Showing Up Is Everything

So, it was a bit of a rushed morning this morning. I may, or may not have hit the snooze button a couple extra times. Which means the boys slept in a bit later than they usually do. Which also means that getting dressed, eating breakfast, packing lunches, brushing teeth, taking the dog out all had to happen at lightening speed. Not to mention that everybody’s patience levels were at an all time low. Ok maybe just my patience levels. But imagine, if you will, 3 people trying to get in to use the bathroom! Living with two teenage boys is like living in a college dorm room with two roommates. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for me to have a bathroom of my very own at this point.

Anywho, back to the story…

As if we weren’t pressed for time already, it occurred to me as we stepped outside to get into the van that my windshield was covered with that thick, white, cold substance we Canadians usually get around this time of year…my wipers were stuck and I couldn’t see out enough to drive safely. Which means we now had to take even more time to scrap it off from in between my windshield wipers. There was only one problem…I didn’t seem to have an ice scraper in my van. The boys and I searched for it but to no avail. I knew I had one in my previous van but after wrecking that one in an accident last year and being blessed with our new one, it most likely slipped my mind that I needed to buy a new one for this van too. So, we improvised and my oldest started using his shovel from his sand castle set he found in the back of the van to help scrap the ice off the windshield. While I deeply appreciated his work ethic and willingness to help I could tell this would take awhile at this rate, so I called in reinforcements…my dad. He came out and used his ice scraper to set our windshield wipers free and we were off! Finally!

We ended up dropping the kids off right on time…ok maybe on time-ish. The point is we survived. All of this to say, I just wanted to go back home and climb back into bed. However, normally on my days off I drop the kids off at school and then hit the gym right away.I was already dressed for the gym. So now, on my way back from dropping the kids off at school I had a choice to make…turn right to get onto the highway towards the gym or keep going straight and go home. I turned right and went to the gym.

After my time at the gym I was glad that I went but I knew it wasn’t my best work out I’ve ever had. I got some good stuff in there and made progress but overall, I’ve had better work outs. I started to beat myself up over that but then I thought, I showed up! I had the choice to go back to bed or hit the gym and I hit the gym! It might not have been my best work out ever in the history of work outs, but I showed up! I stuck with my routine. I continued in the process. I made progress…even if it was a small amount…I made progress! I didn’t let laziness or procrastination get the best of me! I kicked it’s butt! And that made me feel great!

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Showing up is half the battle.” But I respectfully disagree. I believe that showing up is absolutely everything!! I’ll give you an example.

My boys are both in Army Cadets. They’ve been going for almost a year now and they’ve done very well so far. I knew the moment they signed up that this was going to be good for them. It’s an excellent program with excellent training and life skills the kids can add not only to their resume but also for the rest of their lives.

A few months ago I remember a time when the boys had to push through and “show up” for themselves. We had gotten into an argument one night about the fact that they didn’t want to go to Cadets that particular night. I was pushing them to go and to stick with their commitment. I know how great this program is for them and I didn’t want them to get into the habit of not showing up half the time. To make a long story short, it was a very exhausting argument, but eventually they got dressed, we piled into the van and I dropped them off. When I picked them up they had completely changed their tune compared to before. They had each received badges from passing certain requirements within their rank. The week after that, they both got promoted to “Lance Corporal”. They were both very proud of themselves and I was especially proud of them as well. My oldest noticed me looking all proud and sarcastically said, complete with eye roll, “Don’t even say it mom. I know.” I couldn’t help myself and just quipped back, “See! You wanted to not show up tonight and look what you would have missed! Look what happened because you showed up!”

We don’t always feel like “showing up”. It could be for anything. Our flesh, feelings and emotions are never going to want to do anything productive, healthy or anything remotely related to the right thing. Alot of times it seems easier, in the moment to take it easy, procrastinate, or even convince ourselves that it’s ok, we’re doing the “right thing”. No big deal. But I think it is a very big deal. I’ve seen it in my own life.

There are times I’ve chosen to not go to the gym and I’ve regretted it. There are times when I’ve missed a church service because I’m exhausted and afterwards I’ve wished I’d had gone. Perhaps it would have livened up my spirit and killed my flesh so I wouldn’t have felt so tired. It could be a relationship you’re in that requires you to show up day after day and although things might not be the way you thought, showing up and giving it your absolute best is the absolute best thing you could ever do in the long run.

The thing about showing up is that in order to reap any benefits from it, you have to be there. Regardless of how you feel. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments where rest is necessary and healthy, but let’s not get into the habit of all rest, no work, no effort. If you want to see progress, you have to put in the effort and show up! If you don’t show up, you never know what could have happened or what you missed out on.

Showing up can mean the difference between progressing forward and remaining stagnant.

Jen xo