Exit: One thing I have learned during this season is how important it is to fix your eyes on something, and keep them there, so that you don’t be distracted by all of the noise around you. My mind tends to wonder and is so easily distracted. I also struggle with comparing my weaknesses to someone else’s strengths during vulnerable moments like yesterday.
I have been working out at an incredible gym in town and yesterday was tough for me. Since I am new there the coach was helping me make sure my form was correct and we talked a little here and there about my why. I told him I am changing a few things in my life and my health is one of them. I also said “change is hard but for me, it is time, no excuses”! I want to be a role model for my children and fully present in this lives. I deeply desire the best relationship with my incredibly supportive husband. I want to not only survive the storms of life but I also want to thrive through them and rise in the aftermath, stronger and better than I was before.
My coach asked how old my littlest one is and I said she is five. I placed my hands on my abdomen and with a half smile on my face I said “this isn’t baby weight, it’s grief”! I told him about losing both of my brothers years apart and the most recent loss was tragic and happened during the beginning of this COVID crisis. Thankfully he wasn’t uncomfortable at my disclosure. He was empathetic and honestly that is what I needed in that moment. The moment I shared I felt a little embarrassed that I was disclosing because he isn’t my counselor he is my coach. I believe God placed him there in that moment. His demeanor shifted, he not only felt compassion but understanding as he shared that he too had lost his sister a few years ago. The embarrassment exited and gratitude filled me. I wasn’t grateful for his loss but for his understanding. Sometimes we just need to know that someone understands.
After the warm up we started our workout and I found myself in a vulnerable state. I began to cry and thankfully I was facing away from everyone so they couldn’t see me. For a moment I thought about running through the exit door and leaving because I did not want to look weak but instead, I stayed! As the tears were filling my eyes I kept pushing but begged my grief to leave me alone! I thought about how much I missed my brothers. I got angry that they were gone and I wouldn’t get to share any moments of this life with them again on earth! While I lifted the weighted barbel and kept pushing through the physical and mental anguish I looked at the exit sign that was tempting me and whispered to myself “I am an athlete! I don’t quit”! I didn’t quit! I didn’t give up! I pushed through the pain and tears and fixed my FOCUS and finished.
I fixed my eyes on the red exit sign. I thought about all of the times I took the “emergency exit” to escape, instead of dealing with the big emotions during this terrible season! I turned to comfort food instead of self care. I know there is grace during these seasons but I must recognize where I can grow if I truly desire to grow. The comfort food, every choice to lay in bed and mindlessly search social media or sleep it off, every missed opportunity to go for a walk or workout with a family member or friend and every drink to take the edge off, truly hurt my body. Although I do forgive myself and practice grace, I would be a fool not to recognize the destruction of my choices. One of the hardest battles is that it is socially acceptable to do these things when you fall on hard times but I want to encourage you not to! I am making a commitment now to delay the exit until the right moment.
This exit sign became a symbol for me. Not only did it help me make it through a tough workout but it also helped me see that looking upward in our focus can help heal us. I will stay and fight through the pain and only exit when I have accomplished my goals and even then I will not quit fixing my eyes on all that I need to rid myself of. These things that do not benefit my body, spirit, and mind no longer have a place in my life!
If you are in town please join me at the gym and take the exit only after you have completed the goal for the day. You are not alone! Show up and fight for the life you desire to live.
Stephanie Ellison is an author, wife, mom, advocate, musician, podcaster, singer, and public speaker. She shares a message of hope and healing throughout Texas and the United States and her message has been read and heard internationally. For speaking inquiries please contact mike at Mike@IMPACTtruth.com