Life is full of change - good and bad, planned and unplanned, the kind we have control over and the kind we do not.
Kids grow up (way too fast), we get older, babies are born, people get sick, jobs change, opportunities come and go, people move, couples get married, couples get divorced, friendships are formed while other fade away, seasons change, habits change, priorities change, and on and on and on.
Change can be a blessing or a heartache. It can be excitement or stress.
Sometimes we want a change or even need a change. Sometimes we dread change.
This weekend got me thinking a lot about change. It was my Maggie's 12th birthday. It seemed like just yesterday we got this picture of a tiny little baby in Vietnam that needed a family.
And now she looks like this. Her beauty, grace, intelligence, and sweet spirit amaze me.
This was also the first weekend Mercades came home from college (yay!!!), and we got to celebrate the new baby in our family - my first nephew and my kids' first cousin. Exciting changes! It was a wonderful, fun weekend of family.
We can't stop some types of change. For example, our kids will grow up no matter how much we may wish they would stay little, and winter (with its icy roads and sub zero temps) is coming no matter how much I want to keep running outside instead of being stuck on the treadmill.
But there are things that we DO have the power to change, and for the good.
As we were looking through Maggie's baby pictures on her birthday, I couldn't help but notice what I looked like in the pictures back then.
I started thinking back to who I was back then, and how I felt. Of course in many ways I was the same person that I am now. My values, my loves, my faith, my heart, my soul, my "core"- that is all the same Erin.
When I look at these pictures though I see someone who was overweight, insecure, and unhappy with herself in a lot of ways. I knew I was a good mom, a good wife, and a good person, and I knew my life was very blessed and I had much happiness, and yet I also knew that something was missing.
Eventually I decided to change my outside appearance, not having any clue how much it would change my feelings inside.
As I started eating healthy, exercising, losing weight, and taking care of myself, I started to find an inner confidence that I had not felt before. As I challenged myself and pushed myself daily, I found I was happier, more settled, more peaceful, and more patient. As I discovered a new passion in running, I found a new side to myself. As running lit a spark that burned into a fire inside me, I could almost feel the dark spots disappearing. Insecurity turned into confidence. Power and strength replaced sadness and hurts. Doubts turned into beliefs. Turbulence was calmed. Fears dissolved. Wounds faded. Love filled. Peace bloomed. Happiness shined.
I grew up with an abusive mother, and that is a hurt that sits deep inside of you. I was blessed with the best Dad in the world, and then the best husband and kids in the world, and then the best new mom in the world, and the very best friend in the world. Yet for a long time I NEEDED approval from others, and I always wanted to please everyone (which, of course, is impossible). Somehow, running helped me overcome that. I am still a pleaser by nature, but now if what I am doing is right for me, for Josh and for our kids, then it doesn't matter to me what others think or say.
I always struggled to share my feelings, and I kept hurt, worry, and sadness deep down, even though I knew it was bad to. I don't do that anymore. I am able to share my feelings, all of them, with the people closest to me. I always knew that I was loved, and yet I often felt that I was somehow lacking and feared that love would disappear. Instead, those feelings are what have disappeared. Maybe I ran them out. Maybe I sweat them out. Maybe I left them on the side of the road somewhere.
Running turned out to be my way to change. And it turned out to be more than a way to change my physical appearance and health (which is also a very big and very important change). It helped me change from the inside out.
Change is not an easy thing, but it can be so very worth it.
"If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living." - Gail Sheehy
"You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the
circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.
That is something you have charge of." - Jim Rohn