I did a bike race a couple of weeks ago. Well, sort of. I think about 15 people showed up. It was also a hill climb. I have never, ever been good at hill climbs since I started racing at age 16.
Yep, so slow that Abi caught me….while walking
But I did it anyway, 10 miles, all uphill, a very steady, boring dirt road climb. I finished last. Following the race, I felt pretty good about it. It was a gorgeous day, I made a new mountain biking mama friend, Wes and the kids had a good time, and I got over 2 hours all to myself. We went and iced my legs in the lake and we all splashed around and had a super fun day. But as the days passed after, I started beating back the demons.
They had been circling in the weeks prior, too, but I let my guard down and now they became louder.
I’d drop Abi off at school. “Why are you not even dressed? That’s slobby. Not good enough.”
I’d go to work out. “You’re weak. You’re slow. Not an athlete. Not good enough.”
I’d try to take care of Liam. “He’s (not eating/throwing massive tantrums/hitting) because you’re not parenting him enough.”
I’d sit down to try to work. “You’ll never catch up. This is going nowhere. Not enough.”
I’d try to pick up around the house. “You’re just messy. It’s getting gross around here. Not enough.”
I could go on, but I’m know I’m not alone in struggling with these thoughts. They spiraled on and on and downward, and before I knew it, they had taken over and I wasn’t acting like myself. I was sleeping through lunch and letting the piles accumulate around the house.
But last week, I dragged myself to a mom’s group at our church where our senior pastor’s wife came and spoke with us. She talked about letting go of comparison and competition.
I realized there’s only one standard, only one question I should be measuring by:
Did I love today?
Because that’s enough. And it’s not hard.
It’s enough to beat back all the demons. They hate it.
I can love my kids, my husband, and even share an encouraging word with someone else in public while wearing my sweatpants while Liam pulls my hair out of its ponytail and screams in my ear.
I can love and invite someone into my home and then warn them that there are Legos, K’nex, and possibly even staples on the floor, so they should leave their shoes on.
I can love and take my daughter on a bike ride in the rain and share with her the joy of time spent outside, no matter how fast or slow or strong or weak.
I can love and wear a smile on my face because love is enough.