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"Hard is not hopeless." - General David Petraeus

Monday, November 5, 2012

Living Childhood at 46

My initial thoughts when crafting this post were that I was having a second childhood, but it's not a second---there was no first in the sense of physical fitness.

What I am talking about is the utter thrill of life right now as I push myself doing different forms of exercises I've never done.  When I'm not working, or fueling my body, or trying to get adequate sleep, I'm exercising.  Boxing, kickboxing, running, weight training, walking the dog, hiking.  I won't be able to keep up this pace forever (unfortunately!) because there are other things in life I need to do, but for right now, I feel so blessed to be able to do these things.  While my bones and joints are much older now, I feel like a kid again.

As a kid growing up back east, I had very severe asthma.  If a person so much as looked at me cross-eyed, I'd have an asthma attack and end up in the ER.  Needless to say, there was not much physical activity in my life.  I think that's why I have so strongly valued physical movement all my adult life. 

I realized as I was running this morning that childhood asthma put limits on me that affected my entire life---and I'm only just now realizing it.  And not just in the physical sense.

When you have severe asthma, it tends to freak out those around you.  By that I mean, if your parents or siblings are watching you struggle to breathe, it's not exactly a nice feeling for them.  I can remember times on the 30 minute drive to the ER, my mom watching me struggle to breathe when the emergency inhaler had failed and telling me to "Just hang on.  We'd be there [hospital] soon."

The result?  Well meaning adults over-protect you.  Worse, it forms an invisible ceiling over your head because you are encouraged not to push too much.  Yes, this is intended mostly in the physical sense.  But what happens is that admonition not to push too much physically spills over into the rest of your life.  You play it reserved.  You play it safe.

And that's pretty much how I've lived life since.

My point?  There are no coincidences with God.  And while I'm absolutely certain He's thrilled with my child-like rediscovery of physical movement, of pushing and exploring physical boundaries at 46 that most people begin to do as a child, I'm equally certain He is not confining the lesson to one of a physical nature.

How will I push and explore the boundaries of my life in a way that honors Him?  In a way that sees me carrying out the plan He has for me?  He doesn't break down my barriers for no reason.  He's going to use it.

It's up to me to be tuned in to His promptings, to understand what He wants me to do, and to use what He's given me for His purposes.

And to thank Him, as I do every day when I experience the joy of discovery as though I were an eternal child.  Which I am.  An eternal child of God.

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