"The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel." ~Steve Furtick
I've been told: I'm just not a runner, it doesn't come naturally to me the way it does for you. I've been told this, a lot. And every time, I shake my head and want to show them what's in my heart, the moments I hold that only I have felt or experienced. Then they would know my secret: It doesn't come naturally to me, either. Running is hard. Though I get a lot of joy and peace from it, I also find it challenging, frustrating, difficult and sometimes, just really, really hard. But people don't get to see those moments. They see my highlight reel.
Moments like this:
Crossing the line of my first ultra-marathon with a smile on my face. Or hearing about me completing another one. Or of my pace during my best half marathon and they assume it comes easy to me. Because they just saw my highlight reel. They didn't see the days I trained, day after day, week after week, as cool the Spring air turned into the suffocating humid heat of our brutal Austin summer that year. Or me limping in the house in pain after my long runs, feet and ankles in so much pain I felt like I needed to crawl. And taking ice baths to relieve the pain. They didn't feel the emotions I had as I slipped into a depression, exhausted from waking up at 4:30 five days a week to get in my runs before the rest of my family woke up. They didn't get to experience what I felt at mile 22 of my first marathon when my legs had multiple muscle cramps that nearly brought me to my knees.
Or when during my second marathon, I was only at mile 10 and I was fighting the inner voice in my head that was telling me over and over to give up now. Tears blinding my vision because I knew it was way too early to be hitting a wall with over 16 miles to go in the race. Or when I finally listened to that voice after my body physically and mentally started to break down. When I finally said, OK. You're right. I can't do this. They weren't with me when I realized I had nobody around me for as far as the eye could see, so I sat down on a curb, head between my legs, sobbing because I just didn't think I was going to be able to finish the race. Or when my fellow racer came up to me and pulled me up and said, "just keep going." And so I did.
We see people's highlight reels and we think they have it easy. The mom who lost 50+ pounds and looks amazing; it had to be easy. The co-worker who does Iron-Man competitions; we assume she has a gift that only special people have. The mom who seems to have it all together, who has been told, parenting just comes naturally to you. The successful business owner who seems to have it all.
But that's not the whole story. It's not the big picture.
What they didn't see was that mom who lost all that weight struggled day after day with working out, frustrated when the weight didn't come off fast enough, feeling guilt every time she left her kids to work out. What they didn't see was the triathlete struggling to balance work, family, training and the sheer physical exhaustion of all of that combined. What they didn't see was that super mom down on her knees, begging God for help as she struggled with how to be a better mother to her children (Yes. This is me. And I've fallen down in tears and begged for help many, many times). They didn't see the long hours, the struggles with money, balancing work and family, that the business owner wrestled with, crushing him to the point that it sometimes hurt to breathe.
I read a blog post called "Things Unwritten and Unsaid," and the author's words rang so true to me. Some things are just too personal to share in the moment. I can talk about my race and training experience and the difficulties I find in being a mother -- my most difficult job, now, because I've had time to heal. But in those darkest moments? I was like a piece of antique glass filled with little cracks and all it would have taken was a whisper from another person for me to shatter into a million pieces. And I think most people are that way, too. They don't share the low-lights, not because they are too proud, but because it's too precious and fragile in that moment to shout to the world.
So, when you are struggling -- to lose weight, to find the motivation to work out, to make better food choices, whatever it may be -- know that we have all struggled, that we still struggle. It doesn't come easy for anyone. I read these words by Jon Acuff and they are so very true: Stop comparing your beginning to someone else's middle or end.
This post was originally published on My Fit Family.