"You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." ~Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh
I first saw this quote tattooed on my cousins body--which maybe makes me a laugh at little bit. But the quote has sort of grabbed ahold of me, and it's become something that matters to me--something that I have to remind myself every now and then. Because not only have I been guilty of limiting myself, I've been just as guilty at letting other people's thoughts and expectations limit me.
He-who-trains taught me a lesson once. It was a high intensity cardio day, and I had been on the bike for almost 45 minutes. I was sweaty and tired and fully believed that I had given it everything. I thought when the timer said "45", I was done. Of course, that's the moment He-who-trains chose to come up and tell me that I wasn't done-- that that was only the first half. And not only that, but that I was to crank up the resistance. It's admittedly been awhile, but he said something like "When you think you can't go any more or any harder, put your head down and push through it."
I did. And I'm only exaggerating a little when I say I thought I was going to have a heart attack. If I thought I was sweaty before, I had not yet begun to sweat. (No seriously, like wring me out because there is no dry spot on my shirt sweaty.) But I've not forgotten what I learned: that there is much more in me than I am often able to realize.
This morning I preached on the passage in Acts where God tells Peter not to "call unclean what I have called clean." In some ways, it's a passage about putting up walls-- and about how they come crashing down in the presence of God. And when Peter is trying to defend himself to the religious authorities because he's done what God said, he says, "Who am I to hinder God?" I like that question and it's a good one for the church. But maybe an equally good question for someone who struggles with self doubt is "Who am I to limit myself?" I realize that I often put up walls and draw lines and create boundaries for what I can and can't do. But when I stop with it for a while, sometimes I surprise myself. I realize that there is more in me for which I cannot often give myself credit. Sometimes I do things that I really didn't think I could do. Maybe that's pushing through at the gym, or maybe it's shutting up the voices that tell me I need sweet carbs (which thankfully I am no longer craving-- LOVE this new program!) But maybe it's more than that. Maybe it's having the courage to own my stuff and do something about it. Maybe it's not apologizing for where I am and just simply standly firmly in that place.
I don't often take life advice from animated characters, but maybe I'll make an exception. I am strong-- strong enough to be who I am, to believe what I do, and two stand on my own two feet. And to one day get out of this body that has spent way too long holding me back.