Facing Anxiety in New Seasons

I wasn’t expecting it, I had been going to therapy, talking through everything I had swirling in my mind and it still punched me in the gut, hard.

Anxiety wasn’t unfamiliar, but unexpected in this new season, especially past the first trimester. I kept my pregnancy completely under wraps through the first trimester, two years ago I could barely keep myself alive so I highly doubted I could keep another human alive.

But the first trimester came and went and everything looked great, but the anxiety never left the scene. Into my 16th week, with all positive doctors reports and I still felt like I was walking on eggshells. Every time I got too hot, the car breaks slammed too hard, or I felt off I would panic. I could think logically, but it never clicked. Most of the time I combatted it with keeping myself busy with anything that I felt would keep me safe.

Why couldn’t I let go? Why couldn’t I just enjoy this season? It was defeating and isolating. BUT I knew freedom was possible despite what the enemy wanted to keep me trapped in.

So everyday I started in quiet instead of letting the days agenda start raging. Digging up all the lies and worry taking up space in my mind, taking those thoughts captive and replacing them with gratitude and hope in the future. Slowly, slowly the narrative is beginning to change. It’s only been 10 days since I started working so specifically on these moments, but every day is a little bit calmer, a little less stressful, and nothing seems quite as overwhelming.

I believe it’s the same for all of us. How often do we truly start the day in complete silence? Phones still away, no one else communicating with you yet, not attempting to conquer a workout, or be inspired by a podcast or new playlist? In today’s culture is it really possible?

Yes, and it’s necessary. AND it’s possible because God is bigger.

Put the phone down, keep the kids (or dogs) in bed for just a few minutes longer, create the boundary around that space. And work intentionally on turning every fear, lie, and overwhelming thought into something glorifying to the Lord.

Because of Him we can have hope in the future. Because of Him we can be free.

It starts with Day 1 and it may never fully feel like it goes away, but just keep pushing friend. We are in this together, and He has got you!

For a Moment I Thought…

Hustling is the cure. But assumptions are often wrong, and so are expectations. When my doctor told me there would be a recovery period of 3-5 days after surgery I took him at his word. Little did I know that 3-5 days was just the beginning, and I allowed it to crush my spirit. After five days when my energy still loomed low and infection had rendered me useless I started to get anxious. I wanted to get back into my normal groove, I was used to being able to machine through and come out on the other side quickly. Shifting expectations and realities can be really challenging, and as I get older I am starting to realize my body won’t bounce back the way it once did.

From Eating Disorders and Anemia, to a schedule that all but nixed rest, I needed a reset. And while I hated the slow rolling of this recovery, it has helped me see my need for slowing down. If it had been three days and I was back to running 10 miles I might have missed it, and the consequences could have been much more severe. However, that doesn’t mean that as I walk in these days 10 weeks later everything is great. It isn’t. My body is still struggling, I am now on B12 shots in a symptom of the Anemia we had tried to treat with Iron alone, my B12 was unable to maintain levels, thus dropping to a critical level. Explaining

You see I am learning more and more about the way that dominoes fall. Most of the time it’s not a one size fits all recovery. There are steps and those steps lead to this or that which leads to more of this or more of that, and if at any moment you don’t listen to your body it might take you down a different set of tracks all together. Life isn’t always fixed easily or conveniently. The Lord loves us enough to give us to allow these circumstances and choices to wave in front of us so that we learn more about our dependence on Him and how He sustains and strengthens us in the valley.

So I am writing this and I don’t feel great, but I know who has given me this day so instead of trying to scramble my way to something better I am going to sit in the fact that the Great Sustainer is giving me exactly what I need and drawing me closer to Himself if I just surrender my desperate desire of control over these circumstances.

A new season is beginning for me this week and the choices I make in the days to come will dictate a lot of how that looks, but for now I am taking the moments a little slower and a little more analytical. The Hustle has it’s place, but there can also be rest in hard work and the slowing down.

Choose wisely friends!

Jordan

Playing with Passions and Remembering the Reason

I like to run… if you are reading this you most likely know that already.

After my competitive swimming career was over in 2012 and I had recovered from 13 years of my body being subject to incredibly intense training, I missed the competition, I missed the goals, I missed seeing how far my body could go. But I wanted to live my life on purpose no matter what I chose as my sport or physical activity of choice.

During college cross-training had involved a good bit of a running, I could naturally hold my own so I thought I would give running a shot. It started with running ONE mile around the front of my parents neighborhood – it’s a convenient one mile loop – and then TWO miles around the bottom loop at Little Mulberry Park, just a few miles from where my parents live. It felt good, I was running farther and faster, so I signed up for a 5K. It was a disaster. To this day, it still haunts me. That was in November of 2012. It would be a full eight months later before I would try my hand at an actual race. The Peachtree Road Race in 2013 was that moment and while it was grueling, rainy, and exhausting it sparked something new in me. Half Marathon #1 was then placed on the calendar. At this point it wasn’t so much a passion as it was a physical outlet for work days.

Thanksgiving Day of 2013 was long, painful, and really really cold. My first half marathon ever was a crisp 18 degrees, and that 13.1 was happening after recovering from knee pain due to lack of stretching and appropriate recovery. Thankfully, I finished and then hopped on a plane two hours later for a three and a half hour flight to Denver. That is never a good game plan. Yes, my dad half carried me through airport and down the sidewalks of this new and short adventure.

I loved the feeling of finishing, but I needed a do-over. You might not love the first races you ever do, you might think it’s not worth it, you might think you’ll come to love it. And maybe that’s true, but I challenge you to give it one more shot. So I signed up for the Nike Women’s Half in DC slated for April 2014. After spending several weeks fully recovering I hopped back into running slow and steady.

Mom took me up to DC and we explored the city where her and my dad fell in love and explored the way Nike took over and made it an unforgettable experience (it’s also where I found Nuun Hydration). I toed the line against the backdrop of the sun rising above the Capitol and off we went. Words don’t fully embody and describe what happened to me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually during those two hours. It wasn’t any faster than Thanksgiving, but it was completely different in the best way. Something clicked.

I say spiritually and it could raise eyebrows, but here’s what I mean: I have always loved the athletic industry, but as I named our athletic association “the devils playground”, it’s a dark world that can leave you dry and stale when your complete identity is wrapped up in the sport you do and the publicity and acknowledgment you get. The Lord sparked something in my mind that made me wonder how I could enter in to that space and help change that perspective. That we are far more valuable and purposeful than an athletic endeavor.

Unfortunately, the road was more winding and roller coaster-esque than I would have preferred. I am rather shy at first and can be independent to a fault and that caused issues as I tried to get more involved in the running community, but still maintaining the one-man show bit. There had to be more.

My times got faster which helped build confidence, and after I moved back to the city and Jon and I got married with community around us I had very little reason to not show up for the community and start building those relationships that the Lord was pressing me to step into. I started showing up for a group run, but at this time running became more of an obsession. I was taking it too far and still trying to figure it out on my own. Enter over-exercise, disordered eating and everything spiraled be down to the pit.

Passions aren’t meant to be paramount. Jesus is our purpose, and the passions are that which we are used to point to him. I lost that in this season, and it took so many months and even years to work through mud and create, what I hope to be, a beautiful story that shines light into darkness.

Enter book right, during this season of recovery and refocusing my passion and purpose it brought lies and darkness that I didn’t even realize was there due to events that had occurred many years ago. In every way this season has been incredibly hard, but it’s also been incredibly restorative and refreshing to weed out some of the yuck and let the Lord start to light it up and give it beauty. And now I sit here smoothing out some of the final edits in my first book centered around all of this and I am so excited to share it with you in the coming months.

Let your passion shine His light, and remember where your focus should truly lie. Identity’s don’t come from earthly things, they come from your Creator.

For now friends,

Jordan

On How Fueling During Conference Week Changed the Game of Trust.

Before we dive in let me disclaim that this is currently being written on the morning after conference, my head is throbbing from dehydration and there is a current reality of standing forever (slight exaggeration) because my hip is so inflamed, but there is something really beautiful inside some of my thoughts swirling around that I believe God wants to use.

There are some moments that thrust into trusting when we have absolutely no control and it’s in those moments that are shaping 2019 as we speak. The past two conferences have been incredibly different: in 2017 I had the ability to cut off my hunger as my body continued to lose weight, and in 2018 my body was fighting to restore itself and so eating whatever I want made those days easier. Here we sit in 2019 and the my body has reached a state of healthy, not underweight and not overweight, but my head still longs to play the head games, the enemy nipping to get some leverage into how, when, and what the four/five days in conference mode will be fueled by and with. So walking into Monday fear… the anxiety was deafening as grabbed breakfast and headed towards the arena, but this day, on that drive I still had a very real grip on the control I loved. I could still see the outline of the day and could grip onto the control of food until God turned the day on its head, and boldly proclaimed “no, we are going to learn a real lesson in trust”.

Monday was bad when it came to my mental state and my relationship food, like I could not have possibly ended 2018 on a worse note and Jon could vouch for that, the enemy loved it, and early afternoon tomorrow I somehow had to shape up.

Me, in my own strength; I was putting the pressure, the anxiety, the burden of my mental health on my own shoulders and just trying to figure it out. I didn’t think God wanted to fool with me when He was about to do something so much bigger in tens of thousands of 18-25 year olds across the world.

Tuesday morning I woke up still weary from what had gone down around midnight and stepped outside to a mostly Sunny and comfortable morning on New Years, I had a choice to make and it wasn’t in my own strength at that moment that the story could shift so I threw on shorts and a t-shirt, grabbed my headphones and jogged out the door to the only thing that could shift everything – worship. So what started out as a morning where I attempted to fight for control, slowly began to shift as I let the words of praise and trust flow out of my mouth down the road. At 10 Jon and I headed for brunch at True Food Kitchen for their New Years brunch specials and then the games began. Towards the end of our meal the message rang out that something was needed at the venue Jon and I were serving at that was at the other Atlanta venue, we weren’t far away so we hopped down there grabbed what was needed, and the rest of the week would never be the same.

Our timelines are never accurate. Even in our most surrendered days we cannot see what’s coming next, not exactly. So my schedule and my food control started to slip away as we went further and further into Tuesday, dropped the girls at doggy camp, checked into our hotel and then skipped over to the venue to finish set up. I never know the menus, the snacks, or have the ability to plan out snacks to bring because you never know where you’ll be or when you’ll be there. So in those few intimate moments of Tuesday where I was scribbling thoughts and prayers for the year ahead, there was the fact that in order to get through this week without getting so into my head that I lost vision or started binging I was going to have to let go.

Wednesday through Friday are a blur, there are moments that stand out, like getting to watch my friends lead in worship so humbly and passionately, Matt Chandler bringing a life changing truth about bringing the hard, the hurts, and the history to light so that God can start molding it into something new, and watching my team work at 150% despite how they felt and in surrender of how God would carry them through. Some fun facts that you might already know just from thumbing through any social media: Passion 2019 Album released THURSDAY! The 40,000 students gathered across the country raised almost $450K for the Deaf Bible Society. And the End it Movement comes on the sunrise of the Super Bowl hosted in Atlanta this year so that we can raise a voice during one of the most sex trafficked weekend of the year.

However, there is one intro video that hits me right where I am, or was. During this series of intro videos before each session they peaked into different hurts that we give control: assault, addiction, and eating disorders. These videos close with “I know there is more for me…” but that more can feel like a mountain you can never summit, but that video on eating disorders and the fiery word of Christine Caine forced me and anyone in those arenas with a story similar to mine to look at Jesus and our circumstance with a different perspective.

It shifted something in me as I thought about these days and how throughout constant shifts and the complete inability to control my food it brought so much freedom and He, and Him alone sustained me and allowed me to leave these days feeling better than I had in quite some time. Yes, I was tired and sore and depleted, but I also felt refreshed in a deeper way physically and mentally, because these days forced complete control. It was scary and it was supernatural. The force of surrender was 100% necessary and freeing, and there was a confidence that overwhelmed my soul as we trekked through the days feeling exhausted, but strong and free. Maybe you don’t have to get all the way to a force of control point, but maybe you do and my friend no matter – IT IS WORTH IT. Just let Him work in and through you. See what happens.

The days since then have been way more hands off, the control still comes in waves, but the confidence of the Provider has lowered my stress level in exponential ways. Now, here I sit a week later and feeling energized and fueled, and ready for whatever! As we are also on our Whole30 journey it’s been fun to feel a freedom to explore in ways I have yet to feel in this point of recovery. One such example is this quick and haphazardly delicious recipe.

On Sunday, I was meal prepping and it had taken a little longer than I had intended so with that came my last meal which was lunch and a ‘very quickly throw it together and be done’ mentality, but this one actually worked out so here you go:

Morning-Mole Salad

1 : Hard-boiled egg

1-2 slices : cooked bacon of your choice

1/4 cup : guacamole – I make a simple version myself (1 medium avocado, 2 tbsp diced onions + tomatoes, 1 tsp lemon juice, dash of salt and pepper – whip it together)

1/4 cup : diced green peppers

1/4 cup: pumpkin seed, dried cranberry (NS added) mix

1 Tbsp : lemon juice

 

So here you go 2019 – you are off to a great start and I am fully believing FOR YOU that the best is yet to come.

Jordan

 

 

 

2018 Best Nine

Instagram blows up more than normal this time of year between holiday pictures and what has popped up in recent years as the “Best Nine”. In short it’s a processor that gathers your nine most engaged with posts and turns them into a collage. So I thought we could do a blog post on the Best Nine of 2018 through words instead of pictures.

9. Books on books – From Leaders Eat Last to Creativity, Inc. to Girl Wash Your Face there were some incredible and powerful books I got to dive into this year. Next Year the stakes get higher with even more books on the agenda, here are links to just a few:

Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek

Creativity Inc – Ed Catmull

Girl Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis

Come Matter Here – Hannah Brencher

8. Kyle Pease Foundation

On Labor Day this year I had the opportunity to push-assist for the Kyle Pease Foundation at the Big Peach Sizzler 10K alongside an old friend of mine, Tori. This was truly one of the best memories and opportunities of the year that taught me so much about the power behind the sport of running and the community that surrounds it.

7. Peachtree Road Race PR

This was one of my biggest racing surprises of the year, just barely missing the 40 minute barrier at the AJC Peachtree Road Race on the Fourth of July. While other goals this year were missed this one was absolutely a defining racing moment for me!

6. Kali-girl

Just days after Passion Conference 2018 we headed to the shelter to gain a new family member. Originally named Patricia, Kali has taught me SO much especially in the moments I wanted to send her back (which would actually never have happened, but these were trying times), but shes one of the biggest blessings to us.

5. First Time Homeowners

With the addition of our newest four-legged girl we were a little cramped in our apartment so it was time to explore other options. After about six months of searching and looking at our priorities and must-haves we found this cute 3/1.5 1950’s home inside the Atlanta perimeter with a fenced in backyard for the dogs. While there are some updates we cannot wait to tackle, we are loving our little piece of the city and so are our girls.

4. November Project Atlanta

At the end of March Facebook notified me of an event a friend of mine was attending on Wednesday morning at 6:27a on the Beltline that was a free workout, so I thought why on Earth not? So now, 9 months later it has become a staple in my routine and in my community. It’s free fitness, with the most consistent and encouraging community you could ask for. In 49 cities across the WORLD you should really check it out here.

3. Thailand

In 2015 Jon was the student Worship Leader for a church outside the city so during their annual spring break mission trip we had the opportunity to serve both the people of the Dominican Republic and the students of this church in varying ways although we were not married at this time. In 2016, I had the opportunity to head to Uganda with my families church to serve, and while I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything it was hard without Jon. So at the beginning of this year when one of my friends mentioned serving in Thailand I knew it was a knees down in prayer type situation because it was both Jon and I or neither of us. The Lord opened every door to get to serve inside this amazing country. It was trans formative to say the least and we cannot wait for the next opportunity to serve together.

2. Finishing my first book

Yep, you are reading that right! Just a few weeks ago I put the final period on the first book that I have finished. Right now it’s being reviewed and edited by a team close to me and I am so excited to share the finished product with you all sometime in the next several months – stay tuned!

Number 1: God’s sovereignty over my health and regaining it back!

It is no secret at this point that my health has been on a roller coaster for the last two years, and this year was a fight to get back to a healthy state, and I’m so thankful to say that the Lord has been working even when it’s so much slower (and harder) than I would like. There is no doubt in the work he has done in my body, mind and soul during this year when it comes to my mental and physical health, and I believe this is just the first step in the next season of how He is going to move. Nothing is too big for Him, it just takes a complete surrender.

So yeah, what a year! Thank you Lord for everything you have done and what you are continuing to do through our lives and the city and community around us. Passion 2019 is this week and we are so excited. See you next year

Happy New Year Everyone!

Jordan

Today I Feel Insignificant…

At 5:40 am like clockwork my feet hit the floor after one round of snooze, my watch goes on, my hair gets pulled back with no less than four bobby pins in place, I throw on my shorts and tank, grab my pre-run apple and head towards the track. Except not today. Today there was silence; the lies of yesterday hitting both mentally and physically.

Insignificance and shame you can leave.

It’s funny how one theme can be woven into so many facets of your week. From intimate conversations with friends, to suicide awareness panels, to speaking to a room full of middle and high school girls, to LG knocking one out of the park on Sunday SHAME has been that theme.

The combination of sadness and frustration strikes a chord every time. The burden heavy, the wrestling match that can never be won. But why? Why this week, why when the opportunities are beautiful, things are settling, and God is tangibly on the move are shame & insignificance rearing their ugly heads? Because it’s where I’ve sat, unknowingly.

As the pounds came back on, the mental anguish started to subside, and light started to shine into the dark spaces shame kept a stake in the ground. Still having the tendency to fight alone, the biggest trap I fell into was feeling like a burden to my family and those close to me. Jon had enough on his plate why bother him with more, my friends won’t bother to have me around anymore because I have too much “stuff”. Sound familiar?

In a season where things are in a constant state of flux, my running has been somewhat sidelined forcing me to give up Chicago this Sunday, and my Elite debut next Sunday; writer’s block has held me captive as I choke out words just trying to keep creativity onto a page, the career aim never seems to be quite clear, and things overall feel foggy as I navigate the day to day, it can be hard to silence the lies.

And all the enemy wants me or any of us to do is sit in this place.

But it’s a lie. It’s all a lie. If the enemy is trying to attack you in this place (as my husband gently reminded me) it means YOU ARE ANYTHING BUT INSIGNIFICANT. In fact it’s quite the opposite, you are incredibly valuable for the plans and purposes of God, and he’s already carried all the burden for you so you are NOT a burden to anyone.

In the words of Hillsong:

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am

So maybe you don’t know exactly what the future holds (but I mean does anyone), but you can stand on that promise above. You are significant. Want a practical way of stepping into this is gratitude, oh yes it’s that cliche, but I love what Rachel Hollis and The Chic Site are doing for the last 90 days of the year. One of their Five to Thrive methods is writing a list of 10 unique things (no blanket statements) to be grateful for each day. What a start?!

Today, I’m grateful for a journey that has allowed and pushed me towards bringing the hard things to light, and those that have followed it along the way.

For now friends,

Jordan