I have always been a morning person. I love waking up before my family, grabbing my hot cup of coffee and, with pen in hand, opening up my journal. I enjoy getting my mind focused before the daily hustle and bustle starts. This practice has served me well through years and years of pregnancy, nursing, diapers, more pregnancy, more nursing, more diaper changing, and drowning in all things laundry, dump trucks, balls, and nerf guns. By getting my mind right, I often found that my heart was right.
Over the past few years, however, I noticed a shift in my morning routine. I joined an online workout community and found that working out early, before my quiet time, was working a different, vital component of myself; my physical body. I was taking care of a part of me that had been owned by tiny humans for the majority of my marriage. Happily owned, I might add. As they got a little older, and I did, too, I was desiring to move my body in a different way. A little heart scare, some friends going through cancer, and multiple miscarriages made me really take a hard look at the body I was given.
The idea that my mind + body + soul ALL mattered was new to me. And I kind of loved it.
But. An interesting thing happened when I started to workout and focus more on what I was putting in my body. I didn’t want to share it. I was almost ashamed that I was focusing more on a part of myself that didn’t have to do with my faith, motherhood, my heart posture, mind, or my family. Just ME. Moving my arms, toning my legs, using my core. I wasn’t doing it to be skinny. I wasn’t trying to meet a goal, I was just enjoying it. And that still felt wrong to me. Whether that was just a personal feeling for myself, or if I had been groomed from experiences with other women/at church, putting a focus on my body felt selfish. That it must mean I was pursuing vanity over righteousness.
I knew that was a lie, I just didn’t know what that looked like for me going forward. I started to see so many more positive effects of working out and nourishing my body well; I was sleeping better, I felt more focused, I had way more energy (especially around that 2:30 time in the day), I felt more patient, and really noticed more mental clarity in my early morning quiet time. Turns out that focusing on that part of myself did have a lot to do with my faith, motherhood, my heart posture, my mind, and my family.
We are both physical and spiritual beings. While I will always believe that the spiritual aspect of my life is first priority, we aren’t meant to neglect the physical aspect of our health either. Taking time to focus on my soul, mind, and my body collectively has taken years to figure out. It has taken self discipline, self reflection, and some good conversations between me and my husband. I know it’s an ever-changing adventure because life is meant to be lived! And that sometimes means changing up your routine to pursue whatever has been laid on your heart next.
You know those before and after pictures you see on social media? I don’t look at my before and after pictures as a marker of success because my before is just as beautiful. My in-between was exactly where I was supposed to be. And my after is where I am now, grateful for each step in the journey to the parts of me that make me, me.