What are you invested in?

When I think of the word investment, I immediately think of finances and the stock market. However, there is another definition that is used commonly in church culture. Basically the idea of being involved in many different areas. Investing your time, mental energy, faith, and physical self into activities, people, or events.

I recently said the other day I was feeling burnt out, and I tried to think of why I’ve been feeling that way lately. Then I realized, I’ve invested myself in many things and people. I do have downtime, especially with the kid in school full time. I do have a good amount of time for myself.

That being said, I often use that time investing in the people around me. If I’m at the coffee shop, I’m chatting it up with the baristas and possibly the other customers. If I’m at the rock gym, I’m not just climbing but talking and building friendships with not only the employees but with the members. When I’m at church, I’m investing in my church family and my family as well. When I’m at AWANA, I’m investing in the kids and leaders.

My husband and I have spread ourselves pretty thin this year in terms of investment. We love spending time with people and getting to know them. Between coworkers, friends, family, school, our kid’s friends, it all adds up. On any given week, I’m coordinating with probably over 50 people on various tasks. Whether it’s my several climbing groups, AWANA, my small group, game group, two D&D groups, friends, and family, sometimes I get even where I’m triple booked in one day.

This isn’t a post on me being popular or doing too much. But it’s showing how even though I’m a stay at home mom with a good chunk of free time, I’m also investing myself in many different directions. Just because I spend an hour at the coffee shop every few days, doesn’t mean I’m not currently investing in the people and place there. I am. I’m an extrovert, and I love building friendships and relationships with people.

Community is what drives me. As a Christian, it’s all about relationships for me. And I don’t have an agenda. I don’t become your friend just to invite you to church. I become your friend because I care about you and I love sharing this passion with you. Whether it’s coffee or climbing or math or board games. And if I’m able to enourage and be a light to people along the way, that’s my ultimate goal.

And no, I am far from being perfect. I still get mad when I don’t send a league route. I still get annoyed if I don’t win that board game. I’m not a perfect representation of Christ. I still make mistakes. I say dumb things and I get very emotional. But as my pastor says, we are all in process. I invest in all these people and events and places because I want to share my life with so many people. I don’t want to just live in the church bubble. I want to be friends with people of all walks of life, because that’s how we grow. And I think hearing where people are and where they come from is so interesting to me.

So what’s the point of all of this? I guess it’s saying that just because someone appears to have lots of free time, doesn’t mean that their emotional, spiritual, and physical energy doesn’t get sapped from time to time. I guess it means we should all have grace and not judge people’s schedules. Everyone does life differently. Some people are homebodies and want as much home time as possible. Others love to be out and about and doing as many things as possible.

I’m a bit of a mix. I guess with my son in school full time I thought I would have more time. I do have more time, but I have less emotional time. We are involved in a lot, and though I’m constantly saying no to certain events or commitments, I also want to be open and available for a lot of people. I’ll get my break soon. Once summer hits, a lot of the things I’m involved in take a break. I won’t have recess duty or school events or Awana or everyday 3 pm pick up. Gotta keep rolling until the end of the school year.

All in all, what it comes down to, is I love people, I love spending time with people, and I wouldn’t trade my life for the world. I’m so blessed that I get to interact and be friends with so many different people.

As Iron Sharpens Iron, so we must sharpen each other.

Fitness in my 30s

I have been rock climbing for 6 years now, since I turned 25 years old. I started out very beginner as I was recovering from an emergecy C section and had a 6 month old not sleeping through the night. As someone who did sports all her life until her early 20s, it was definitely hard not progressing quickly.

Climbing at the Circuit SW, Winter 2019

However, I stuck at it and eventually became decent at climbing! And lost a lot of weight and gained loads of muscle. Over the years I’ve had some injuries. Last year I had my biggest injury in my life, dislocating my elbow after falling off the top of the bouldering wall. It was a freak fall, landing on my arm.

Since then, I’ve been working hard on recovery and getting stronger. At the end of summer 2018, I began realizing that I needed an extra push to help me get recovered and to the next level. I had done pre and post natal Pilates and loved how much it had helped. My parents were still using the same instructor that I used, so I decided to join their class!

Around the same time, I had a private lesson with one of the employees at my rock gym. Instead of giving me technique tips, he gave me an overall lesson on core strength and core tension. He said I had good technique and I am really strong. So the next step was to focus on core strength and tension. I started doing the drills in concert with Pilates and I climbed the strongest I’ve ever climbed at the Portland Boulder Rally.

My fitness story doesn’t end there though. A few months ago, I was complaining of shoulder issues. I’ve always had very tight shoulders and can get tension headaches as the problem then radiates to my neck and jaw. I carry my stress in my neck, jaw, and shoulders. I ended up running into my climbing friend who is also a massage therapist!

We got to talking and I got a free chair massage! After that, I decided to try out getting regular massage treatment. It’s amazing especially combined with Pilates, stretching at home, and climbing, I’m the strongest and most flexible and loose I have ever been. Even when I do get a kink or muscle ache, between Pilates and massage treatment, I’m set!

It’s amazing how when we age, how much more important it is to take steps for injury prevention and maintaining health of muscles and tendons. Instead of treating something WHEN I get hurt, I’m hoping to stay healthy so I prevent most if not all of potential injuries.

I’m super excited for this journey into self-care. Self-care is definitely a controversial topic, especially among Christians. We are always taught to look after OTHERS first. But in my pastor’s book Upward, Inward, Outward, he has a whole chapter of the importance of self-care. Essentially it boils down to you must be seeking God first in prayer and Scripture (upward and inward), before we can be prepared to serve others (outward)

Basically if we are sick ourselves, we can’t go out and try to cure other people.

I still struggle with this concept, but I’m learning that if I take care of myself alongside seeking Christ, then I can better serve the community and my ministries. If I’m going into AWANA completely exhausted mentally, physically, and spiritually, then I won’t be as an effective vessel for the Gospel!

I continue to get stronger.

And even just as a person, keeping mentally and spiritually and emotionally healthy is so important for my marriage, myself, and as a parent. So this fitness post turned into a self-care post, but I think they are all connected. Taking care of myself physically and preventing injury can definitely relate to taking care of myself spiritually and preventing burnout.

In the Bible, Paul gave a lot of sports analogies, and this one is one of my favorites:

Do you now know that in a race, all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly. I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24 (ESV)