Since my birthday was Monday, I decided ahead of time that I didn’t want to exercise on my special day. But, since I’m working hard to lose weight and be fit, I didn’t think it was completely smart for me to just skip working out altogether. So last Saturday, I took my trainer’s “boot camp” course instead.
I’ve gone to the class before – it’s similar to what we do in our Wednesday class – so I knew I’d be able to get through it and I’d feel good about it and not guilty for taking Monday off.
The class has a lot of unfamiliar faces in it since it’s in a different location. It’s not my normal (and I hesitate to use that term) group of ladies, but I’ve met most of these girls before and it’s really about just working out so the social aspect doesn’t matter to me.
In my weekly classes, most of the ladies are pretty fit. Most of us come twice a week and we are a pretty strong bunch of bit…ahem…ladies. But the Boot Camp class has a variety of women – young, old, strong, not so strong, thin, heavy…and with all sorts of ailments and infirmities that they are fighting.
As we worked with this new group, I noticed something. Some people used lighter weights, some heavier. A few women used modified movements and our trainer pointed out when not to do something if you had bad knees or a sore back. We each went at our own pace and pushed ourselves in our own ways. We all made it through the hour – each having accomplished only what our own bodies could accomplish.
And I had this thought: that’s what we need to do in all aspects of our life. As an editor, this is something I encourage with all my clients – go at your own pace, let your book speak to you (just as these women let their bodies speak to them). You will know when something isn’t right. When something seems forced, or painful, step back and reevaluate.
This past week, one of my friends brought a chapter for her book to our critique group. She’s trying to finish her book that she’s been working on for years. And as we read this chapter, several of us could tell her heart just wasn’t in it. She openly admitted that the chapter had been hard to write and had felt forced. She didn’t have to point that out, though. We could all feel it. Here’s the worst part: she wrote it because she felt like she had to sum something up that didn’t need summation. She wrote the chapter because all her “how-to” books said she needed to write it. But, as her readers, we didn’t need it. In fact, we told her it could probably be summed up, instead, with just a few sentences tacked on to the previous chapter. I could see the relief in her eyes and a newfound bit of joy came back about her manuscript. Just like I feel when my trainer says, “It’s okay if you need a drink. Feel free to take a minute to rest.” It was time for this author to rest. The book is done – it’s time to rest.
You see, no one had told her that it was okay to not push past what she knew to be the end. No one said, “You’re done. It’s okay to stop.”
We can’t always go at the pace that others go. We can’t always write, edit, teach, or live the way others live. We need to go at our own pace and we need to know what’s right for us. God often will guide us – those little times when something doesn’t feel quite right or when something seems too painful…that’s God speaking to your soul, telling you it’s okay to stop.
As we go into this next weekend, I’m going to listen to that quiet voice of God. I want to rest, and to enjoy how far I’ve come. I don’t need to always keep pushing. Sometimes it’s okay to rest.