Isn't it amazing how negatively we can think without even meaning to? It's so natural that it's hardly noticeable. I'm usually a pretty positive and confident person, but there are times that I simply have a stream of negative thoughts flowing through my mind.
I've been noticing lately this is especially true while I'm working out and testing my physical limits. Last summer I ran quite a bit and completed two 5k races. I'm a slow runner . . . more of a jogger, but I was proud of my accomplishments. In just a little more than two weeks the next 5k race I am planning to run is taking place. The problem is that it's been cold in Chicagoland, and I'm a fair weather runner. So, I've been trying to get out this week and take advantage of the 40 degree weather. Boy am I out of shape! I set out to run a mile straight at a quick pace the other morning . . . I didn't even make it half way before taking a walking break. I did finish that mile - running over half of it at least. But that's not what I had set out to do, so instead of celebrating what my body had been able to do, I was frustrated that I had failed at my goal. The negative thoughts starting prancing through my brain - Maybe I'm just not a runner; I'll never be in shape in time for the race; I'm not strong enough for this.
All these thoughts are, of course, with no regard to the fact that I haven't run since October - since before I had gallbladder surgery.
Those thoughts came out again tonight at yoga. It was by far the most difficult class I've been to. We were working on arms and shoulders, doing tons of shoulder openers (stretches), planks, downward facing dog, handstand, and shoulderstand. I was exhausted and sore after the warm up alone. And then the thoughts came: I can't hold this plank any longer! Can't he see that I'm shaking? There's no way I can do this anymore!
But guess what? I could hold that plank. I shook uncontrollably, but I stayed put. And I did finish the practice - and the teacher even used me as an example for shoulderstand!
God has created and given me a body able to do more than I can even imagine. Instead of letting those negative thoughts flow through me next time, I'm going to concentrate on what my body is able to do and start there. And, I'm going to believe that I can do more than I think I can.