First thing- in writing this post I am not begging for compliments or praise (not that I will refuse either :)). It is a sincere question- Does my story make you want to get in shape or does it scare the heck out of you?
What made me start thinking of this was a conversation I had with a few friends the other day. I realized after, I had talked about exercise a lot (my goals, upcoming race, trainer, routines, etc) and that I didn’t make it sound very appealing. I’ve never been the kind of person that can put on a nice face, and I find it particularly hard to do so when I’m in physical pain. Like my father, I can’t seem to ‘fake it until you make it” with anything.
Exercising is HARD WORK! It is honestly more painful and difficult than it is rewarding and exciting. At least that is my experience. Of course, it is completely worth it and the pain does make the rewards all the more meaningful but make no mistake it is tough.
The difficult question I am having is how much of these challenges do I share with my friends and family? I never want to discourage anyone from beginning an exercising quest, but I also feel like I would have benefited from someone giving me a heads up on how hard it was going to be. On the other hand, I might have been scared off by people being too graphic. (You can see how torn I am with this question!).
It just drives me crazy on television when they make it seem so easy. Like all you do is make a few changes and poof 2 months later you are 100 lbs lighter. If only it was that simple for me. Granted I had some unusual health problems that may have happened regardless of my fitness quest (such as my eye surgery) but it has been one terrific obstacle after another. (I am also by no means finished. I have many years of hard work ahead of me to get to my end-goals and then after that I will have years of maintenance. )
I have the same struggles when talking about my mission. I loved my mission but it was also a serious testing period. Never was I lonelier in my life or more daily-tested mentally, spiritually and physically. Through the loneliness I learned so much about myself and God that it was without a doubt worth it, but it was super hard.
People tried to warn me about the difficulties of a mission, but I mostly ignored their advice. That said, most of the warnings concerned all the rules and the rejection, which to me were not the true struggles. My mission was like a personal crucible of everything God could throw at me and as a reward He helped me find some amazing people and refine my testimony and character.
I wish someone had told me a mission was like that…
However, again I am torn because not everyone has the same mission experience. Most people I know did, but not everyone, so who am I to warn them of something they may or may not experience?
Back to the dieting what if they get lucky and lose the weight fast (it usually is so much easier for men! No fair!)? Maybe my discourses will only prepare them for something they won’t experience…I don’t know?
Its the balance between preparation and discouragement which I struggle with…It truly has me puzzled?
In the end, I just want to be motivating. I want people to look at my example both as an exerciser and a missionary and be encouraged, not discouraged. I am sorry if I make either seem too hard or painful. The rewards are awesome! Nothing could be better than teaching my investigators or surfing in Hawaii. The sweet moments make the struggles worth it one hundred times over.
How do you give advice? I know many people face the same challenge when talking about parenting. It is easy to sound like you hate being a parent because it is so difficult but of course it is worth it to raise your children. I am sure nobody would want to dissuade people from having children when they are ready but its really hard.
How do you find that balance in giving honest counsel to friends and family? I would really love comments on this one.