Friday, April 8, 2016


Yesterday on the trail I ran my fastest 5k. It didn't come easily. I knew in the first half mile that it would be a push. I think part of what helped me PR (personal record) was not wanting to embarrass myself next weekend when I run with my younger, more athletic friends. The sad thing is that even though I did my best and ran my fastest, the moment was instantly robbed by the thought that it wasn't good enough. All I could think about was how my friends could easily shave 3 minutes off that time.  It made me think how often the good enough gremlin plagues me, at least in my fitness journey.

I wish I could tell you it ends with the running comparison, but it doesn't. Over Christmas my cousin-in-law and I were playing around with partner workouts. I knew she was into heavy lifting so I asked her to squat me. She put me on her shoulders, all X number of pounds of not light me, and proceeded to squat me three or four times. I thought that was so hard-core that I wanted to do it too. I told her that I would be able to squat her by the next family reunion. Well, I'm three months out from that family reunion and I am nowhere near ready to squat a grown woman. I haven't trained for it. And realistically, I know there is no functional reason for me to do so. But because I can't, I struggle with not feeling good enough.

Is that the end? No. When I see yoga friends and people I follow doing crazy inversions and balancing poses, I feel like I'm failing at life because I can't do the same. And when I see gorgeous fitness models posting their bikini pictures, part of me wonders if I should do it too. Maybe if I really shredded, waxed, and baby oiled my body, then I would be like the pretty cheerleaders who were on homecoming court and always had a love interest. Because that's not me, I fear I'm not good enough.
I'm sure I could offer many other examples, but you get the point. I feel silly writing all of this out, but it's true and I want to be authentic. Even as a therapist, who challenges cognitive distortions like this all the time, even as a body positive personal trainer who preaches function over form and strength over aesthetics, sometimes I'm still vulnerable to these plaguing thoughts. 

I would be lying if I did not acknowledge that fitness, at least in part, is about finally being in the cool kids club. I never played sports or even had the confidence to try out for teams. Now that I've found fitness and I've become fairly decent as my own version of an athlete, I want even to push even more. There's nothing inherently wrong with striving. Striving to reach your potential is a good thing. Striving for personal validation is not.

The whole good enough battle is a slippery slope. When is it ever enough? When you're an elite athlete? When you get a certain degree or certification? When you win a competition? When you lose a certain number of pounds? When you're a certain percentage of body fat? When you do finally hang with the cool kids? No. None of those external things will ever make you feel worthy. None of them. You know what will calm the anxiety and replace it with peace? These grounding truths: You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). That's right. Imperfect you is lovingly and perfectly designed by your Creator. You know what else? You are God's workmanship, His poem, created in Christ's image to do good works which He's prepared in advance for you to do (Ephesians 2:10). He delights in you, His handiwork, and everywhere you lack, He becomes more than enough for you.

So, going back to my point from the beginning, I ran my fastest 5k yesterday. The moment was initially robbed by the good enough gremlin, but thankfully, it didn't last for long. I was able to say, "Enough!" to the good enough gremlin and celebrate my PR. And what's even better is that my performance didn't even matter. On my best day, on my worst day, I am 100% loved and accepted by God and that makes me enough.

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