The Sun’s Flower 

13 days ago my beloved sister passed away. 

Broken is an understatement. She was my best friend. The one who understood my neuroses. The one who would cry with me, the one who would cry for me as though everything that had ever hurt me, had hurt her. I miss her more with each day that goes by.  I’m haunted by thoughts of whether I could have saved her. Apparently once the funeral is done, things get easier. It isn’t easier. It’s harder.

Sleep evades me, and when I do sleep I wake up feeling as though I would much rather be in heaven with her.

My heart hurts.

Living hurts.

Everything hurts. 

Everything reminds me of her. 

The things I eat. 

The things I do.

I don’t know what it means to go back to normal & do the things I love when one of the people I love the most is no longer here. 

Nobody knew me more than my beloved older sister. I’m not going to be okay for a long time, so I guess this is where the faith part of this blog comes in. 
Day 13. It might as well be day 1. 

i am sorry this world 

could not keep you safe

may your journey home 

be a soft and peaceful one
~ rest in peace 
rupi kaur 

Integrity: doing what you say you’ll do 

This morning (and every morning for the past two months,) I have made it a daily habit to listen to podcasts that start my day off with either laughter, (Russell Brand on Radio X) or aligns my focus so that I can get the maximum benefit from tasks that I get to complete. I’ll be honest, when you wake up at 4:15 every single morning to make it in time for the 5am class, you have to coax you brain into deciding that you will apply the same (if not greater,) level of focus, determination and joy that early, as you would for a later time when you’re slightly more awake and pleasant to be around without the need of caffeine. 
When you train that early, you have to be mindful in every single thing that you get to do. In previous posts, I’ve touched on how practicing mindfulness, (i.e. changing my mindset) has helped in improving my performance as an athlete and recently my quality of life. As I progress on this journey, developing a healthy mindset (not just for sports performance,) is becoming increasingly important. This morning I was listening to a podcast by Brute Strength on ‘mindsets and gaining the edge,’ with 2nd fittest woman in the world, Kara Webb and there was so much gold in this podcast that I found myself having to do more reining in than I typically do, to my ridiculously ADHD brain that wants to spew out everything all at once! 

A word that came up in this podcast, and stuck with me, is the word  ‘integrity.’

integrity

– The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. 

– The state of being whole and undivided. 

It’s a word we use to describe people that we respect, admire or simply want to be like! I am very blessed to have coaches (and people,) who are loaded with this trait, and I’ve learnt (and continue to learn,) so much from them. If you have people like these in your life, treasure them. These people are great! These people are important, make sure to high 5 them next time you see them! Do you know what else is great & even more important? Personal integrity to yourself (comes in at about 35:02 minutes in the podcast…I’m on my third listen of this 🙈)
What you tell yourself you’re going to do AND then carrying out that action, speaks volumes about the person that you are to yourself. Are you undivided, honest and steadfast to the word or promises that you make to yourself? Are you a person of integrity to yourself? Do you honor the promises you make to yourself whether health wise or (for me especially,) in your faith walk? 

When you honor the promises that you make to yourself, and do them CONSISTENTLY, you begin to build personal trust in yourself, in your efforts, in your entirety as a living being. 

I had to ask myself this question: 

‘Do you trust yourself? Are you a person of integrity to Aurélie?’



Here’s the thing that I discovered as I attempted to answer this question; I couldn’t come up with a solid ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. In my head these two answers were swirling around : ‘sometimes when I know I’m good at something, yeah then I definitely trust myself’ or ‘yeah when things are going well and usually when I feel like it, I’d say I have good personal integrity to myself.’  The goal is to get to a place where you can say: ‘YES I am a person of integrity to [insert your name over here] all the damn time!’ 

Life will offer you a multitude of situations (and people too haha,) to test the mettle of your character. Who is the person that rises up when demands are made on the moral fabric that ties you together? A great question to ask yourself when these situations (or people crop up,) occur: ‘is this true to the person that I want to be to myself? Will this enhance the relationship that I have with myself as a person of integrity?’ If it doesn’t fulfill that criteria, don’t compromise, no dilly dallying over here, say no! 

I am at a beautiful stage in my life where (slowly…slow doesn’t mean it isn’t happening,) I’m cutting off all the things that don’t align with the person I want to be (firstly) to myself, and then to others. I’m learning to match every moment of my existence to the purposes that I would most like to pursue. It’s what we all need to do, not the purposes that have been assigned to us based on gender, race and/or socio-economic status, not the purposes that people would like you to pursue. You have to be the one that decides these purposes. 
I’ll be honest, I don’t always get it right, habits take time to change (don’t make that your excuse/crutch though,) but I’m chasing greater personal integrity & excellence to myself and that’s something that should never stop. 
Not for me. Definitely not for you! 

The aftermath of listening to this podcast was a 5K run that I had half-heartedly planned 🙃, hence the post- run image for this post. Only subscribe to the Brute Strength podcast if you’re serious about bettering yourself; you just might end up going for a 10K run 😉 

Recommended reading: ‘Getting things done: the art of stress-free productivity.’ David Allen 

‘A champion is not the winner. A champion is a person who comes through in the final hour.’

Keep that core tight! 

A couple of days ago I was crying to God because I’m currently nursing a back injury which means that for the past two weeks, I’ve been unable to lift heavy. It is absolute torture!!! Going to the box, watching people throw their bars while I’m there stretching my lumbar spine 😴 and then the torture became too much and I relented to stretching and doing my core strengthening exercises at home…where I could sulk and pour as much as I wanted. All the while thinking, would I ever be able to lift without any pain again? Were my arms going to waste away into tiny little weeds? Were my thighs going to become floppy and forget how to power up when squatting? Was I going to lose all my strength? This was the trajectory that I was scared I’d go down on. 

Later that day, while soaking in the bath (still feeling very much sorry for myself,) I was listening to Ben Bergeron’s podcast chasing excellence and the topic was ‘redefining adversity.’ Ben spoke about how your reaction to failure, in my case, my reaction to injury, is what would define the outcome. One of the examples he used about adversity handled the right way is Katrin not being able to rope climb at regionals in 2014 and not qualifying for the games. She could have easily adopted the ‘woe is me’ attitude, but we all know that she didn’t and that’s why she’s the two time reigning fittest woman on earth! I listened to this podcast and I immediately switched my thoughts to: hey, I can love every single minute of these next few weeks because I’m working on foundational movements that will make me a better athlete. The bar’s still gonna be there when I get back; so will wall balls. 

Everything will be waiting for me when I’m 100% again, and I have a sneaky feeling that I’m going to be stronger, faster and even better than ever. A few minutes later as I was doing my core workout, thinking about how the lack of stability and strength in my core was one of the factors that contributed to my back injury, I began to think about how in life and in our walk with God, a lack of stability in our belief that God’s love is for us; is often what causes us to stumble in life. 

For such a person ought not to think or expect that he will receive anything [at all] from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable and restless in all his ways [in everything he thinks, feels, or decides].  ‭‭James 1:7-8‬ ‭(AMP‬‬)

To believe that God loves you and that His love is for you, is the foundational truth upon which our lives should be built. This statement is what will cause you to be stable in the face of adversity. 

What does this adversity look like? Very simply, adversity in our Christian walk is anything that threatens to shake our identity in Christ and how we view our beautiful Jesus. This adversity can come in the shape of thoughts where you feel that you aren’t good enough; that you’ll never amount to anything. These thoughts trickle down into the depths of your soul and begin to shape a new identity, a false identity; one where you’re not made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) one where you don’t live boldly and without hindrance (Acts 28:31,) to do all the God has destined for your life. The only way that this can change is by renewing yourself daily with the word of God, putting on your new nature (Colossians 3:10) and trusting in His love for you. Trust in God begins with a thought as simple as ‘God, I’m going to believe that you love me and that you will lead me down the path of everlasting life. I’m going to trust the directive that you have for my life.’

When I repeat such seemingly simple phrases, (the Gospel is after all simple truth,) I find that my anxiety level drops by at least 90% and the striving ceases. Repeating such simple truths daily is what has crafted and is still crafting me into the type of woman that I want to be for Jesus. Notice that I wrote for Jesus! We become unstable and restless in all of our ways (how & what we think, feel & believe,) when we try to gather up all the different selves that people want us to be, into one. 

We’ll never achieve anything by such double minded living; the saying goes you can’t please everyone because you’re not Nutella, so why not choose to live for Christ, to please Him, doing your utmost for the Highest. In making this decision to live just and only for Him; you’ll find that all adversity does is strengthen your identity in Christ and push you closer to what He’s planned for your life but you have to choose. Nothing great ever came forth from being passive, core strength included. So today, on this beautiful Sunday, think about the little changes you can make to put you on the trajectory to an unrivaled life of excellence empowered by God, and as you think of those changes you can make, go ahead and do it! 

Now that we’ve covered the faith part of this post, let’s throw in some fitness. 

Here are 5 of my favourite core busting moves, starting with the move that’s in the image:

1. Wall squats with dumbbell 

Stand in front of a wall and hold a light dumbbell (or kettlebell,) in an overhead position. Keep your core tight and your arm straight as you lower down into a squat. This is mega hard for me and highlighted just how much I tend to lean forward with my back when squatting. I could only do 1 when I first started these and now I’m up to three, I typically do 3 sets of 3 after my main workout which these days is just simple bodyweight and Pilates. I’m working really hard at not leaning to the side, use a light weight for these. My dumbbell was 5kg; pull that tum into your belly, your core will feel it and you’ll get bette each time. 

2. Wall climb 

Start in a plank position or for an even harder progression, start flat on your stomach with your hands slightly outside your shoulders to support them as you start climbing up. Resist the urge to twerk up the wall, you’re not in a hip hop video and you aren’t using your bummy to get you up. It’s all in the core so don’t let your back dip. Using opposite arm and leg, climb up the wall until your nose touches the wall, 3 sets of 10 will set your core on fire. 

3. Downward dog 🐶 

This is a favourite of mine; nothing gets at those hamstrings and lengthens my back, better than this doggie! Start on all fours, your wrists about 15 to 30cm in front of your shoulders. Separate your knees hip width apart, curl your toes underneath. Push evenly into your palms, lifting your knees off the floor. Lift your sit bones and push the top of your thighs back so that your body looks like an inverted V. Slowly start to straighten your knees without locking them, gently moving your chest back towards your thighs. Don’t let your head do a little dangle dance. Lengthen your spine, keep those hips lifted and push strongly into your hands. Hold this post for 10 deep breaths and repeat 5 more times. It’s okay if you can’t keep your heels on the floor, I’m still fighting ridiculously tight hamstrings but practice makes perfect. I’ll get there, and so will you! 

4. Bridge 

This pose is great for spine realignment and teaching you how to use your gluteal muscles. It’s pretty straightforward! All you do is lie on your back with your knees bent directly over your feet, hands by your heels and palms up. Use your abs (I promise they’re there,) and glutes to lift your hips and torso towards the ceiling. Hold for five to 10 breaths. Lower down, starting with your upper back and finishing with your lower back, keeping your pelvis tilted up. Repeat this 5 more times and you’ll be well on your way to building a bridge that’ll get you over troubled waters. Was that mildly funny? No? Okay onto number 5! 

5. Bow 

This pose is one that I really battle with but I love the way my back feels afterwards. Lie on your stomach with your legs hip width apart and bend your knees then reach back and grab the outside of your ankles or the top of your feet. Inhale, pressing back through your legs as you lift your thighs and chest off the floor. Then press your feet back into your hands, drop your chin to your chest and breath deeply. Release and repeat 3 more times. 

I’m not enjoying being injured, but through this I’m still learning more about the athlete that I will become based on the athlete that I was. There probably will be a lot of days where I’m going to cry because I can’t yet do all the things I want to do, there will be days when I’m probably still gonna cry when I watch CrossFit videos, but it’s okay. This isn’t forever. It’s just a little pit stop on the way to greatness. 

Right handed

I remember the day I started wearing the black band on my wrist…okay maybe I don’t remember the exact date BUT I do know that it was a couple of days before my 27th birthday (loved that day!!!) I was on ‘fuel for fire’s’ Instagram page where they wrote about the white rubber band that reigning fittest woman on earth, Katrin Davidsdottir wears on her wrist to keep her from complaining or having a negative mindset. 

I very heavily document the highs and lows of my emotions, and having suffered with depression; sometimes it can feel like you’re just never getting better, I have days where I seriously question whether there might just be a very hormonal pregnant woman hiding in the deeper parts of my belly 🤔 However I have begun to ACTIVELY work on healing myself; no longer the passive bystander, constantly coming up with excuses on why things will always stay the way they are. 
For me; one of my excuses was: ‘hey I’ve suffered with depression and I’ve been through so much, people don’t know what I’ve been through. Besides I’m kind of trying to improve my mental game, I haven’t said can’t in agessss. At least I’m trying!’ 

Was I really trying? 
Are YOU really trying? 

The dangerous thing about excuses is that if we repeat them to ourselves long enough; they condition our minds into believing that these excuses are the gospel truth. Luckily for me, Jesus really loves me, (I mean I know we have the childhood song ‘Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…’ BUT this girl over here, I’m His favourite!) and it is because of this fierce and passionate love that He will 9 times out of 10, swoop in like the hero that He is to destroy the excuses, as well as the wrong mindsets [strongholds] that oppose the great plan that He has for my life. Sometimes Jesus (along with some very wise friends,) has to remind me to drop the crutch. Don’t try, no excuses, just do it! 

So when I started wearing my rubber band; (mine is a black one that I got from A21, an organization that fights human trafficking, a cause very important to me,) I evaluated the things that are important to me not just as a human but also as a daughter deeply loved and highly favoured by God. These things are: Jesus, CrossFit, doughnuts and Jesus. Everything begins and ends with Him. As I questioned my motives and searched my heart in what has been a turning point in my spiritual health; I came to the realization that not only in CrossFit, but even in my walk with God, I had applied a lot of excuses, cutting corners where I could, sugar coating what was indeed laziness, with a WHOLE lot of excuses. Excuses that seeped into (and were threatening to derail,) my pursuit to become a top CrossFit athlete. 

My most popular excuse: I just don’t have time; I’m always working, and you know what? It might seem like a valid excuse (and for those who know me; they’ll know that I am indeed almost always working,) but whether you’re working or sitting on your 🍑 at home; life goes on, people go on. As you neglect to do what you can to ensure healthy spiritual growth or in the case of my fitness pursuit, better athlete ability; it doesn’t mean that everyone else is neglecting those areas.  

People were getting their muscle ups strung together. People were falling deeper in love with God. 

And me? 

I had a tug of war going on in my head. The very things that I wanted to achieve, I couldn’t even visualize myself doing. There would be a nervousness that would gnaw so viciously at any confidence that I had in myself; leaving me with just enough to get by (you’re survivin’ honey, but not thriving.) Not enough to excel, just enough to not completely sink. 

It was time for a mindset shift; for good this time. I hate to give this guy credit 🙄 but coach 1/2, Bruno, has been someone who I am learning a lot from in terms of creating in your mind a space where the energy that you draw from while training, while living, is always positive and life giving. A few weeks ago, I walked into the box for the best class; 5am and looked at the wod. This was a spicy one that was 10 rounds long, and because it had one of my favourite moves; front squats, I didn’t even bother reading twice before deciding that RX+ was going to be my portion that day; front squats at 40kg , easy for girls with thighs and just my kind of weight; (heavy just how I loooves it!) thrown in were double unders & handstand push ups. Now I don’t hate handstand push ups but in my head (on that particular day,) I felt that I had regressed. I wasn’t looking forward to the HSPU, but when you love squatting (or deadlifts;) you’ll go through any ugly movement (toes to bar are there,) to get to your cake, and front squats…that was MY cake, cake, cake! 🎂 

Front squats done, quads singing 🎤 and then I walk to the wall. Handstand push up timeeee!!! At least that’s what I thought; I could barely get on the wall which was frustrating to me because I have video evidence of me stringing 6 kipping HSPU together. On that day; I couldn’t even get 2. I could feel myself getting more and more frustrated each time I had to approach the wall, but before I could start crying (I cry a lot at the box haha,) I looked at my band and as much as my coach offered the scaled options to me; I (like to think that I was polite,) declined. Today was a great day to practice not allowing my mind to wander off into negativity land, and potentially even quit; I was not going to do that, ESPECIALLY because I had in my tank, the memory of being able to do HSPU’s.  

Wearing my black band (and telling my coach about it,) held me accountable; it meant that everyday I would choose  positivity. I had to keep my band on the right, which meant no complaining, no sucky attitude approaching any wod or movement. Now more than ever, I feel accountable to God. Am I squandering what He has given me? What did I believe, what do I currently believe? About who I can become as a Christian woman. About who I can become as an athlete? 

It’s no longer about not verbalizing the negative comments but also not thinking negatively! It was hard when I started and it’s still hard now. It’s going against what used to be your normal, it’s going against everything you’ve ever known as the right way to think. It’s fighting the battle within, and winning. Your mind doesn’t control you, you control it! 

The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself- the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us- that’s where it’s at. 

Jesse Owens 

I Won’t Forget…Whispers of Love 

It’s my birthday today!!!!
I’ve been excited about this day from the 1st of January 2017 😂 . So excited in fact that I started writing this post on the 11th of April, 7 days before my special day. I was on my way back from work listening to ‘I Won’t Forget,’ from Brian and Jenn Johnson’s album ‘After All These Years,’ and boy I’ve gotta tell ya; this song is everything that I would hope, intend and will endeavor for my walk with God to be as I enter into a new year where I’m older and if you’re asking me, looking even better than I did 10 years ago. My worst birthday was the year I turned 23, we’ll talk about that some other time okay! After I turned 25, something clicked in me and I just knew that birthdays from there on would be different.
I will confess to being a very weird breed of female; there are two things that I’ve always wanted to do in my life:
1. Switch to a plantbased i.e. vegan diet. ✅ next month on the 18th will mark 3 years as a vegan.

2. Make it to 30 and enjoy the journey to 30. The age 30 has always had a magical appeal to me. I don’t know if it was enhanced by watching ’13 going on 30′ , but for me that age represents maturity and a stage in your life where you no longer care what people think about you. I’m now 3 years away from this milestone 💃🏾

In the midst of these silly “life goals,” there have been a few more serious ones such as adopting kiddies, learning how to farm bees 🐝 adopting a million fur babies 🐶 and one that I am constantly working on: remembering to remember God in and through everything. To love Him deeply and celebrate Him passionately through and in every season of my life.
So as I’m listening to ‘I Won’t Forget,’ so many things that Daddy God is whispering to me. Some that He has permitted me to share with you. Grab a cuppa, it’s quite a read!
The first one that isn’t so much of a whisper than it is a shout. I can hear His voice roaring like thunder as He declares that *drumroll*; He’s excited about my birthday!!! Even for those years when I haven’t been on board about adding another year to my age; He has been excited about my birthday. God celebrates me!

Do you want to know what’s even better?

He celebrates you! (but hey! Don’t get too excited; it is MY birthday after all 👱🏾‍♀️)

Have you ever thought of that? On the days when you feel alone; sitting in your room wondering when life will be what you dreamt it would be; that there is a Friend closer than a brother who desires intimacy with you? A friend who wants to partake in the highs and lows of life with you? And while we’re talking about the lows; a very quick mention that believing in God doesn’t mean that you now have a magic wand to wave away/keep you away from harm and/or danger; a post on that will be coming up soon. It does however mean that you now have with you someone who even in the most disgusting of situations, will be with you always! Our perspective just tends to become blurry in the face of hardship. He celebrates your existence and is glad you’re alive.

For the past few months; I’ve been telling all my friends and family, that they’re so lucky they get to be alive to celebrate me 😂 ; and although I was saying that in a (semi) joking manner; I truly do believe that my squad are amongst the most blessed people to have me in their lives, and do you want to know something else? Your friends, your family, your circle; they are the luckiest and most blessed people to have you in their lives! Everyday wake up with the thought, belief and hello! A generous helping of confident swagger, and belief that just by being alive and ACTIVELY present in someone’s life, you make a difference. Believe that your life matters, because it does! Believing that my life matters is one that I struggle with. We’ve become a society known for being master players at the comparison game. So one day I’ll be on Instagram or Facebook and start to measure the difference I’ve made in my life to what someone else is doing and 9 times out of 10, the Holy Spirit has to fiercely reel me in and remind me that my story, my path, my difference is unique. I mean hello, you don’t get a special name like Aurélie and then want to throw it away to be like everyone else! It’s the same for you; you do not get a special name like *insert name here* to throw away all of your potential and talent, to be like everyone else. You are a one of a kind creation. The world needs you! Your quirks, your flaws, your brand of weird. The world needs that!
And then the most important whisper of love today; He will rescue me always.
This is a vital one for me. I’ll always make reference to my past (and present,) experience with depression because that’s part of my story and it will always be an important issue for me to address; without the stigma, without the awkwardness or judgment. It’s sticky tar this depression, you feel like you’ve left it but somehow there’s residual tar that seems to always be there and never fully comes off. This residual tar is what can sometimes cause me to on some days be so overly bratty with and to God, that it can only be because He loves me ever so much that He hasn’t lightning bolted me 🙈 I will be the first to admit that sometimes I can be a bit emotional, I wear my heart not just on my sleeve but ALL over me. Just last week I was telling my CrossFit coach B that “I’m not a cry baby, I just feel deeply.” The truth is however deep our emotions, they were never meant to rule us. I’m guilty of throwing tantrums or indulging in a pity party when things don’t go my way. We’ve all done that and I’m not berating myself for those moments, because there are occasions when we need to let go of all that pent up frustration and maybe even throw our toys out of the cot. What needs to stop is the 80% hold that our emotions, the negative ones in particular, can have on our view of God, and in my case; life, my hair 😂 CrossFit, the list is extensive and seemingly endless…see how negativity can trickle into all areas of your life?
Our emotions were never meant to cause us to forget that after all these years, God has never given up on us; that after all these years, He’s still and will continue to be constant in His love for us. We’ve got to be able to break away and shake off negative emotions that would love for us to forget all that God has done for us in the past, all that He’s doing in the present, all that He will do in the future, and how after all these years, He still runs after us. *

I love that in the Bible, we see in Jesus the perfect example of what it means to live controlled by the Spirit, to have a mind that is sound, filled and ruled with power and love from above (see 2 Timothy 1:7), and not by general annoyances that He had about the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Jesus definitely felt things deeply but what He felt was compassion. The Greek word for compassion is splagchnizomai** (σπλαγχνίζομαι), and translates to being moved in the inward parts; this compassion (so gripped by the things that grip the Fathers heart,) is what always prompted Jesus to action. Whenever He encountered a lame person or my personal favorite, the woman at the well in John 4; He was able to connect with these people, understand what they were feeling and then from that place of deep compassion, He always provided that healing ointment that to this day our hearts so desperately need. The very same way that He rescued then and has rescued me (and you,) before, He will continue to do so. He isn’t my back up plan, He is my only plan, and depression or any other mental illness, no matter how dark, can never pull you or keep you away from His love for you (Romans 8:38-39.) He’s going to keep coming for you; to rescue you, to revive you and to restore you. You’re gonna be ok.
Sometimes the only other voice you’ll hear cheering you out of any dark hole, will be God’s and even then sometimes it’ll feel like He isn’t there. But He is. I’ve been through stages in my life where I’ve had to force myself to believe that present sufferings would not be greater than God and my view of Him. This wasn’t blind faith because I was very much aware of the carnage that still lay around me, but because I was focused on seeing Him through and in everything, He started to feel close again until I came to the realization that He not only feels close but He is close. He’s always there.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans‬ ‭8:18‬ (‭KJV‬‬)

So today as I look at myself in the mirror, I think: ‘girl you’re mighty fine!’ 😂 look at how the good LORD has improved not just my looks (guys, pause on how I used to channel that inner cute but psycho/serial killer vibe…) but my heart as well.

One of my favourite songs is one by Bethel Music (in a spontaneous worship moment), called ‘You Are Growing Me Into A Beautiful Garden,’ and today I feel like a beautiful sunflower 🌻 , I’m happy. At times I can’t see progress, but God sees the rapid growth. I’m not a little girl anymore; I’m a warrior woman. You can’t wipe the grin off my face. Today’s whispers of love, they’re going to carry me through the year and I hope that in the moments that I somehow managed to break away from birthday selfishness haha, they’re whispers that will do the same for you too, you are the universe in ECSTATIC motion.

Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion. Rumi

 

*paraphrased from “After All These Years,” sung by Brian Johnson 

**Strong’s Concordance 

Going It Alone 

There’s a saying that goes “if you want to go further, go together…” hang on while I get the correct quote from google…

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

I find that this quote is applicable in all areas of life; whether in fitness, your professional life or your personal life. In general, I am very much okay with being an island. I don’t like the thought of having to inconvenience anyone because of something I can’t solve or do. Self sufficiency is something that I used to strive for; to the point where I would be physically and emotionally exhausted from trying to do everything on my own. In those moments of complete exhaustion, ego and pride worn out, only then as a last resort would I seek help or advice. 

Praise be to God for real that as I get older, He is adding wisdom to this vessel and I have finally gotten to a stage in my life where I make a conscious effort in reminding myself that it’s okay to need people. It’s okay to not be a self-sufficient island. It’s okay to be the island that sometimes needs to get more supplies from a neighboring island, just to make it through the month. It’s okay to get by with a little help from your friends. The problem with wanting to go it alone all the time is that you miss out on having access to the knowledge present in other people about how they’ve made it, and sometimes even how they’ve navigated situations where they were in the same place that you’re in right now. 

The biggest thing that keeps us from seeking help or advice from others, is shame. It’s the culture we live in; we worry about what people would say, whether we’d still be accepted; seen as less; seen as weak. To worry about all of these things is human nature but it’s possible to change that! A mantra that I repeat to myself is “screw what people think.” What matters is whether you’re being true to yourself. What matters is whether you’re being true to the person God wants you to be. It’s what I think of more and more each day; am I the Aurélie that Jesus wants me to be? Am I being true to that image that He has of me? 

I don’t always get it right, but the more I meditate on doing my utmost for His highest, the more I enjoy the journey of life. The more He awakens my spirit to knowing when I should be asking for help, and when He would rather for me to walk that road with Him. The interesting part of all this is that even when physically you’re walking through a difficult period alone; you never really are alone. 

We are so wired for connection that in those moments of what feels like separation from everyone else, if we would allow for Christ’s Nutella like sweet tenderness to sweep over our hearts, we will realize that we never walk alone. We will realize that for every season in our lives, we are never forgotten or alone. 

What God Teaches Me Through My Shoes

On the 1st of January, as the majority of the world does, I thought about the things that I want to improve this year; personally and professionally. I love to dedicate a bit of time on the 1st to sit with God and pause, ponder and reflect on all of the things that He has done and what I want to achieve in the coming year. This year before my quiet time with my daddy God, I was in the kitchen talking to my sissy sharing some of my frustrations about work and she said to me something that caused a shift in perspective and the approach that I would have brought to God. She said to me before you go to God and ask Him to change your life; pause and just say thank you. Everything else seems to fall into place sooo much better when we’re in a CONSTANT state of gratitude.

I went into my special time with God void of a prayer list of things I wanted Him to change and instead all I could write in my journal was Philippians 1:21

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

That’s all I want to achieve this year, a life where everything I do, ABSOLUTELY everything represents Christ.

A couple of days later, I went back to work very grateful that I could afford the metcons that I wanted, I call them my rose gold babies, and just like me they’re also black and beautiful haha! All jokes aside, as I revelled in that moment of having shoes that would hopefully help me with my toes to bar, God reminded me of a beautiful ritual that the two of us have. On all of my training or running shoes, I have these four verses scrawled on them: Hebrews‬ ‭12:11;Romans 1:16; Philippians 4:13 and my absolute favorite Colossians 3:23!

I must be honest, as I held the permanent marker in my hand I was a bit shaky about writing on my new rose gold babies. As quickly as that thought had entered, the Holy Spirit came in to convict me and to remind me of how my abilities are all due to Him. He reminded me of times when I truly did wake up on the grumpy side of bed, and would walk into the box with THE stinkiest attitude (hey, I can’t be perfect all the time!) and how through a quick glance at the verses scrawled on my shoes, I was able to check myself before I wrecked myself and was able to be a little bit more of a nicer human than I would be if I didn’t have those verses on my shoes. He reminded me of all the times I wanted to quit during a WOD and the reminder of Philippians 4:13 was enough to carry me through 1 more rep!

The first part sounds really lovely doesn’t it? Just before I gave myself a pat on the back for being a good Christian athlete, who is so ‘easily’ corrected, He reminded me of the flip side days. Those are the days when I am determined to let my feelings rule the day. The days where as much as Jesus would try, that stinky attitude would prevail and come out whether through my demeanor or through the thoughts swimming in my head. Through my shoes, He has been able to convict, correct and humble me. I think most of us, myself definitely included, are prone to occasionally getting on our high horse and thinking we’re amazing humans, so to have God humble us once in a while…every day perhaps, is truly what keeps and will keep us growing. Through my shoes I have learnt (and I am still learning,) to walk humbly, to stand strong on solid ground (the words that my Jesus speaks,) to walk in anywhere with feet that bring good news and refreshment wherever they go and to keep moving one foot at a time.

As I finish off this post, sitting on the floor, listening to “thank you” by Jonathan David Helser. In this moment God is taking me through all the other moments in my life where He didn’t have to come and yet He still did. As I dwell on those moments, a lump starts to develop in my throat and I am ever so grateful that this great Lover of my soul ransomed my heart, walked through all my walls and conquered my shame! How ridiculously good is His love???

From the outset I had already decided that 2017 would be amazing and it already is! My prayer for you today and for your 2017 is that God would pull you closer into Him, no matter what you have been through, I pray that He would restore joy, internal and external peace, as well as a heart of gratitude; whether that be through you hitting numerous clean & jerk PR’s (I’m hinting for myself to God here,) or through new promotions at work, may His love usher in so much goodness that it absolutely takes your breath away and all you’ll be able to say is “thank you, God that was totally you!”