Created to Overcome
by Kristen Singletary
Growing up I was your classic oldest child.
The eldest of my parents’ seven children, I ‘mothered’ all of my siblings, was very responsible, and was, for lack of a sweeter term, bossy. I took myself very seriously and wanted others to as well. I was a bit of a know-it-all, a teacher’s pet, and above all, I wanted to be the very best at everything I did. I was competitive and very socially aware.
In school, athletics weren’t a huge draw for me – I gravitated more towards reading and writing. I played sports, but didn’t care much about them. At practice for soccer or softball, I showed up for the snacks. The truth is, I played because I cared about what my Dad thought of me and he thought I could be an athlete. My dad used to have me and my brothers and sisters run races. I always wanted to win more than anything. I wanted to win for his approval, certainly, but mostly I wanted to win because I thought I could. My parents raised us to believe that we had no limits and I blindly believed that until about 4th or 5th grade.
In 5th grade I joined the track & field team at school. While my friends were placed in the running groups, I was placed in the shot-putting group. I have always been naturally muscular and strong, but at that time I didn’t want to be because it made me different. I wanted to be a lithe, graceful runner, not a muscular, bulky shot-putter. Because I didn’t want to do it, I purposefully tanked it. I didn’t try. I whined and complained about it all the time. My dad tried to encourage me, but my mind was made up.
I’m not good at this because I don’t want to be good at this. If I am not good at what I should be doing, even though it’s different, then I can’t be the best at what I want to be doing, to be like everyone else. And if I can’t be the best then why bother trying?
I had made up my mind that “different means less than,” and I didn’t want any part of that.
I became embarrassed and ashamed of who I was, and started focusing on the wrong things – mainly socializing and boys. I thought that boys liked girls who are weak. They liked girls that need help. They liked it when girls act dumb and cutesy. Not one of those things described me, but I was going to change that.
What started out as not wanting to be a shot-putter evolved into me trying to be the same as everyone else and streamlined in every way. I wanted to blend in, be normal. I wanted to be entirely average. I was so concerned with what everyone else was doing that I became a spectator, content to live life on the sidelines and let others keep engaging in the game of life.
It took me a long time to realize that even if people try and fail, at least they are doing something. My life had become entirely stagnant, partly out of judgment, but mostly out of fear. I was trying so hard to be like everyone else I completely lost myself along the way. I knew it wasn’t healthy, but I didn’t know how to stop, so I just kept focusing on the things I could see rather than what really mattered: what God says about me; who I was created to be. I was so focused on my outer appearance and what people thought of me that I had neglected who I really was.
Trying to be like everyone else is not only exhausting, it’s impossible.
I felt like a failure and a fraud, day in and day out. I lost years and years being insecure and letting Satan fill my head with lies. I had terrible self-esteem and made poor decisions that shaped my life in ways that left me feeling insecure; even more lost than before. I sought affirmation in all the wrong places, and found myself in a relationship that I knew was not God’s highest and best for me. I held on for dear life and tried to convince everyone, including myself, it was what I wanted. I thought being married and having a baby would make me feel validated. I had gotten so far away from who I was that I became the person I feared: someone fragile and needy. I was capable of nearly nothing on my own. I wasn’t disciplined. I was riddled with fear. I was controlling and emotional; a shell of the real me.
Then it happened. Spring of 2014, everything fell apart.
Through a series of what seemed at the time to be unfortunate events, I found myself. Suddenly, I was a single mother releasing the remnants of a broken marriage, loading up my daughter and a very few belongings, and following a moving van headed south to my new home.
When my daughter and I moved to Dallas I was certainly mourning the loss of a family and marriage, but I knew this was the beginning of a new life, and I knew I needed to leave that baggage behind.
I knew I needed to bring my best self forward, and that meant giving myself the chance to try, and fail, a bit.
I started yoga sculpt, and it changed my life. I actually surprised myself with what had been lying dormant inside me all those years. Thoughts raced through my head. Voices I hadn’t heard in the better part of 20 years started cheering me on.
“You can do this!”
“Who cares if you’re not the best. You are trying!”
“You are a competitor, but your only competition is yourself. Just worry about you and everything else will fall into place.”
I chose to start with yoga because it forced me to face my fears of being in a group setting, struggling in front of other people. I improved quickly. My little yoga victories gave me confidence to test my inner strength and do the unimaginable, which for me was to run. Really run. The kind of running where one can say, “I’m a runner.” So all of last summer I ran. It was ugly at first. I couldn’t go far, and my times were terrible, but I kept at it because in the ‘baggage’ that is my past, I chose to leave behind the part of me who threw in the towel easily. In the past, if it didn’t come naturally or would require effort beyond my immediate scope, I would have given up.
One day while the new me was emerging, I was listening to Joyce Meyer (love her), and she said words that jolted something in my spirit. She said that as a Christian, we are wired for ‘difficult.’ We are created to overcome. We can do hard things. We have every tool at our disposal, and we need to choose to employ them rather than giving up or not trying. I knew those words were for me.
‘Do Hard Things’ became my all-encompassing life mantra.
I told myself, “If you call yourself a daughter of the Most High God, you better start acting like it.” To me that means finding out what HE has to say about you, who HE says you are, what HE says you are capable of, and then applying and walking that out.
“No in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loves us.” – Romans 8:37
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it full well.” – Psalm 139:14
“You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” – Song of Solomon 4:7
I meditated on these scriptures. I wrote them in the ‘notes’ section of my phone. I looked at them while standing in line at the grocery store. I put them on sticky notes and stuck them to my computer. I let them do a work in me…and I kept running.
It took a while for me to look back on my past without regret for all the years of choices I made from the vantage point of feeling inferior. I came to the realization that letting those thoughts and shame have any space in my head or heart meant that they still had a hold, had power over me, and that’s just not a truth I am willing to live anymore. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
So I put one foot in front of the other on the road, or I spend time on my yoga mat whether I feel like it or not. I push through when it gets hard and I strive to make myself better daily. I let God’s truth and my mantra to ‘do hard things’ bleed into my life. One night, for example, I spent two hours and 13 minutes untangling a necklace. Ridiculous? Sure. Crazy making? Absolutely. But I just told myself, “You can do this. You can do hard things”.
‘Do hard things’ doesn’t necessarily mean scaling a mountain or overcoming some ominous obstacle. Sometimes it can simply mean: “This is not going to get the best of me. I will not stop until the job is done.”
Today, I work my new tagline into every area of my life: work, relationships, personal and physical. I want to honestly be able to say of myself, “I will always work to better myself and I will strive to be my very best in all I do,” and I’m proud to say I’m on my way. —
Kristen Singletary, 28, is the eldest daughter of seven children to Mike and Kim Singletary, Mama to 3 year old Brooklynne, woman of faith, and Christ-follower. Through sharing her story, Kristen and I hope to encourage you to discover your true value (perfectly created by God for great purpose!), and to ‘do hard things’ rather than settle for ordinary. You are anything but average. You were created for excellence!
YOUR TURN: What is one way you can implement Kristen’s mantra into your own life? How can you ‘Do Hard Things?’ Tell me in the comments below!
INTERESTED IN BECOMING A FEATURED GUEST BLOGGER? – If you’re all about #CauseFitness and would like to be considered, please contact me! – Rachel Elizabeth
There are varied remedies. Of course, one of the beautiful place where you can get medicaments is online pharmacy. At present there are other drugs to treat tourette syndrome, depressive disorder or bronchospasm. Verapamil is a calcium channel blocker. This medicine works by relaxing the muscles of your blood vessels. Many drugs are used to treat emasculation. What about cialis tadalafil buy online and sexual dysfunctions? Presently many patients search for the exact phrase ‘where can i buy cialis online‘ on the Internet. Like all other medicines, Cialis is classified according of it’s main element. In these latter days for men of any age, it can be first sign for grave afflictions, so it’s essential for your overall health, not just your sex being, to see a doctor if you experience hard-on disfunction. Low wish isn’t the same as erectile malfunction, but a lot of the same points that stifle an erection can also dampen your interest in sex. So if you are experiencing sexual problems, it is significant to see a certified sex therapist forthwith for a complete medical examination. Note that your sex therapist has prescribed Cialis or any other treatment because he has judged that the favor to you is biger than the risk of potentially serious side effects. If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this generic, discuss with your physician.