I hate the question “are you a morning person or a night owl?” I’m both. I love early morning lifting sessions and barre classes and the few minutes of quiet that follows them. I also love late nights. I get some of my best writing done between the hours of 9 and 11, and often stay up until midnight or later, reading a book.
Monday, I woke up at 5AM on the nose and was at the gym 45 minutes later, setting me up for a long day. I started to turn my thoughts towards bed around 10PM that night, except I started listening to Bobby Bones’ latest BoneCast with Charlie Worsham. They went pretty deep, discussing life’s ups and downs, and I was so impressed with their vulnerability and openness that I kept listening, even as the clock ticked off one minute after another.
(Listen to the BobbyCast here.)
When I did mosey to my bedroom at after eleven, inspired by their conversation, particularly the bit about forms of journaling, I did the obvious thing: I dug out my very first journal.
Doesn’t everyone do that at 11:15 at night? Just me? Probably.
It was far too late for this adventure, but that’s why I like late nights as much as I like lifting heavy weights or doing pliés in the morning. Late nights are when some of my best ideas happen. I climbed into bed with my journal and began to flip through the pages for a walk down memory lane.
My first realization is that I wasn’t a very consistent journaler “back in the day.” I started this journal in the summer of 2007. I finished it (sort of – there were a few blank pages in the back) in the fall of 2012. My second realization is that I used to be a lot more purposeful with my entries. These days, I ramble on for two or three pages without accomplishing much. That’s what my Morning Pages are for, not my journal.
The first entry was a gratitude list. It spanned three pages and chronicled all the people, things, and moments I was grateful for. It was a pretty substantial list, and it made my heart happy to read the things 21-year-old Sarah was grateful for. Almost 31-year-old Sarah is still grateful for all of those things, and then some.
From there, entries went on to chronicle my hopes and dreams. Getting into the University of Tennessee, landing a music industry internship, moving to Nashville, being successful… All of that was written down with intention. I achieved all of those things, not just because I wanted them and prayed about them, but because I had faith in them coming to pass.
As the clock passed midnight (I was still reading…) I realized something.
In The Gym, I pick up heavy things and put them down. I free squat nearly double my bodyweight and pull 240lbs off the floor when I deadlift. I’m not very big, but I can lift heavy things and put them down all day long (not really – my left hamstring seizes up whenever I so much as think about Monday’s workout).
I’ve been doing a lot of heavy lifting outside of the gym lately, but instead of putting it down, I’ve been carrying the weight around. My journal entries have rambled on about indecisiveness, worries, fears. I’ve questioned what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I’ve written the questions “What do I want?” and just stared at a blank page.
I’ve been carrying around a lot of heavy weight.
21-year-old-Sarah worried about those things, too. She didn’t pick up those weights and carry them around, however. She didn’t pick up weights of any sort, as a matter of fact. She wasn’t real into the whole fitness thing yet. She took her weights about college and internships and full-time jobs and placed them at God’s feet where she left them in total faith.
Reading my first journal entries reminded me of how much blind faith I used to have. They reminded me of how I didn’t worry about how things would turn out or try to make them happen. I simply trusted that they would work out okay in the end, just like Mrs. Potts says.
I still have faith. In some ways, I’m more faith-filled now than ever. I can look back and see how all the twists and turns led me to where I am, right now, in this moment, and I wouldn’t change a single curve. In other ways, though, my faith has slipped. I pick up those heavy weights and I carry them around, not asking for help or a spotter or for someone to help me rack a pre-loaded 100lb barbell. I carry the burden myself.
I don’t put it down.
I try to figure out what’s next.
I really like to try to make things happen on my timeline.
I need to start putting down some of those heavy things. 21-year-old Sarah didn’t know much (she drank a lot of flavored Smirnoff because she thought it was GOOD), but she did know not to carry around heavy things. Put them down. Let go and let God. Cast your burdens at His feet because He cares for you. It worked out pretty well for her – 30-year-old Sarah can confirm that.
The thing is, I love the sound weight plates make when they’re dropped. Whether it’s a single plate while loading the bar or the whole bar after a hang clean, they make a nice, satisfactory “thunk” against the rubber padded floor. That “thunk” means you did something. You put in work and then put it down.
My goal moving forward is to put heavy things down. To let them fall to the floor – God’s feet – with the same resounding “thunk” I hear at The Gym four days a week. To journal with more intention and stop trying to figure out what happens not just on the next page, but on the next chapter.
It’s funny how something as small as a podcast you listen to regularly can lead you to an old journal which leads you to a realization about yourself. I like to call those moments God Winks. They don’t happen by chance.
Here’s to dropping the heavy stuff – at least outside of The Gym – and letting things happen in their own time, exactly how they are meant to.
Who knew 21-year-old Sarah who drank flavored Smirnoff knew more than she let on?