What don't kill ya makes ya stronger

Man, I’ve been to more concerts the last couple months than I have in years. We went to Needtobreathe (one of my favorites) in February, Bethel sometime this winter, and the other night went to see Switchfoot with Colony House for Rusty’s birthday. Good music is good for your soul. It’s fun, because of it I’ve been listening to Needtobreathe a lot more and this song just popped up with the lyrics, what don’t kill ya makes ya stronger.

I’ve felt a lot of this last season has been one of pruning. Nothing has been awful, honestly I’ve been a season of lots of contentment, but it’s also been challenging. I was thinking back and I haven’t raced a marathon in almost a year. WHAT?! This is the event I’m training for and by the time I race my next one it will have been over a year since I last raced it. That’s one LONG training season friends. Thinking back through that I’ve seen God teach me a lot of patience and grace.

It’s been a long season, but also a really good one. I feel God has given me more confidence than ever. I love it. But it definitely means I have to keep pushing. I’ve felt like a lot of the struggle has been just as they sing…it’s made me stronger and I didn’t die. Just because it’s been good, doesn’t mean there haven’t been ups and downs. Days when I question or times I doubt. I often find myself thinking deeply and wondering what this season is to teach me or why patience seems to be such a theme. It has been hard. But I find the seasons that a hard are often the ones that are most memorable. They grow you the most and make you focus on what’s most important.

Every time I come back to it, I remember what is important. My relationship with Jesus, my relationship with Rusty, others and my health. I am this go getter. When I was a kid I was involved in everything. Literally, all the extras. I wanted to be great at everything thing I did, but I always struggled to pour my heart and soul into one thing. I often found myself stressed, anxious, burnt out, or sick.

As an adult, I’ve really been challenged to focus on my health. As an athlete it’s been even more important. And every time I find myself trying to spread myself thin, do everything, please everyone, I end up sacrificing one of the most important things: my health. It’s weird. I often find it weird that my job is doing what I love. It doesn’t feel like work a lot of times. Because of that I often feel guilty. I feel I’m doing enough, when the fact of the matter is, I’m doing what’s best for me and my family. Ha. I go back and forth on this all the time. I want to be making more money. Yup, biggest struggle for me living in Miami. I feel I don’t contribute enough to our family. But money does not equal hard work friends.

What a crazy concept.

Growing up, the whole idea is to go to college, get a degree, find a good paying job, start a family. When in fact some of the best things we can do for ourselves and our family don’t come with a paycheck (or at least a large one).

But I get discouraged.

It’s so countercultural to do something that comes with a smaller paycheck. It’s crazy to pursue something that gives you life, but not stability. That’s considered irresponsible.

But on days like today. I woke up, met a friend, came home at breakfast, and worked for a bit. Then by 10:30 am I was getting cranky and felt exhausted. So you know what? I took a nap. Yes, I napped at 10:30 in the morning. And I thought about it and was like, if I was working a job that required me to sit in an office for 8-9 hours a day, I couldn’t do this. I also wouldn’t be happy. If I did that, honestly, I probably couldn’t fully pursue my running career, I require a lot of sleep and I also get anxious and stressed when I have to be in the same place for too long. Also, if I had a awful night of insomnia and didn’t sleep, I would still have to wake up at 6 and go to work. When now, I can wake up, eat, get a few things done and go back to bed. I don’t have to stress or get anxious about working in an unhealthy environment. I also get to change locations, go on walks and run/workout whenever I need.

It’s still hard for me to be okay with this at times.

I’ve told Rusty this, I am TERRIFIED of being lazy. Terrified.

Forget that I workout 2-4 hours a day…

Honestly, it comes down to this: my desire, my hope for this life, is to live it to fullest. That requires something very very very important for me: to be HEALTHY.

For me, that means not spreading myself too thin. For me, that means I want my me time-I love working from home (especially now with my new desk) and I work so well on my own. People often distract me or overwhelm me. I know, I’m a STRONG introvert. For me, that means not making a 6-figure paycheck, because unless people want to sponsor me for that much-I will never coach enough clients to make that. I don’t want because I value MARGIN. It’s huge for my health. I get overwhelmed easily. I easily spread myself too thin. And you know what? I need 9-11 hours of sleep a night. I need downtime to remain sane and my mind stay healthy. I also need to have the time to be with people I love and lift me up (again this requires margin). I want to be able to coach track and cross country. I’m healthier because I get to cook all my lunches at home everyday as well as breakfast and dinner. I need that time to read before bed.

Also, I’m realizing if I want to be the best of the best. That comes with some serious sacrifice, and that may mean sacrificing money. Money can’t buy you happiness.

I know I just went off. But I’m mainly writing this out to process my own thoughts. This is my word vomiting for the day. I’m being honest, I’ve really struggled with what I’m doing here. And if I’m really opening up, it’s #1 because I feel like I don’t make enough money. I’m so embarrassed to say that, because I claim to be so non-materialistic. These last couple of months have been sometime of reevaluation. I’ve struggled. I’ve felt like I’ve let my family down, when in fact, God has provided plenty for us. It’s tight, but we’re making it. I’m still working 5 days a week. I run 6-7 days a week (and on vacation). It’s not like I’m lazy. But it’s weird not getting this steady income. It’s part of being an entrepreneur that I struggle with. But I’m still making money. I’m still working. And I’m healthier now than EVER. Even with the anemia I was able to bounce back and stay mentally okay. It’s nuts friends. The running thing is finally really clicking. Like for REAL. And yeah, it’s not this glorious life from the outside, but it’s my life and honestly I love it. I think I feel a little guilty that I love it so much. I always thought work had to be a drag, it had to feel like work, but when it’s something you love it doesn’t feel like work, it’s joyful and lifegiving. It’s fun and rewarding.

Perspective. It’s an important thing to remember.

Sometimes we have to pause and see what’s so good, see the work God has done and be grateful. Yeah, life may not always look like what we expected, but as I sit here and think: this life, this journey, this season, my circumstances are all gifts from God. There his way of looking down on me and saying “I know what’s best for you: trust me, this is so much better than anything you had planned.”

And friends it’s true. I don’t always understand God’s ways or his timing. But I’m learning more and more to trust his plan and not my own. His is always better. And that doesn’t mean shit won’t happen. It will. But God will take that mess and turn into something beautiful. I would have never imagined sitting in the ER from an overdose would ever be considered a beautiful part of my story, but without that I wouldn’t be here today, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. I wouldn’t have pursued this dream of running, I wouldn’t have started my own business, I wouldn’t have Ryan Hall as my coach. All because of this season of hell, I found hope and restoration.

So I’m leave you with this. I’m praying for you. I pray you see the light in the darkness. I pray you fight for your own health and not a worldly status. I pray you find freedom and comfort in the arms of our Savior. And I hope you find something to be thankful for today. I pray you find hope in whatever season you’re in because there is always hope for tomorrow.

Jo ButlerComment