This past week, I've been struggling especially hard with feelings of inadequacy. I feel like a chump. For so many reasons (which I won't go into right now), I feel so incompetent, so foolish and weak. I feel so inept and so incapable of doing good. So... lacking. In addition to that, my mind this week has been all over the place- scattered, frenetic, and unable to focus. My heart feels restless and anxious.
I've been praying hard that God would strengthen me and change me to be a better servant. I've been praying that he would calm my heart and that I would find refuge, rest, and peace in him. I've been trying to write these words on my heart:
2 Corinthians 12:9 - But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Psalm 62:5 - For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
2 Timothy 1:7 - For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Philippians 4:6-7 - Do no be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
I've also been trying to calm myself by taking time to just be still and in complete silence, meditating on God and just talking to him. I know he already knows all the things I'm going through but I think just saying them all out loud and listing the all out to him is helpful for me. Not really praying for anything but just confessing: "God, I feel so weak and I'm anxious about this or that and my heart is restless". Sometimes I'm not really sure what to pray but I know that God knows just what I need. I think he sometimes wants us to just admit our struggles to him without necessarily asking him to do something but just knowing that he can and will and he has taken on our burdens.
To try to combat these feelings of inadequacy, I'm going to count my blessings. Here and now, I'm going to remind myself of all the ways that God, through his grace and mercy, has uplifted me in the past couple of months. Truly, God has lent me his strength and his mighty arm. I can't let these feelings of shame and worthlessness hinder me from carrying the cross.
Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
As a reminder to myself and as a written testimony of God's strength and power and grace and mercy over the past few months, some of the things I've accomplished and goals I've met:
I've lost close to 40 pounds. ~20 pounds in the first 4 weeks since December 26. ~20 more in the 10 weeks following. I posted a picture below. I strongly debated on whether or not to post that because it's not really like me to post an ostentatious topless selfie like that but I figure that the only people will ever see this are my parents and maybe a couple others so it's no biggie. Plus, I have to admit that the side-by-side difference is quite staggering. I'm like half way to qualifying for some kind of weight-loss/fitness commercial.
My goal was to get down to 155 by the end of the year but since I'm already under 150 after 4 months, my new goal is 135. Not sure if that's possible but maybe I'll surprise myself again. I started from 186 pounds as measured when I went to the doctor's for an appointment regarding my back pain. I went back a little over a month later weighing around 160 pounds and the doctor and nurse both thought that they must have weighed me incorrectly the first time. When I got to tell them that there was no mistake, that I actually had lost all that weight in such a short time, I have to admit, it felt pretty good. The doctor was impressed and the nurse asked me how I did it.
How did I do it?
It started with depression and hopelessness. Starting December 26th, my depression and anxiety got so bad that it was paralyzing to me at times. Feelings of loneliness and worthlessness were overwhelming me. I couldn't sleep, I could barely function. For the next month or so, I got maybe between 1-3 hours of sleep a night. Occasionally my body would finally shut down and let me have around 7 hours, fitful as it was. I legitimately started running because it was harder to feel the pain in my heart with my lungs burning. Being depressed while running was better than being depressed while still. Anything was better than that. So if I felt depressed, I ran. So I ran every day.
There were a few days I missed because my knee infection got pretty bad, but most days I ran on that too. To numb the pain, I ran. Eventually, it became a habit. I ran 34 miles in January. I think I might have run 34 miles in the past 4 years combined. Which brings me to 2.
Running. I have never, even in high school when I was in the best shape of my life, run over 30 miles in a month. Yeah, there are people I know who probably run over 30 in half a week. But not me. This was a pretty big accomplishment for me and no one can take that away from me, not even myself. I did it, there's proof above, and I can't let myself invalidate it or be ashamed of it.
Another thing: January 8. I ran my first 5k ever. I've never run over 2 miles before. In high school, I was fast, always the fastest player on my team but I was a sprinter not a distance runner. I didn't believe that I could do it. I didn't think it was possible for me after just a couple weeks of running. I didn't plan for it, I just felt good enough after mile 2 to give it a shot. And I did it. It took me 30 minutes but I did it. A week later, I did it again and, a couple weeks later, again. By the 5th time, on February 13th, I was down to 27 minutes. Then, exactly a week later, I shattered that time and ran it in just under 24 minutes. This past week, on Wednesday I shattered that personal best with a time of just over 22 minutes. How in the world am I shaving, not seconds, but minutes off my time? And even more curiously, these past two times in which I've beaten my PR were coming off of around 2 hours of sleep in the previous night. I don't really understand why, but I seem to run better on less sleep. Maybe this is common knowledge among runners, idk. My goal was to get down to a 24 minutes 5k by the end of the year. I'm not sure what my new goal should be. Maybe just to keep running 30-40 miles a month.
I've been doing a lot better in school. I've been completely aimless and unmotivated these past 4 years and my grades have really, really suffered. Feelings of depression and worthlessness made it hard to focus. But all this should be its whole own blog post so I wont get all into that right now. But I've gotten a 4.0 in the past 2 semesters and I'm on track to finish this one with a 4.0 as well. In addition, by the end of this semester, I'll have essentially finished all my graduation requirements and I will be eligible to graduate. I've decided to stay another year but, again, whole 'nuther blog post.
Started going to Manna again and I've started to rebuild a lot of the friendships that I felt I had lost. I will write about this more later.
- Started being more responsible with bills and financial stuff
- Regained my scholarship
- Created this site for myself to practice writing
- I've been taking better care of my health by going to the doctor
- Been getting a lot better at cooking, I only eat out like 1 or 2 times a month
- Keeping my email inbox clean
- Keeping my room and the kitchen clean
- Getting better at basketball
- Scheduled classes for myself (lol)
PS. After writing this, I've decided I want to do each of these justice and go at least a little more in depth with them but, for now, this will suffice. I've got other things I gotta go do!