mrsmomdragon

Sharing my adventures, thoughts and occassional jokes. Sorting through laundry, and a little bit of life…This is How I Train My Dragons…

Lessons in Cross Country: Going Beyond Your Comfort Zone

comfortable–adjective: 1.  providing physical ease and relaxation  2. affording or enjoying contentment and security

 


A few weeks ago, Elijah’s cross country coach approached us as we were waiting for practice to be over. I assumed he was going to tell us something about the upcoming meet, but the words that came out his his mouth were, “How has Elijah been these last few weeks?” My mind scrambled to find an answer because I was honesty getting a little nervous about how this conversation was going to go, so my response was simple…he had been sick. His coach knew that, but it was more than just Elijah being sick. He shared that Elijah was doing well this season, but not as well as he had hoped. He had expected to see some growth since is his second season of cross country, and it just wasn’t there.

Ouch. His words stung a little. But yet, isn’t that what the truth does?

As the conversation continued, Ray worded it perfectly. It’s not that Elijah isn’t enjoying cross country because he loves it (seriously, he didn’t get the running genes from me)… he is just comfortable. You see, Elijah has been running long enough to know when it hurts and gets uncomfortable. So, he knows how hard to push himself before his body crosses the line from comfortable to uncomfortable.

The following week, we spoke with Elijah about what his coach said. Honestly, I was unsure if it was a good idea because there were tears…but again, sometimes the truth stings a little doesn’t it? We just asked him if he thought he was running his best race. Could he honestly say he was doing his best? The answer was no. It wasn’t an easy conversation to have because we don’t ever want any of our kids to think that we aren’t proud of them. Elijah could run a 50 minute mile, and we would still be proud of him…but, we know that he is capable of doing better. And, his coach knows Elijah well enough to know he is capable of so much more too. I don’t think I have ever seen a coach so passionate about the sport and genuinely wanting each child to succeed and run their best race.

Well, that next week, he ran his best race of the season. Actually, it was his best race ever. He pushed himself harder and realized it really was possible; that he was capable of feeling uncomfortable for a bit.

That night I went back into Elijah’s room to put him to bed, and as I was going to turn the light switch off, I noticed he had decorated his wall. He put up all of the race bibs that he has saved, one of his favorite quotes, and the last meets time with his name circled with “BEAT IT!!” written next to it. He made a little inspiration wall so every time he turned on and off his lights he would see things that mattered to him…a goal that was on the other side of his comfort zone.

The following week, he actually didn’t get to run in the meet because his knees had been bothering him during the warm up. After so much anticipation and excitement, he just had to watch. Again, there were tears because he not only wanted to run, but he felt like he was letting his team down.

Fast forward to this past Thursday. The cross country team had their League Championship meet…2.5 miles. I get tired just thinking of running that long. Anyway, after two weeks of seeing the inspiration on his wall it was time to run again. I was wrong, the previous race was not his best race–this one was. Elijah came in at 18:43 which was 25 seconds faster than his coach had predicted.

But wait, there’s more. (Sounds a little like an informercial right?) On the same card that the coach writes his predictions for the kids, he writes their times from the previous year. Last year, Elijah ran the same race in 21:03…if you struggle in math like I do, that means that he beat his time by 2 minutes and 20 seconds!! He felt SO stinking good at the end and seeing the smile on his face was amazing. If it felt good for us, I can only imagine what it felt like for him…

Sometimes, we are so comfortable in our life, that we don’t allow ourselves to ever go beyond it…Can I encourage you (with the help of my sweet son) to push yourself a little harder this week. No one likes to feel uncomfortable. But, it is in those times where we feel the most uncomfortable that we tend to experience the most growth! So, step outside of your comfort zone because you might surprise yourself!comfort zone

 

 

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Hands

You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their hands.

Sometimes you can tell what they do for a living, what they spend time doing, or even what mistakes they might have made along the way.

I remember when Emaleigh was in kindergarten and she learned how to do the monkey bars, she had blisters all over the palms of her hands. It was almost like a kindergarten rite of passage to get these blisters. As she got older and quit doing the monkey bars as often, her blisters went away.

When I was younger, my Dad had this special orange soap (literally it smelled like oranges) that was supposed to be tough on grease. Every night before dinner, he would wash his hands with that soap and no matter how hard he scrubbed, his hands still looked dirty. You see, my dad was (is) one of the hardest working people that I know. He worked sun up to well over sun down on and around the farm. Years of dirt, grease, oil, joy, and pain filled under each fingernail and within every crease of his rough, cracked, hands…making it almost impossible for them to be fully clean.

I’ll never forget when I saw my Dad for the first time about 4 years ago. I didn’t notice the green uniform that made him instantly identifiable as an inmate, nor did I notice standard issue boots that every other male in the gray chairs were wearing. As crazy as it sounds, it wasn’t completely shocking to me to see my dad as a prison inmate (bear with me).

What caught me most off guard was looking down at my Dad’s hands. They were no longer the hands I remember so fondly during my childhood. The rugged hands that grease the tractors, the hands callused from shoveling for hours, or the stained hands that would clench the spoon over his late night bowl of cereal; these were not the same hands. The hands that I was looking at were stark white and there was nothing that said, “now there’s a hard worker”. These hands that reached across the table for mine were soft and unrecognizable.

Yesterday, we were able to go see my Dad again. Again, I saw his hands. No matter how many times I am faced with the hands, I will never get used to them. No matter how many times we make the trip to see him, it will never get any easier when it’s time to leave.

As we were driving home I couldn’t quit thinking about his hands. Then I realized, no matter how many times we try to wash our hands they will always be dirty. We try and try on our own to wash them clean. Sometimes, we get them as clean as we are able to and call it good not even realizing that we are doing it all wrong.  But, it’s not until we give Jesus our hands for Him to clean,  that all of the junk is washed off of them. We can’t do it by ourselves.

Nothing can take away the hard work that my Dad did with his hands…the lines of a great life and hard work are still there. I do miss seeing his old, rough hands but I am thankful to be able to reach across and grab his hands that are clean.

As hard as it is to admit and as hard as it is to see him there, my Dad is where he needs to be. I say this because it is the place where he was at his lowest but it was also the place where Jesus was able to get, and keep, his attention.

It is in that very place, in that cell,  where Jesus washed his hands (and continually washes them) with him.

 

 

 

 

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