Back To The Basics

Here’s a quick life update since I disappeared seven months ago…

I know I’ve been MIA, but a lot has been happening! As I mentioned in my last post, I am no longer coaching gymnastics. Back in October right after my shoulder surgery, I felt like that door was closing and another one was opening. I had no idea when or where, but I knew it was time to move on. Over the past three years, I’ve really wanted to pursue a career in teaching Pilates, but with my coaching schedule in the past, that was virtually impossible. But after I quit my job, my husband and I began researching Pilates certifications, and the Lord led me to the most AMAZING place. In January, I began my certification process, and I’m finishing my trainings this weekend! Now, I still have LOTS of teaching hours to get in before I test out to get my full certification in December, but I’m having a blast! Teaching Pilates has allowed me to reconnect with friends that I wasn’t in contact with for years! It’s been so challenging and out of my comfort zone, but this whole process has had Jesus written all over it. For the first time in a long time, I’m starting to feel confident in who He created me to be. And I love having the opportunity to live out my passion of fitness and teaching through becoming a Pilates instructor.

All that being said, I still have my passion for gymnastics. Always have, always will. It will always have a piece of me. And I’m okay with that. But more than that, I have a passion for gymnasts and hopefully helping them walk confidently and successfully through challenges that I’ve faced myself. Not just in gymnastics, but also in life. This confidence isn’t found in yourself or knowing all the answers to the difficulties you’re facing. It’s a confidence that Jesus has your back. NO MATTER WHAT.

I’m writing because Jesus reminded me of this in the most tangible way tonight. Long story short, the past three years have been the most difficult, yet most beautiful years of my life. In the past three years, I’ve struggled with ENORMOUS amounts of anxiety and fear. My family completely fell apart. Everything I grew up with for over 20 years suddenly collapsed. I started realizing the amount of anxiety I had wasn’t just because of the situation my family was in, although it amplified it to the max. I became keenly aware of the anxiety that has plagued me my entire life.

Add to that, I was planning a wedding and about to get married in the midst of all this. My sweet husband… I’m so thankful for his unconditional love and support through that time in my life. He is the most incredible gift God has ever given me. He’s the beautiful part of that story.

And so is Jesus. Now, coming out on the other side of things, I see Jesus’ love through it all. Even though it felt like He up and left me, He never did. He used my pain in that season of my life and made something beautiful out of it. He showed me my anxiety. Not to shame me. Not to hurt me. But to free me. He spoke to me during that time and I remember His words so clearly: “I care more about your freedom than your comfort.” I’m so thankful He was patient with me. In my crying, in my doubting, in my worst days, He was there fighting the battle against anxiety with me. And He still is…

All that to say, I still struggle with anxiety. It’s a billion times better than it was, but it likes to rear it’s ugly head from time to time. And some days that leads to me really struggling to understand God’s love.

You know the song you learned when you were a two-year-old, “Jesus Loves Me”?

Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.

For the past few weeks, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought, “Maybe I just need to sing that song over my life again. Jesus loves me. But that’s so simple. That’s ridiculous…” I honestly kind of laughed at the thought.

I didn’t sing it. It was a fleeting thought. But it came more than once. And I dismissed it every time.

Fast forward to today. Hillsong Young & Free came out with a new album a couple of weeks ago. I really started digging in and listening to it today in my car. And it’s INCREDIBLE. Sean had a work meeting tonight, so I just hopped on my computer and wanted to play some music. I pulled up the album on Spotify and was scrolling through the songs.

#7 – Jesus Loves Me.

Um… What? I looked up the lyrics and lo and behold, it was a modern day version of the classic “Jesus Loves Me.” I felt Jesus smiling at me laughing a little. “Simple and ridiculous, huh, Tyler?”

It’s the simplest things sometimes. He’s the still small voice saying, “I love you.” And tonight, I want to remind you that He loves you, too. In your gymnastics, in your everyday life, He loves you. He’s got your back.

Sometimes we need to go back to the basics…

“Jesus loves me, this I know.”

Confidence vs. Pride

When I was eight years old, I remember my coach telling my mom that some of my teammates were saying that I had been bragging. My eight-year-old heart was devastated. I was so embarrassed. I never wanted to brag about my gymnastics. I never wanted to hurt my teammates feelings.

I remember walking in the gym that day so sad and scared and embarrassed. I was scared my teammates didn’t want me there. I didn’t want to look them in the eye. I was so discouraged.

From that point on, I decided that I wasn’t going to say anything about myself that could hurt my teammates. And in my little brain, that meant not saying anything positive about myself. I thought being humble meant being negative about my gymnastics and myself. When people found out I did gymnastics and asked me if I was good, I could never look them in the eye and say yes with confidence. I was always hesitant. I hated those questions. They made me afraid I was going to hurt someone.

I was afraid to own the fact that I was a good gymnast my entire gymnastics career because of that one moment. And that one moment made me buy into the lie that I had to be negative about myself to keep from being prideful.

I still struggle with this today. Sean, my husband, tells me all the time to stop being so negative about myself. But it’s like second nature to me at this point. Sometimes the words come out of my mouth before I even realize what I’m saying.

I’m really trying to work on this myself because negative words are SO destructive. What you say about yourself is what you eventually start to believe. And when you don’t stop, you just keep digging out your negativity hole. It gets bigger and bigger and soon, you’re stuck in the hole. You look around and all you see are the negative things you’ve spoken about yourself. The positive begins to disappear.

What I’m learning as I get older is there is a very big distinction between being prideful and being confident. Pride is thinking you’re all that. It’s believing you’re better than everyone else. And a lot of times, pride involves vocalizing that belief.

Have you ever been around someone who just talks about how great they are all the time? They talk about all the skills they’re getting, how much stronger they are than everyone else, how they’re skipping a level because they’re just so good. I think we all know someone like that. And that’s pride. Pride isn’t fun to be around. It builds itself up and tears everyone else down.

Confidence builds you up while building other people up in the process. It sees your short comings, but in spite of them says, “You can do this.” Confidence is seeing the negative and throwing the positive in its face. At the 2016 Olympics, Laurie Hernandez was getting ready to compete beam finals, and she was so nervous. But right after she saluted, she told herself, “I got this.” If you watch the video, you can even see her say it to herself. That’s confidence. Right when she started to get nervous and doubt started to creep in, she said to herself, “Nope. I got this.” There was no pride involved. Just confidence in herself. And she won the silver.

Now, let’s think for a second how her beam routine might have ended up if she had let her fear and nerves take over. Sure, she might have done the same beam routine. Maybe even still have gotten the silver. But I personally believe that if she hadn’t set her mind straight, she would have done a beam routine that was shaky and full of nerves and fear. And I think it would have been evident, resulting in lots of wobbles, maybe even a fall. I truly believe that’s the power we have over our mind. And she proved it.

Think about yourself for a minute. Where do you land when you think about your gymnastics? Do you have the tendency to be negative about yourself? Do you tend to talk about how great you are all the time? Or do you look your challenges, mistakes, and fears in the face and say, “I got this”?

Words are powerful. And because your words (or thoughts) can either build you up or destroy you, I want you to take some time to evaluate yourself. Really think about times you’ve been negative, prideful, and confident. Take yourself back to those moments and think about how you could have responded in a way that would have built you or your teammates up instead of tearing all of you down.

You have a choice every day you walk in the gym. You can choose to be negative, you can choose to be prideful, or you can choose to be confident. The choice is yours. So, what will you choose today?