Friday, January 17, 2014

How is driving in the snow like my journey?


Good morning my friends! I’m sitting here in the dark looking out the window at the gently falling snow. It’s beautiful, but I must admit, when I first woke up and looked out to see it snowing AGAIN, my first reaction was, “UGH! SNOW….AGAIN….Will it ever stop snowing?”  Compared to many parts of the country, and even Michigan, we really don’t have that much snow on the ground, but it just seems like we get snow almost every day.  It’s not the snow I mind, it’s the driving in it that makes me groan.

Once I reminded myself that there isn’t anything I can do to control the weather, I poured myself  a cup of coffee and just watched it fall. It really is lovely when it hangs on the trees and covers the brown dormant lawn and plants. Perhaps its beauty is part of God’s way of making the cold temperatures more bearable????

I started thinking about my drive to work and decided that I would need to leave earlier than usual because the roads will likely be slippery. I’ll admit, that even though I live in rural northern Michigan, I do not like to drive in the snow. In fact, it is always an anxious drive for me and I worry terribly when others in my life are driving in bad conditions. The recent death of my cousin in an auto accident on snowy roads only makes it worse, but yet, unless I locked myself in my house for 5 months of the year, it’s something that I need to deal with. SO… I’ll do what I need to do: slow down, leave early, allow extra time to stop, etc.

Two months ago, under these same conditions, my stress level would have been much higher, not because there was less snow, but because I was “out of practice” and hadn’t done it in several months.  Today, after two months of traveling on snow-covered roads on an almost daily basis, arriving safely at my destination, dealing with the conditions, figuring out “how to do it again”, gaining confidence in my ability to control the vehicle, making adjustments in my driving habits,  it is easier and less stressful. Still not fun, but sort of a way of life….at least for a few more months.

Sort of like our journey to a better us, isn’t it? 

I remember at the beginning of my personal journey I was so afraid: afraid that I would fail; afraid that it would be too hard; afraid that I would give up.  I was anxious: I don’t know how to do this healthy stuff; I don’t like to exercise; I don’t really know anything about nutrition. I was dreading it:  I don’t like vegetables that much; I can’t afford healthy food; I don’t have the willpower to do this; I just want to go to bed and eat a bag of chips; this is WAY TOO HARD!  I didn’t want to do it: So what, I’m fat, who cares, I’ve always been fat; Who cares that I can’t go out to dinner because I can’t walk or fit in the booth at the restaurant; I’m just going to die soon anyway, I might as well eat what I want.   So much anxiety. So much apprehension. So much fear. So much, that I put it off for years, until I finally couldn’t  walk or put it off any more.  I finally had to face my fears, face the reality of my life, face the scale and the mirror, and admit that I was out of control and that my life literally was a mess.  And so…. I began this incredible journey; this journey that has changed my life; this journey that has allowed our paths to cross via this group, my blog, or other media; this journey that is nothing short of a miracle. 

It wasn’t easy in the beginning and it isn’t easy now, but it is easier and less stressful now than it was, not because sticking to the plan is easier, but because I’ve practiced it and lived it for almost 3 years now. It has become a way of life. It has become something that I just ‘do” almost without thinking. I’ve made adjustments. I’ve avoided situations that could cause me to slip up. I’ve learned how to deal with it. Did the fear go away? Nope! I still worry if I will be able to keep the weight off. Did the anxiety go away? Nope! I still wonder if I will be strong enough to resist temptation, if I will have the courage to share my story, if I will run out of things to say.  Do I like following this eating plan? Not really! I’d really like to eat a cheeseburger and fries (been almost 3 years since I’ve had either) instead of grilled chicken and broccoli. It’s not easy at all, but the choice is mine to make each day: either I continue on this journey or I don’t.

Just like driving in the snow.  I have a choice to make.  I can just sit here and choose to stay home and compromise my job security. I could turn down every invitation that comes during the winter months and isolate myself from the world. I could choose to only venture out when the sun is shining and the roads are dry (likely not until April). OR… I could choose to make adjustments. I could get up out of this lazy boy chair and get dressed for work. I could drive as slow as I need to in order to be safe. I could embrace the challenge and enjoy the beauty of this winter wonderland. I could be grateful that winter only lasts about 5 months and spring will be here before I know it.   I think I’ll put on my boots and head to work! I have a choice….but with every choice comes consequences.

 

You have a choice about your journey too.  Are you going to do it?  Are you going to embrace the challenges?  Are you going to face your fear and anxiety? Are you willing to make the adjustments and sacrifices needed to get to your destination? Are you going to go as slow as you need to?   OR….are you going to just sit there and do what you’ve been doing? Are you going to wait for some magic pill to be invented that will make you thin without any effort? Are you going to pray that you just wake up one day and all your desires/addictions/problems are just gone?  Or are you going to get up….get a plan….face the challenge….and DO IT??

 All I can say is this: It won’t be easy….you’ll make mistakes and slip up (maybe end up in a ditch or go off the road)….you’ll want to quit (turn around and go home)…you’ll wonder why you even tried in the first place (why didn’t I just stay home)…..BUT…..YOU WILL NEVER GET TO WHERE YOU WANT TO GO….. if you don’t  at least try!

One word of wisdom….be wise and be prudent in your choices. It would be absolutely foolish….and unnecessary….for me to venture out in a blizzard or a foot of snow. It would be crazy for me to attempt to travel and disregard the “stay off the roads” warnings issued by the experts. It would be silly for me to think that I can handle impassable or completely unsafe road conditions. Short of a death in the family or emergency health crisis, there’s no need to make foolish choices and put my safety at risk.  Likewise, it would be foolish for me to go on one of those crazy fad diets or take unsafe diet pills or do disregard the health warnings of the experts. There is no need for me to do that. You need to make the best choices for your personal health, but please be safe in doing so. Sometimes, it’s just not worth the risk.

A final thought….My first words when I enter in my vehicle are always similar to this, “Be with me, God, as I begin this journey. Keep me safe, protect me, help me reach my destination,” etc.  I wouldn’t even think about going anywhere, let alone in treacherous conditions, without God at my side.  My first words each morning are similar, “Be with me God as I begin this day…keep me safe…keep me focused…keep me motivated”….etc.  I wouldn’t even think; in fact, it isn’t possible for me to be where I am today without God’s grace.  Take Him with you on your physical journey. Make him part of your emotional journey. Trust him to guide you in your personal journey to better health. Don’t try to do it without your higher power.
You have a choice to make today. I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to go to work. I’m going to eat healthy. I am going to stick with the plan. And mostly, I am going to be grateful that I don’t have to make the drive…or go through this journey….ALONE!

What are you going to do?
Make it a good day today!