Get Your Head in the Game…

This week’s Team Call was about Mindset and I had so many lightbulbs clicking in my brain that I’m pretty sure I started glowing. First off, I love this job, I love the people I work with, I love the constant support and encouragement, and I learn something new every time I manage to make it to one of the weekly meetings. Now, my fingers are itching to get this all out on paper…er…computer screen.

My biggest take away had nothing to do with “keeping a positive attitude” or “dream big” or “stay focused” or any other phrases I automatically associate with “mindset”. My takeaway was a kick in the head about how I’ve been treating ADHD.

Stay with me, I have a point. The concept of “fixed vs growing” mindset was presented, and as she read through the differences I was ticking them off with a lazy, yep I’m a grower, I don’t do that, or that, nope, nope, eh, definitely not, no-yeah I do. Wait, what? “A fixed mindset says: I am good at *blank* and I am (and will always be) bad at *blank*.”

Pretty sure my brain lit up like a neon sign at this point. You guys, ADHD can be pretty funny, but it is no joke. This past Saturday I got the boys dressed, we all piled in the car, drove TWENTY MINUTES to the Farmer’s Market and when I hopped out I realized I was in my bedroom slippers. I forgot shoes. As funny as it was, this isn’t completely unusual for me. I forget my wallet, my ID, I lose my phone thirty bazillion times a day, I forget various pieces of clothing, I’ve answered the door without a shirt while nursing (BIG OOPS), I forget things in the oven, I forget to put things IN the oven, I forget doctor’s appointments, I forget important dates, I forget names, I forget what I am talking about mid sentence on a regular basis. Forgetting is a hallmark of ADHD, but the truth is it is the mildest and least annoying of the symptoms for me. The varying between non-existent attention span and hyper focus is irritating, but manageable. The inability to finish tasks or maintain a clean ANYTHING is beyond frustrating. But the struggle with impulse control ESPECIALLY when it comes to emotions is my biggest issue. The cycling between doom and gloom and the world is full of unicorn sparkles that can change in an instant can leave me (and those around me) with chronic emotional whiplash. The truth is, I’ve gotten very good at combating the mood swings and emotional volatility because I simply didn’t want to be that person. I have my bad days…and bad weeks…and months (looking at you, February) but I have an equal amount of good days, weeks, and months and I’ve learned how to capitalize on it. I refused to let ADHD determine that my emotions and impulsiveness would wreak havoc in my life.

BUT. I let ADHD limit me in a lot of areas. I use ADHD as an excuse, not an explanation, and I don’t push past any of those barriers. I set myself up to fail because I tell myself habitually, “You have ADHD, you will NEVER be good at that.” The biggest area of my life, an area that has been holding me back for years, is organization. I’ve pretty much given up on EVER being organized. I have tried and failed too many times, have heard too many disparaging comments, have let others down too frequently-I’ve simply internalized that I will always be woefully messy and entirely dependent on others to manage my affairs. My mindset isn’t just fixed on this, it’s pretty much set in concrete, welded inside a solid titanium cage, driven down into the ground with a mountain on top of it slowly turning it to diamond with the pressure of tremendous, unmovable weight.

That call, that very simple discussion, has caused a mental earthquake. I am ADHD, but I WILL be organized. It may not look exactly like anyone else’s system, but it will function well for me. I am ADHD, but I WILL maintain a clean house. It may not be Better Homes and Gardens, but it doesn’t have to be a chronic disaster either. I know these changes won’t happen overnight. And I know that I will have to work hard to overcome the natural inclinations of my crazy little brain, and I know I will fail multiple times in the process, but I also KNOW that I can do this. Honestly, if I look back at my life I am already far more scheduled and organized now than I have ever been-thanks to the two little munchkins who have forced me to be better than I thought possible. I need to stop telling myself I can’t do something just because I’m ADHD.

This brings me to the second lightbulb moment, which was more of a reflection on our society and less a personal conviction. You guys, we have completely devalued work. Not just devalued, our society has placed a negative value on work. Any dream you have is measured against how hard you have to work to get there, and it isn’t overtly stated but the underlying message is “if the amount of work you have to do is greater than your desire for the end result, then you are ‘in the red’ in any joy you can get out of life.” The end result has to be WORTH the amount of work you put in. End result-amount of work=life satisfaction.

Poop, guys. This is total poop. Now I’ve seen the memes about “it’s all about the journey” but most of those still come with the idea of the “little moments” along the way, the “silver linings”, the “unexpected joys”, the “things that happen that AREN’T WORK that make you happy.” This is  backwards.

“There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?” Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 ESV

“…find enjoyment in his toil.” “…find enjoyment IN HIS TOIL.” “…find enjoyment IN his TOIL.”  Not, in the camaraderie of your coworkers, or in the gossip around the water cooler, or in the sunny weather on a Friday afternoon, or in a raise, or in a better placed desk, or in the freedom of working at home. In. Your. TOIL. In the actual process of work THERE you should find enjoyment. Work is not a negative value, work is the positive value. It’s not about satisfaction at the end of your journey, or happy events along the path of your journey, it is quite literally the process of taking steps on your journey. Enjoying the physical, mental, and emotional work of WORK is the “best thing” for a person, not the achievement of the goal at the end.

Now, you can’t forget the second half, “for apart from him (God) who can eat or who can have enjoyment?” because it is pretty much stating not just that through God all things are provided, but that enjoyment in work needs divine intervention to occur-it is not the natural state of man. Maybe it is for you, but it definitely is not my natural state.

How this applies to my takeaway about mindset is simple-I shouldn’t be measuring my goals against the amount of work that they’ll take to accomplish. I need to be praying for enjoyment of the work I’ve been given (including the monumental task of organizing myself), and embrace the goals I need to embrace in order to move forward-not in spite of the work required, but BECAUSE of the work required, because in the WORK is my enjoyment.

Mind. Blown. 😛

Out Like A…I Don’t Care, Just OUT.

This month has been a mess. I’m just gonna lay it out there. I still wholeheartedly believe in total wellness and the importance of eating well and exercising regularly…but this month I haven’t been living up to my ideals. It started out wonderfully-hyped up off of all the success from Hammer and Chisel, breaking running PRs left and right, a FABULOUS visit from my sister and my adorable nephew. Talk about “in like a lion” March started with a ROAR!

And then I sprained my ankle.

And then my youngest got either a stomach bug or developed an egg allergy (doctor’s appointment scheduled).

And then, and then…

The biggest thing, the far biggest mess of March, has been an accumulation of cyclical hope and frustration that started last January. Last January when Brian put giving the boys another sibling on the table. Last February when I agreed to start weaning Zane earlier then I had planned to hopefully have the third child close in age to the boys. Last March when I had my first cycle. Last April when I had another. Then last May…June…July…August…September…You get the gist.

Then THIS February being unpleasantly caught a day early by surprise while at the playground.

Then this month. March. The day arrived, and passed, and I tested negative. Then the next day. Negative. Then the next, and the next, and the next… I stopped testing, but I remained hopeful. I have never been late a day in my life, my ovaries are like clockwork, there was only one good reason for being late…Out talking to the neighbors while the boys played and OH MY GOODNESS time to beat a hasty retreat to the house.

8 days late. Over a week late. Over a year of trying.

I feel like the appropriate progression of this story is some dramatic meltdown on my part while sobbing in the bathroom, but honestly I just sighed, and shrugged. It’ll happen, or not, in God’s timing, not mine. Am I frustrated? Yes. And the week of hope definitely threw my emotional equilibrium. A week of wondering where we’d put the extra crib, if we’d move Brian’s desk into the bedroom, how the boys would respond to a sibling, whether or not I’d get morning sickness this time… So instead of focusing on exercise and eating balanced, I’ve been focusing on me and Christ. Introspection, prayer, study, seeking time to be alone and listen. And it has been good, y’all. Painful at times, peace-filled at times, always real, and really good.

I didn’t throw fitness all out the window, I still eat pretty darn clean because I’m just used to it now, and it was more like “an extra carb serving here, forgetting to get a protein in there, an extra dollop of peanut butter with my apple”…nothing crazy, just nothing really planned or focused either. And these last two weeks have been hit or miss with the workouts. I’ve managed two early morning workouts before the kids-and then Zane caught a hacking cough and he’s thwarted the “early uppers club” once again. Today I managed to get a PiYo in during their breakfast, and tomorrow if Zane ends up in our bed again I may resort to that again.

My point is-March was messy and imperfect, but that’s how life is. It isn’t always riding success highs or fighting to persevere with gritted teeth. Sometimes it’s just tripping and stumbling a bit and trying again with a shrug. I’m tackling the month of April with renewed vigor and focus-I’m restarting the Hammer and Chisel workouts because I LOVE them and I’m super excited for our Clean Eating Workshop coming up on the 4th. I’ll be meal planning once again with an eye on more budget friendly recipes, and I even signed up for a vendor fair to spread the fitness love.

I won’t miss you, March. Onwards!

Why?

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Blue skies and sunny weather. Perfect for a stroller jog. But instead I stand here with Zane strapped into the Ergo snuggled on my chest and smelling faintly of vomit while I keep an eye on Cade systematically hosing down the entire backyard. Black wrap encases my ankle and allows me to rock Zane back and forth without too much pain.

God is good.

Having Zane get the stomach bug the morning after I wrenched my ankle may not sound convenient, but basically I only have one energetic boy to worry about- the other stays somnolent. Earlier, as I pondered how to look on the bright side while mopping up the explosion in Zane’s crib, I mused over last night’s deep felt chagrin after spraining my ankle doing nothing more strenuous than walking. I was even wearing athletic shoes.

Every time I get injured (which has thankfully happened less frequently over the past few years) I view it as a personal affront and betrayal. How dare my body succumb to such a thing! Triple the embarrassment now as I tout the benefits of balanced eating and consistent exercise and here I am falling over in my backyard. Last time I sprained my ankle-the left one I think- it had been going down ONE STEP onto a sidewalk while I was pregnant with Cade. One step. I could, and did, blame that heavily on the pregnancy hormone relaxin that make everything stretchy and loose in preparation for childbirth-but the truth is I’m a clumsy person with weak ankles.

It is easy, for me at least, to fall into the trap that leading an intentionally healthy lifestyle makes you immune to injury and disease. That eating clean will prevent me from getting the flu, that lifting weights will keep all back injuries at bay, that cardio will ward off a heart attack, that enough fruits and veggies will prevent cancer. But the truth is-the world is fallen.

All good things come from God. The design of my body is perfect, the reality in this world is not. Adam and Eve brought death, disease, and sprained ankles into the world, and no amount of clean eating is going to change that.

But.

BUT that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. As I chafe at being housebound with a limp, as the dishes pile up while I wipe up more diarrhea, as I ungraciously cope with the physical reality of sin I am strengthened in my resolve to combat it.

In the midst of the mess, my “why” solidified. I do this-the exercise, the nutrition, the coaching-I do this because our bodies are gifts that we have been blessed with, and taking good care of them is a form of fighting the world. I love a fight with clearly defined lines of good and evil-but those battles just don’t exist much outside of fiction. THIS, however, is a fight I can throw myself into wholeheartedly, with no worry for my combatants. I am fighting disease and injury, the consequences of sin. I am maintaining and loving the body God gave me, and fighting the long lasting effects of Adam and Eve’s decision. One day He will make my body perfect in His presence, until then I’ll invest in the reflection I have.

Melodramatic, I know, haha, but it’s the truth. No matter what words I choose it still sounds fanciful or cheesy, but all the other “whys” I could give (like “to be an example for my children”) are just small motivators in a much larger perspective. So, I apologize for the grandiose “why”, I can’t help it, it’s how my mind works.

Now excuse me, I’ve got to go strip one more diaper of runny poo and take a hot epsom salt bath for my ankle. Fight the good fight!