Unfiltered: What I'm Learning from the Setbacks.

Earlier this year I wrote a pretty vulnerable post about how last year was a hard. One of the reasons for that was some unexpected arthritic pain in my knee. It was like the icing on top of a really rough season.

And guess what? I've been feeling that same knee pain this week.

I threw a big fit on the inside, too. I was supposed to start an intense fitness challenge, and that was going to be hard when I couldn't even climb stairs properly.

Mostly I was frustrated. To have the will and motivation and desire to do something but not be physically capable? It has the potential to send you into defeat. I fought back angry tears. Because I had made all of these health and fitness goals and didn't want to waste one minute achieving them.

And wouldn't you know, that silly knee has taught me some lessons.

1. Slow down.

It mighty sound crazy, but I can only take stairs one at a time, can only step up with my right leg.

So I've made sure to make each trip count. I pause to make sure I have everything I need before going up or down. And I've had to really slow my pace.

I can't make flying trips up and down at the last minute. It takes me twice as long to get to the top.

I actually tried to compensate for a bum knee by taking the stairs two at a time with just my one leg.

But that hurt more.

So I went back to slowly climbing the stairs. And you know what? Sometimes that's all the space I need to hear this voice.

This? These slow, measured movements? This is what you need in all of life. Slow down, girl. Who cares if it takes you twice as long? What are you rushing towards? There's no shortcut. You'll save yourself a lot of pain along the way of you just take it one step at a time. 

2. Don't take anything for granted.

When this happened to me last year, I promised myself I would never take my ability to move freely for granted, that I would never groan at the opportunity to be physically active. And you know what? I got lazy.

But this is what I'm realizing.

We have to do the things that we can, while we still can. We aren't guaranteed tomorrow. Life could change in a an instant.

If there's something you need to do, a challenge you need to take on, a dream you need to pursue, or a person you need to love, DO IT WHILE YOU CAN.

Because there may come a day when you can't.

I think we put bogus limits on ourselves and give really crazy reasons for “I can’t.” We say things like, “I could never do that. Who I am to…?”

I just think if you CAN, if you are physically, mentally, emotionally able, then you owe it to yourself, to God, to the world, to just do it.

And just a side note. We let trivial limitations define our can’t because it’s easier than believing we actually can and it’s easier than just doing the thing. (Can I get an amen?)

We have the precious privilege of doing. We have full lungs and limited days. Let's not waste one ounce of it.

3. Don’t give up.

Even if there’s something you can’t do, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do.

I was pumped for burpees and squats and planks, but that can’t exactly happen right now.

To be honest, when I run into situations like this, I tend to be extreme. I get all dramatic and moody because I’m missing out on the thing I really wanted.

But this time, instead of being angry at the things I can’t do, I’m getting creative with the things I can.

That means going outside, just as the sun is rising, for a morning walk. And let me tell you this: I don’t do mornings and I hate the cold.

But in order to do the thing I wanted to do, I’ve had to put myself in situations I never would have chosen.

And you know what? I’m loving it. I work in an office, inside a cubicle with no windows, so I rarely see daylight, especially now that the sun sets so early. And if you know me at all, you know how much of a tragedy that is.

But for the past few days, my mornings have been spent outside, in the daylight, one of the spaces I feel most alive. I'd been completely missing that opportunity before. And I probably never would have awakened to the possibility if my Plan A hadn't backfired.

4. Change the story.

I’m not injured and unable to workout. I’m healthy and choosing to spend 30 minutes of my morning in the wild, with the fresh air and the sun and God. I'm not missing out, I'm living well.

The stories we tell ourselves can make or break us.

I hope you live a good one.