The song “The Heart of Worship” has been on my heart and mind recently. It speaks of coming back to the heart of worship. A place where it is simple and pure, not burdened with a string of dos and don’ts or a formula deemed necessary for success.
The power of this song right now in my life isn’t a coincidence. It’s like a flashlight shining in a dark corner that desperately needed to see light.
I started running as a naïve little high school freshman with a soccer background. With each passing year, I gained greater understanding of the sport. Year by year, the “necessary” ingredients for running success stacked up, leaving me with a laundry list of things to do and formulas to follow. With each addition to the list, I got further away from the simplicity of it all.
Coming back from surgery has invited me back into the simplicity. While it may have been against my will (and some days it feels like I am kicking and screaming my way through it), I am slowly emerging into a place of appreciation. There is a freedom that comes from throwing away the laundry list and re-defining what it looks like. It isn’t perfect and it’s seems a lot messier than before, but there is so much joy in the midst of it.
I am re-discovering the simplicity of it all, exchanging a burdensome to do list for a beautiful sense of freedom. It feels scary to let go, but letting go is unlocking my heart and mind, opening up possibilities that otherwise may have passed by. I am coming back to the heart of it, embracing this place, and seeing where it leads.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve given up on the running dreams that naïve Christine started to formulate all those years ago just yet. I’m rather choosing to enjoy a version of running I have not been able to experience in a very long time, one of simplicity and growth.
Earlier this year I had a good friend encourage me to pick a word for the year. A single word to capture what your focus for the year would be. At first it felt daunting. How do you pick one word to describe a whole year?
After a few weeks of contemplating (it is never too late to set a word for the year, right?), I felt like God was saying the word for 2016 was surrender. To surrender my plans, desires, hopes and idea of what the year was going to look like and trust Him. It sounded scary, but looking the definition up confirmed that it is the perfect word for this year.
Surrender (verb): to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win or succeed
In 2016 I surrender. I agree to stop fighting, hiding, or resisting what comes and be open to whatever the year has in store. I trust that no matter what it will be beautiful and so worth the journey!
Here is a blog I wrote for Oiselle about where I am on the journey of coming back from surgery. http://www.oiselle.com/blog/fierce-flyer-christine-babcock
At the dawn of each new year, I set aside time to reflect. I love being reminded of God’s faithfulness and how I grew over the course of the year. 2015 was a stretching year to say the least, one where I questioned the commitment I made to running and the future it holds in my life. Honestly, I am still not sure what it looks like, but I want this journal entry to be what I cling to when I remember 2015. It was worth it all, even when met with heartbreak.
April 4, 2015:
“No matter how this season goes, it was worth committing to the goal and going along for the journey. The relationships, experiences, lessons, and growth that comes from it outweighs everything, no matter what the outcome. I relinquish thinking that I have to reach my goal and have a perfect season in order for it to be worthwhile. I reject the lie that says the results validate the commitment. Therein lies the power of commitment-you commit to something without knowing how it will turn out, but trusting and believing for the best. It is so worth it!”
If I am honest, whenever I see this phrase, I think it is a little lame. But this weekend it came full circle for me.
I was in the kitchen baking (surprise surprise), as the piano wooed me from the living room next door. I found myself overwhelmed by the moment, lost with a sense that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I am home.
It was a striking thought because up until this point, Seattle has felt temporary. Home was in Bend and where I grew up in California. Seattle was just a season of life, a place to heal, find direction, and learn. But this ordinary moment brought extraordinary clarity.
Home is not a location or where someone is. Home is where your heart is. Where you allow yourself to dive in and invest, even when it’s scary and unknown and there is no timeline. Home is the simplest of things, like making homemade pot pie, having family dinners, and feeling like you belong. It is being fully present, loving and being loved.
In the last few weeks, this is a phrase I’ve repeated over and over and over. Whenever I feel discouraged and doubt floods in, I remind myself of this and as hard as it is, I will continue to choose courage.
Courage means saying yes to the unknown and uncomfortable and trusting that it’s where I am supposed to be. As a homebody and creature of habit, I much prefer safe and comfortable decisions. But I want to challenge myself to grow and growth happens in the midst of the unknown. So I am saying yes when I’d rather run (or, in reality, hobble) the opposite way.
Right now saying yes means living in Seattle. This topic deserves a blog of its own in the future. Oiselle has generously offered me a job as I continue to heal and process next steps. The value and support they have extended to me in this season leaves me speechless. I knew beforehand that Oiselle is unlike other companies, but their unwavering support in the midst of this injury has cemented that. Everyone at HQ has welcomed me with open arms. The joy I feel being at the office somehow outweighs the very little enthusiasm I have for Seattle’s incessant rain. 🙂 I will mainly be helping with customer service and bringing treats to Monday morning staff meetings.
While I may not know exactly what my next steps will be, I keep reminding myself that courage looks like something. For now, I am finding the courage to challenge myself in new ways, celebrate the blessing of an incredible work environment, and maybe even find ways to appreciate the rain.
This is a blog I’ve thought about writing a zillion times in the last 15 weeks, and yet the timing never “felt right”. My heart and mind were still undecided about running and being honest about the unknown is scary, so I told myself it wasn’t time. I wanted things figured out and presented perfectly before I laid it out there. But the reality is, life is messy and how often do we really have everything figured out? And even if we create the perfect plan, it rarely turns out that way.
This surgery and period of recovery has challenged me to take a step back from running. In the beginning I knew it was the healthiest thing I could do and hoped that after a few weeks it would be clear what I wanted to do. For the first time in 20 years, I did nothing for 10 weeks. Not one PT exercise, cross training session, ab routine, etc. In good faith I got exercises from my PT at 6 weeks, believing I would start preparing to weight bear. But the motivation wasn’t present and I chose not to force it. It was freeing to realize that while I do enjoy being active, it is not necessary for me to live life with intention and joy.
This has been an incredible realization, but also left me questioning what it meant for running. If I can live fully without being active, does that mean I am embarking on a new season of life where running is a leisure activity and I get a “normal” job? Or is this just a natural part of the process of taking a step back and the drive and motivation to push my body at a high level will come back?
I wish I knew the answers to these questions, but the truth is, despite all the hours of analyzing, I don’t. Both options excite me and scare me at the same time. I would rather have it figured out, but I am choosing to continue to live in the tension of not knowing. It’s an uncomfortable place to be, but I am trusting that I will know when the time comes. Until then, I am working on being confident and vulnerable in the midst of the unknown. I trust that I am exactly where I am meant to be.