One Step Past Cozy

IMG_1096.JPGIt was a good thing I didn’t look outside before I put my running clothes on. While the idea of a run in the rain sounds hardcore in my head, the reality is, rain more often drives me back into my cozy bed than out onto the pavement. It’s just more…comfortable…to stay warm and dry.

So, there I stood. One foot on the sidewalk, one foot still in the house, ready to head out for a quick run before my Saturday really woke up, when the drizzle stopped me in my tracks.

Go. Don’t go. Go. Don’t go. You’re already dressed and standing here, Kelli. Go. The inner dialogue in my head is so bossy sometimes.

I run a quarter-mile loop along the street in front of my house and around my cul-de-sac. It’s not fancy. It’s the same route everyday. The potholes have become like familiar faces. I can tell time by the school bus routes. But it works with the realities of my single-mom-with-school-and-work-to-tend-to-while-raising-a-six-year-old-and-doing-all-the-lifey-things life. On good days, I can squeeze in 8-10 laps before 7:30 and the world gets a much nicer version of me afterward. It’s where I think. Where I pray. Where I wonder and allow myself to be amazed, and where I learn some things. But no matter how much I love it, I still have to talk myself past cozy and into the discomfort of hitting the trail most days.

We humans are funny little creatures of cozy, aren’t we? When given the choice, I lean towards being comfortable without even realizing it. We like 72 degrees with a light breeze. Running in the rain or running in general some days…because let’s be honest…is hard to choose over thirty minutes of sleep. Saying the hard thing in love or just avoiding the conversation all together. Chocolate or chia seeds. Staying in a loveless relationship or staying true to my soul. Doing the practical or daring to dream.

The path, it seems, is holy ground. Sacred territory. And not for the faint of heart. The path past what we can do and into what we are made for is continually paved with discomfort.

For me, through the hard, scary, there-is-no-way-in-hail that I can do this moments, I’m getting know the most authentic me. She’s not perfect. Oh, she is so far from perfect, and I actually don’t want her to be perfect anymore. I want her to be her, and I want to spend my life getting to know all about her and her Maker. She’s flawed and broken and still beautiful in her own way. I don’t love her super frizzy, has-a-life-it’s-own hair, but it sometimes makes her eyes stand out, and I like that. She prefers food that makes her feel alive and healthy, but she still enjoys the occasional Diet Coke and a good piece of dark chocolate. She is becoming more introverted as she grows but she loves people more deeply, from a braver place now. She’s proud to be from North Dakota and loves to see and travel the world. She loves her daughter, but some days feels overwhelmed by all that’s involved in being a parent. I appreciate her, I admire some things about her and I allow her grace in the areas where she has room to grow.

During the really hard poses, my yoga instructor says, “Five more breaths BECAUSE YOU CAN, because there is always more inside of you.” That’s how I travel one step past cozy, down the road of discomfort. One breath. One mile. One day. One moment at a time. Because I can. Because in the discomfort we become stronger. We become more defined. We become whole.

There really is more inside of me. And there is more inside of you, too. Whaddya say, lace up your sneaks with me and venture on past cozy today to see what awaits?

(Photo credit: The incredibly talented Carly Smaha, who captures most of our best moments.)

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