Seeing people get healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally makes me want to be the best trainer I can be. For me, getting fit isn’t just about what you look like on the outside; it’s also about what’s happening in our hearts. Changing the body is like planting a garden. If we only plant the seeds of life on the surface, we will never see change or growth because wind and storms will sweep them away. But when we get our hands dirty, move away the layers of soil, and dig to plant the seeds deep enough to get the nutrition that makes them thrive, we see change happen.
When we desire change, growth, and nurturance, life will always give us opportunities to invest in ourselves, as long as we’re looking for them. As I’ve mentioned several times in recent posts, during these past couple of years I’ve focused greatly on gardening my own soul, mind, body, and health. What’s in the soil that shouldn’t be there? What rocks are holding back my growth, and what areas do I need extra help with or maybe a little more self-love? What makes me thrive from the inside out? Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s the fact that I’m a mother, or maybe it’s the people who have come along to water my seeds along the way…but I’m so past planting superficial things in my life. I’m here to dig deep, get my hands dirty, and see some growth!
But as any gardener will tell you….it’s going to take sweat, it’s going to tax your muscles, and it’s going to require patience. In the end, though, you will reap everything you put into yourself!
I wanted to write this blog post to encourage those of you who are allowing your seeds to sit on the surface to get your hands dirty and start rooting around in your garden. What is holding you back from allowing yourself to grow? What previous seeds have you tried to plant that didn’t take root, leaving you with a story that you’re a failure?
I recently started a 10-week course that is all about breaking old habits and creating new, lasting, healthy habits. Within the first session, major issues came up for me that shined light on the areas in which I’ve just tossed down seeds to say I’m gardening but haven’t really put in enough work to activate growth. Why? Why do I want to see myself fail, or why do I hold back in these areas?
1) They were never my seeds to plant.
We look at our friends’ gardens (or lives) and think, “Oh my, I totally should plant those amazing flowers,” not taking enough time to really dig into whether doing so is right for us or not. We want it, so we take it, try to plant it, and often fail! We allow these situations to create a story that we aren’t good enough, we are failures, and everyone else is better at life than us. In fact, however, your garden could have been awesome…if you had taken the time to figure out what you should have been growing! For me, this has been such a refreshing and fantastic aha moment! I am my own person, and I’m here to create my own story. If you have tried to plant things in your life that you thought were going to make you fit in, feel better about yourself, or solve your personal messes, but they aren’t working…dig those things up! Compost them and take time to mark out your own garden and your own goals. One of the most amazing things about gardening is that not one flower, plant, or seed is like any other one. They are uniquely and beautifully made. Take your inspiration from the seeds in your hand, and plant where you want, when you want, and how you want. Your personal life story will be what inspires people in their own walks.
2) Don’t be afraid of the weeds.
If you’re going to live, you’re going to get hurt. If you’re going to plant, you’re going to get weeds. We either let the hurt build up, or we put our gloves on and pull out the weeds every so often to avoid their building up and taking over our lives. This is one of the most sensitive areas for me, so I get your hurt and your resistance to even planting or allowing people in for fear of being hurt. Everyone is going to handle pruning and weeding in a different way, but I highly recommend you find someone to work alongside you. This person will see areas you thought were flowers but are actually weeds holding you back from full growth. He or she will lighten the workload and help you to laugh as your muscles ache from the work. Dear friend, the pain is worth the glory in the end. Let go and allow growth to happen.
3) Be okay with small growth.
Anything that is sustainable is done slowly and with care. Small changes create lasting results in our mind and body while causing very little stress in the process. Don’t try to push the dirt down to make the flowers look taller or harvest your work too soon. Roses are so amazing to me because every fall we trim them down to nothing but a little stick coming out of the ground, yet every spring they grow back ten times more beautiful and vibrant than the year before. Sometimes growth takes pruning yourself down to nothing, going back to the basics, and discovering where your real strength comes from. Allow the pruning to happen, and wait for your buds to fully blossom. Don’t rush yourself because you feel someone is growing faster than you. This is your masterpiece, and getting it right requires time.
4) Give each other life.
Don’t keep your growth a secret, but before you allow others to come rooting around trying to tell you how to prune, fertilize, and water your seeds, make sure they actually know how to garden. Seek out others who are looking to dig deep and get messy with you. They will sustain you, they will water your soul, and they will help you in your pruning process. We thrive in community, and the most beautiful things take place when we allow others to share their stories and let them into ours. Water each other’s lives and invest in the growth of others, even if their stories and gardens look completely different from yours. I guarantee it will challenge you, inspire you, and best of all…allow you to enjoy the process to its fullest.
Since I’m trying to encourage you to let go of the stories you have allowed to become your identity or have let hold you back, I’d like to share with you a story I created and allowed to hold me back for a very long time.
I can’t spell very well or punctuate correctly. I did not have very good education in this area, so I have suffered horribly in situations where people could judge me for it and have always felt insecure about it. In the past I allowed myself to believe that if someone knew this about me or caught on to it, he or she wouldn’t want to associate with me, considering me “ignorant” in this area. Some of you have noticed this and joked about it online or publicly left rude comments on my Instagram and blog posts. To which I can only say: Don’t ever judge someone by what you think you know! You have no idea what they struggled with in the past or what they face now every time they confront that mountain they so badly want removed.
The funny thing is, my passion is for writing, for using words and expressing myself through speech. Hence, I started a blog! I love to read, and I believe words are some of the most powerful things we have been given as humans. So I’m going to push through and allow my words to be used! But I’ve invested in someone to come alongside me and help with this area of my life. My wonderful editor, Tanya, edits my posts now and gives me feedback on my articles, which I so appreciate! Sometimes I’m rushed, so I go back to old habits, and other times I take the time to read over my writing, listen to how it sounds, and try to find my own mistakes.
My purpose in sharing this is to encourage you to let go of questions like: What will people think? What will I become if they know my secret? And stop allowing your stories of insecurity to diminish the gifts you have been given!
I truly believe God uses for his greatest work the things the world views as useless and disregards as nothings!