“Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion, you’re wasting your life.” Jackie Robinson
Those are some pretty powerful words. I actually saw them on some guys t-shirt at a ballgame a few weeks ago. As I sat reading the words and letting them sink in, I realized how much of my own life has been wasted because I was too scared to come off the bench.
If you have been following me for a while, you know I struggle with quitting or just “half” doing things. Frustration, fear, and doubt have all prevented me from doing SO much in my life.
What if I failed?
What if it was too hard?
What if I got hurt… or even worse?
What if people don’t support me?
I would sit on the sidelines of life and watch others…a hopeless spectator. I’d watch them do the things I wanted SO desperately to do, and while I was genuinely happy for them, I was also seething with jealousy.
So I decided to change. I didn’t want to half live life. I wanted to live it FULLY!
Over the past three months you have seen me succeed, struggle, cry, laugh, and question “Why the crap I am doing this?” Many of you have given me some wonderful encouragement. Your comments, messages, emails, and overall interest in my pretty crazy life, has helped me way more then you’ll ever know.
Yesterday I accomplished something pretty cool. I reached my 200th mile hiked in the Smokies.
I know some of you are like, “OH MY GOSH, is she going to write about hiking… AGAIN?” Well… sort of. Just bear with me.
Hiking was the one thing I wanted to show myself I could do. Having lived my whole life surrounded by mountains, I was drawn to the rich and deep beauty they offer. There were so many places I wanted to see, and had added to my To Do List, but I had let those fear and doubts talk me out of them.
Someday I would hike to Mt. LeConte. Someday I would visit the Four remaining fire towers in the Park. Someday I would see all the beautiful views and scenes that others saw.
Sadly I sat on the sideline. And watched.
Finally, it dawned on me as I celebrated my 41st birthday. Someday is NOW. While I still look young and sassy, my body tells me…. “Girl, you’re getting old!” Time was slipping away, and I am wasting it, sitting around waiting on Someday.
So I made up my mind. “Let’s do this!” And I took the first step. That was the hardest one I have EVER taken.
It hasn’t been all sunshine and roses. I have, and still do, continue to struggle. My pace is slow, and it takes me longer to reach my destination. I think I am all awesome until I see another hiker tell how they hiked the same 16 miles I did, in half the time. A few weeks ago I hiked the 11 miles roundtrip up to Mt. LeConte. I was so impressed with my 7.5 hour round trip, until a couple weeks later when my sister did it in 3.5 hours.
Talk about BUZZ KILL. 😦
Here is where I know my life has changed. The old me would have pouted, and quit. My two year old alter ego would have reared it’s ugly head and I would have vowed to NEVER hike again.
But that didn’t happen.
Instead of listening to the voices of doubt inside my head, I started listening to those around me cheering me on. Instead of running my mouth about how I couldn’t do it, I listened to those voices telling me I could. Instead of believing in myself, I started believing in the ONE who can do ALL things through me.
Friend, the journey is NOT about how fast you go. How well you climb. Or even how fit you are. It’s about the process.
So it takes me a lot longer to get to the top of the mountain then it takes my super athletic sister. Big deal. We BOTH got to the top of the mountain. I just did it slower and probably huffed a little more then she did.
I know it seems I write about this A LOT, but it is not because I am an expert and I have it all figured out.
FAR FROM IT!!!!
Each and every day I am constantly learning something about myself. I have accomplished some incredible things in the past few months, but with each and every one of those have come new fears. New doubts. New worries.
What if I can’t keep it up?
What if I mess up?
What if I am always scared?
What if I don’t get any better then what I already am?
A lot of good has happened, but I still get scared. I want to go back to the bleachers on the sidelines and just watch. Be a spectator again.
But I can’t.
We don’t have to sit on the side and watch others do what we wish we could do. We don’t have to sit and wait for someday to happen.
All we have to do is get up. Take the first step. Don’t look back. Keep walking.
I would love to say it’s going to be easy. But it won’t. There are going to be people who do it better then you. Faster then you. With more finesse then you. You are going to get frustrated. You are going to get tired. You are going to cry. And you are going to have days you just don’t feel like you can take another step.
But NEVER FEAR….
Because just around the corner. Just over the next hill. Just beyond that tree… You see it….. You’re destination. And it’s BEAUTIFUL!!!!!
You’ll forget how tired you are. You’ll forget how much you hurt. You will forget that you thought you couldn’t.
Oh friend, don’t stay on the bleachers. Life is not meant to be watched, it is meant to be LIVED!!!!!! Get up!
Maybe you always wanted to learn to dance. DANCE
Maybe you’ve always wanted to write a book. WRITE
Maybe you’ve always wanted to Sing. SING
Whatever it is you want… do it. It’s not about being graceful, in shape, being the fastest, or even being perfect. It’s about DOING IT.
So I have fears, but I am no longer confined by them. I have come off the bleachers and decided to live. Shouting praise and Jumping for Joy with each step I take!