Three years ago, I started working out on a regular basis. I didn’t realize it at the time, but there are two important keys to a good work out: 1. show up. 2. keep moving. Yes, that is overly simple, but at the core, that is what is most needed for a solid workout.
The need to show up and consistently move is true from both the macro and micro perspective. If I show up to the gym, I stay for an hour (from the macro perspective). If I start a walk on the treadmill, I finish the 30 minute walk (from a micro perspective).
To be successful, I need to show up and to keep moving.
You Can’t Stop Me
I have a workout playlist in Spotify designed to keep me moving. One of the songs on repeat is “You Can’t Stop Me” by Andy Mineo. Motivational title, right? The lyrics aren’t about an outward force, but they are about quieting the inner critic. Here’s a sample:
Well, if I listen to you, and everything you put in my ear
I’ll be living like woulda, shoulda, coulda, I’ll be paralyzed by fear
Huh, ain’t that the truth, if I quit the only way I lose
I got two choices when I do this – make moves or make excuses
Huh, if you know who I’m talking about, then you got me
My biggest enemy is me, and even I can’t stop me
The Inner Critic
We all have that voice in our heads. A voice telling us we can’t. A screaming banshee reminding us of our mistakes. The inward doubter encouraging us to quit…it’s too hard. Whether it’s completing a work out, finishing a project, writing a song, finding a spouse, graduating from school, getting a promotion or starting a business, we hear the inner voice telling us we’re not enough.
That is the voice that tries to keep us from showing up and continuing to move.
Typically, you are your own worst critic. Among all the other voices speaking, the inner-critic screams the loudest. It yells, “You don’t have what it takes!” Or do you?
Don’t Be Afraid. Have Faith.
One evening thousands of years ago, Jesus and his disciples crossed the Lake of Galilee. Jesus had taught the masses all day, so physically and emotionally exhausted, he laid down for a nap. As Jesus slept in the back of the boat a massive storm came upon the lake, and the disciples were afraid for their lives.
Don’t discount their fear. Some of these men were experienced fisherman who knew the danger they were in. Their lives were in the balance. In a state of panic, the disciples woke Jesus. I’m not sure what the disciples expected of Jesus in that moment. I don’t know if they really believed in his power, or if they just didn’t want to die alone.
Jesus blows their minds.
He spoke to the storm. Who speaks to a storm? Jesus did, and the storm immediately broke. The rain stopped. The wind died down. The sea became like glass. Then Jesus asked two questions:
“Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” -Mark 4:40
They weren’t really questions. Jesus made two piercing statements.
Don’t be afraid. Have faith.
The answer to the inner critic
This is the answer to the inner critic. The voices telling me I’m not enough; I can’t finish; I won’t see my dreams come to pass. Jesus gave me the answer to what drives me to act in fear. The answer is to choose faith. We don’t like to admit this. We have the choice to be afraid or to have faith.
You get to choose fear or faith. It’s a choice. Faith is showing up. It’s stepping through the door of the gym.
But how? How do you choose faith? How do you not choose fear?
The answer is more simple than you might think. The key to the first is actually the second. To make sure you show up, you keep moving.
In the spring of 2020 (not that I need to remind you, but the beginning days of a worldwide pandemic gripping the planet in fear), I read the book, Rhythms of Renewal by Rebecca Lyons. In her book, Lyons explained the steps she took to escape debilitating anxiety that began in her late 20’s and early 30’s. One line she wrote, I haven’t been able to put aside. I wrote it in my journal…multiple times. My family heard it from me. I spoke it to people I counseled. It’s become almost a mantra for myself.
“Bravery is moving scared.”
Fear is natural, but the inner-voice makes fear supernatural. Because of this, we believe bravery also to be supernatural. Both are lies. Neither fear nor bravery are beyond our reach or control. Bravery is not just for the chosen or gifted. Bravery is moving scared.
We can’t totally control fear, but we can harness it’s power. Fear is a response to what my mind and body sense as risk, and it’s a trigger for me to assess that risk. An unhealthy reaction to this risk is shut down. The healthy reaction is to encounter risk, feel fear and use fear as fuel to keep moving. A purpose of fear is to give you the strength to move when you feel stuck.
Bravery is moving scared, and faith is taking steps in the face of fear.
Just keep moving.
So how do you choose faith and not fear? You show up and keep moving. Even when fear tells you to avoid risk, you keep moving. You might move in a different direction. When fear is a liar, you show up and walk through the door.
No matter what storm you are experiencing in your life right now, major or minor, show up and keep moving. Don’t be afraid. You have been given the power of choice. Choose faith.
PS – even better…? Jesus is in your boat.