lesson, the "don't listen to yourself" lesson.

Then, the voice comes again, but it is softer, gentler, different yet the same.

"It's all in your head."

It is in my head - the message, the trigger, the flashing light I need to see before I move past the point of no return.

I am dizzy; therefore, I must stop exercising, whether I want to or not.

But it's more than that; somewhere along my journey I have had to learn how to flip a switch inside my head, to turn my thoughts over on themselves so that a new way of thinking comes out on top.

As I swim, I think: "thank you, God.  Thank you that it's all in my head.  My thoughts do matter, and I need to listen to them."

So I go gentler, move slower, think softer thoughts toward myself, my abilities, my limitations, my weakness.

I think...I can't push through, and I shouldn't.  The lesson here is to listen, to honor, to obey the voice inside me that is a gift from my Maker, to embrace my weakness.  To give up rather than go on.

The lessons of my youth were meant well.  Everyone wants their children to be ready for what will come (and we all know that pain, challenge, stress will come).  But they were ill-conceived, missing the key point.

I can not push through; there simply isn't enough strength there.  And if I try to force the issue - whatever the issue may be - on my own strength I will ultimately do much more damage than if I had never tried at all.

It's when I embrace that holy truth that I live a much fuller life, a much rounder one, more complete, more perfect.  I am, eventually, able to go farther and do more than I ever was, not because of my own strength but because of the strength of the One who binds me.

I'm not saying I'll be able to swim a triatholon any time soon, if ever.  Who knows?  But I am saying that I'll be able to keep swimming, one arm in front of the other, legs kicking behind, because I chose to stop today. 

If I had "pushed through" and hurt myself in the process, it would have taken me weeks to recover (trust me, I've tried that...many times, actually).  Instead, by treating myself kindly and honoring my ability to know myself, I will swim again, maybe even tomorrow.  If not tomorrow, then definitely the day after. 

My recovery time is shortened because I no longer fight to succeed in spite of weakness.  I let myself be weak and don't deride myself for my limits, even when it's hard, even when I want to. 

I repent.  I say "thank you" when I want to complain.  I trust that He knows even when I don't understand.  I float when I can't stroke until the energy comes back again and I move forward.  This is a good feeling.  Good in my bones, good in my muscles, and, yes, good in my thoughts.

After all, it is all in my head.

What messages do you need to "flip" upside-down today?  How do you need to "go gentler" with yourself?

1 comment:

  1. It must have taken a lot of energy ... but you certainly ended up knowing more about yourself and listening well. Enjoy the rest.