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

Covers, Creating, and Cold Weather

Atlanta is doing my favorite thing where it’s warm when it should be cold, and cold when it should be getting warmer. So now that it’s 20-something or other I have a smaller desire to venture outside. The added bonus is that I am also suffering from the injury bug so running post #RoadtoGold has been greatly reduced. All that being said I guess it’s time to start filling you in on some details from the past several weeks.

First off, if you saw my announcement several weeks ago, I am on the final steps towards releasing my first BOOK! I have had an incredible team editing, reading, and adding insight into this work, and I am so excited to share it with you all. Want a little preview? For the first time ever, I am releasing the cover!

Pardon the Mess

So, what do you think?

This work has a set up with my personal story through the wrecking, and moves towards how God has redeemed so much of the lies and hurts and molded the mess into something beautiful! But it’s not just my story, it’s our story. As we venture together through each page, there are check points and questions that allow you to dig through the mud and plant something that is going to bloom, grow, and give glory to God.

I cannot wait to release this to you all and see how you do beautiful things through it.

For now, the blog posts will stay short as I continue to put some final touches around this, but I am so excited for what’s next (and yes book #2 is already being outlined).

Have any questions or comments? Email jordan@fuelingherforward.com

We will talk more soon!

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

 

 

 

The Art of Recovery

*trigger warning*

Yesterday was not one of my finer days, it was actually incredibly messy, but it taught me in so many ways. On typical Sundays Jon plays at least during our morning gatherings at church so the importance of riding to church together means getting up several hours before the sun and making our way down to 515 Garson Drive to sound check. On these days I stash my laptop in my backpack to knock out some work during the two hours before breakfast. Sundays are my recovery days, very rarely (with the exceptions of races that fall on Sundays) do you catch me pounding the pavement, however my days are still relatively active. Yesterday was no different and the morning started out as such.

Let me preface this play by play by saying I’ve been on medicine recently that has made me feel out of sorts in every single way so that was just an added bonus.

Sunday. We rolled up around 615am and per usual I headed toward the kitchen to grab my coffee in one hand and water bottle in the other. Except I got stopped up, because normally you groggily open the door that early in the morning to white counter-tops at the bar and only the Keurigs awake and ready to greet you, but today was different. The brilliant white had massive glass jars on them and the contents of these jars had one of my biggest food loves on this planet: caramel popcorn. So while I try to not eat before our breakfast together on Sundays, I used the scoop to indulge my palate with a few pieces of this sugary popped goodness. It’s recovery day, so why not, and when 830am rolled around I headed towards the Green Room to meet up with Jon before he hit the stage for the day.

The breakfast spread stays relatively routine in this space on Sundays, so I grab my bowl and my packet of Cinnamon Spice Oatmeal, add water, pop it in the microwave then grab my boiled egg and apple. Simple breakfast that satisfies many of the food groups and gives me fuel for the morning. After the first gathering ends, you can find me serving alongside our women’s ministry team sorting donated clothes that we turnaround for a ladies event at the beginning of the year. The band starts playing for gathering number two and I hit the kitchen for lunch. I grab a turkey and veggie half sub (that I turned into a salad) with fruit and some of that popcorn that was still standing stout and chatted with one of my friends while we ate. Things are smooth sailings it seems. However, this is when the rails start to come off and the spiral branches around for the first time. I got caught in a conversation with one of my friends and started popping the chips on the counter left and right. SALT. I headed back for another round of popcorn, two and a half more rounds to be exact. SALT & SUGAR. The cookies looked good so I had one of those also. My mind starts spinning in ugly ways.

As the gathering started to wrap up I slipped back into the green room to wait for Jon so we could head home to let the dogs out before having to be back to play for the 5pm gathering. The mini brownies looked enticing so I had a few. I wasn’t hungry, my body was telling me to hold off, but I wasn’t listening. The combination of my craving of sugar and salt with the anxiety that was starting to grip my mind was a huge gust of resistance.

After the trip home to let the dogs out, give them a bath, and clean their towels (we have an extra dog with us right now – so three dogs grows dirt at an infinite rate so you find time where you can) we headed back to the church, I had started to beat myself up while knowing it wasn’t the end of the world. The anxiety was just too high so I sat down with one of my friends to grab the quinoa salad, pita with tzatiki, and a chicken skewer with roasted veggies. And to that you might say “but that’s healthy”. Correct. The two jumbo cookies that happened after that – not so much. At this point I’m getting jittery and my body is screaming at me, my mind is a jumbled mess and I’m downing water like I just ran a full marathon to try to hush the pandemic that is happening inside my body.

Cue the after party. I thought we could escape it, I really did. Our church is so wonderful to do seasonal after party’s after our last gathering on Sundays so this one was themed fall which in turn required every pumpkin spice pastry to be present. I thought I was strong enough, but I had been fighting this war inside my mind and body all day ALONE, when I should have realized it was just TOO much. So more caramel popcorn, pumpkin spice coated pretzels, and two Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

The spiral was and is devastating even as I sit here typing the next day, water bottle in hand to flush the toxins out, because the progress is a beautiful story. I am in a healthy weight range, and even with this medicine causing some side effects there had been balance. Crushed, Disappointed. Isolated. So then God and I usually have some form of communication at this point – and this time it was that of defeat and the question of why?

So what’s the point of writing all of this out? Because through the mental anguish, being sick to my stomach for the past 12 hours, and the feeling of absolute failure I’m learning so much. He’s faithful to do it, always faithful. My excessively independent personality still needs help, and I have to be reminded that I have to ask for that help BEFORE I crash. I’m learning that recovery is not a poof moment. I thought when I got to my goal weight that things would just magically even out and we would move on, that hasn’t been the case and I’m thankful for those that are consistently moving through the steps whether backwards, forwards or twirling around. I’m also always reminded that my body doesn’t do well with gluten, that ones for free ya’ll.

Most importantly though, through the last 24-36 hours I’m learning that brokenness and struggles aren’t the enemy, it’s giving into the lies of handling them in an unhealthy state that is. The enemy wants to isolate, scheme, and do anything he can to derail you. So while he was able to gain a small victory over my mind yesterday (and admitting that is scary and hard), the confidence that he absolutely WILL NOT win the war is just that much stronger.

Let a hard day be fuel in your fire to move towards better, towards healthy, towards Jesus.

Always here to talk!

Jordan

 

Trusting and Taking Care of Your Body In the Midst of Messy

Can you say stretched? Stretched into tears, stretched into more. The more is challenging, but the more is beautiful.

Saturday night was plain hard. Lying on my bed staring at the ceiling wondering “why?”. Why was the physical pain mounting as if the mental recovery and training wasn’t enough? After my box jumping injury from a few weeks ago and a strained tendon in my good leg, the resistance band to the eye was my breaking point.

Defeat. Lies. Pain.

It was a season of anything but stepping into the beauty He created me for, despite the work He still did. The good news: Autumn is here, and my top prayer is for a refresh. Refreshing in mind, spirit, and body, and confidence in my Savior and Creator. And He’s already on the move!

Our bodies are incredible, seriously think about all the intricate details that make up YOU, and how every single day they keep pumping, keep moving forward, make adjustments, heal, jump, celebrate, mourn, it’s a wonder. Our minds are that much more; the potential they hold that we most likely will never tap into is at our fingertips. However, whether you believe it or not, it’s there, and what if we all made the choice to reach towards our potential? We stopped focusing on what other people are doing and how they are succeeding or failing, and focused on how we can make this world better and more like Him, what if? But as someone who is coming out of a season messy, trusting that beauty lies ahead and putting mental pain and the grip of eating disorders at the feet of Jesus seems overwhelming. So it starts with trust.

Practically, in this season, it means giving my body the boost it needs and learning to trust it again, more importantly trusting God that He made me exactly the way He wanted me. It sounds a little daunting when the waters seem to rise, but like I mentioned above our bodies are a phenomenon, because our bodies were designed by the maker of EVERYTHING. So maybe we can jump into the more, trusting that He’s got us and has created us for remarkable things if we just put a few things disciplines in place to usher us forward.

Who doesn’t love a list? Here are a few things on taking this next step into the new season:

  1. Listen. During my season of Orthorexia and Excessive Exercise I stopped listening to my body even though it told me what it needed and when it needed nutrients. Our bodies were designed to ebb and flow in different rhythms, and like they alert us when we are sick, they alert us when something in our nutrition is off. Don’t ignore it. If you need carbs eat carbs; if you are full, but there is still good food around walk to another room or grab a water bottle. (More in depth blog post on this later).
  2. Cook. As the cold weather and holidays approach food becomes an increasingly hot topic of conversation, and whether it’s eating out every night or hitting the tailgates with all-you-can-eat chili and wings every Saturday you have to make time to get your body the correct nutrients. Sometimes that means saying “no” to yet another outing or offering to cook for friends at your place. We will all have “those” weeks, and if you feel like you just cannot make it work, make sure to have a supplement on hand especially as the Flu starts to rear it’s ugly head. Don’t find yourself depleted before the festivities even start.
  3. Drink Water. Hello my name is guilty. As the temperatures drop I find it even harder to get the water my body needs. In the Last 90 days Challenge with Rachel and Dave Hollis they challenge you to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. This is a great rule of thumb. The warm drinks are great, but only when water coexists with them!
  4. Go Outside. As much as I really despise the cold there is no doubting the beauty that can be found as the seasons turn and people hang decorations, or corn mazes make their debuts or Christmas Tree Farms start popping up. Never stop exploring and standing in awe of what’s in your own neighborhood.
  5. Dress Up. I know I know I love yoga and sweat pants too, but sometimes that only hinders activity and taking care of yourself. It’s a lot easier to grab the cookies out of pantry and stick close to home when you are comfy in sweats, coffee in hand, and Hallmark movies playing in the background. Give yourself a fighting chance. Put yourself together even if it’s just to run to the store, or get your nails done. Plan a hike with friends. Meet up at the local coffee shop with your girls. Get ready and go out.
  6. Gratitude First. In the post “Today I Feel Insignificant…” gratitude is a major theme, and it’s worth reiterating. 10 different things every day. Write them down. Don’t forget.
    • Number #1 for me yesterday: getting a love of Marvel from my dad so that our Monday mornings can start by catching up on the latest buzz. Not many people get the kind of relationship with their dads so taking it for granted is something I avidly try to avoid.

Maybe you don’t love or even agree with everything on this list, but even if there is just ONE thing on this list you can implement this season it will be a step. A step into beauty and potential.

Thank you for always reading!
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