Good is a good word to use to describe a myriad of things. Good can be the taste of a pizza or a burger we thoroughly enjoy, good can be the outcome of a successful first date, good can be a measurement of the satisfaction of a customer on a survey, good can be a passing score of a test. Good can be a lot of things taken in a lot of ways.
I think a big mistake we have made in the English language is downplaying the significance and power behind certain words. Love is a prime example. We say love really to convey any sense of affection or positive reaction to something. “I love that shade of red on you,” “I love tacos,” “I love my car.” We love our families, our friends, our dogs, our vehicles. We love our valuables, we love our hobbies. We love a lot of things. Love is good. But that term love can often be overused, misused, and taken out of context. To tell someone I love you used to be a very big deal. A significant step in a romantic relationship or a serious way of expressing sentimental emotion. Now, many throw it around rather whimsically. When I say I love you to my parents or my closest friends or my dogs, I mean it in a deeply connected, unconditional way. When I say it about Eric I mean it in a very intentional, romantic, affectionate, and passionate way. It’s not just I care about you, or I like you, or I enjoy you. It’s a “you are a significant piece of my life and part of who I am.” Not an I need you but definitely an I want you. I used to find it weird when people waited months and months to say I love you, or only said it to their immediate family/ closest of friends. But now I understand. I love a lot of things, but I now understand the magnitude of what love truly is.
The word good has fallen victim to the same crime. Unfortunately good is now barely above satisfactory on some scales. Good is basically just ok. But good is so much more than that. In Genesis 1 God describes His creation as good, then as very good. He’s not simply saying the earth and skies and oceans and animals and all of His masterpiece is decent, He is saying it is magnificent. It is wonderful. It leaves you speechless. Good doesn’t happen overnight. Good takes care. Good requires love. Good requires patience. Good takes time.
I have been dealt a pretty good hand in life. God has been good to me. He has been gracious and kind to me. I have faced some struggles, some challenges, some obstacles, but they have shaped me. They have made me who I am.
God took seven days to create the world. We don’t actually know how long those seven days were but why didn’t He just throw it altogether at once? Why didn’t He just wave His hands and manifest everything off a whim? Because good things take time.
Patience has never been my strong suit. Like ever. I’m very high speed, low drag; just do it; full send; and act now, think later. Many times in my life I have had an idea or an aspiration and just as instantly as I thought it up, I devised a plan to achieve it. In many ways it has worked out. I’ve gotten to do some pretty awesome things in 23 years on this Earth. But in the process, I have had to learn a lot of things the hard way. I have had to retrace a lot of steps. I have had to try to navigate my way back to the path. I try not to be one to complain. I really try to see with eyes and feel with a heart of gratitude. I try to justify my struggles and really see them as gifts for who they have made me. And I know I’m not alone in this. People see much of my life as portrayed via social media or even just the way I carry myself through life. I try to be a light. I try to bring love and hope and joy to others lives. But I struggle too.
This past weekend I went down to Miami for the Wodapalooza, a massive CrossFit festival and qualifying event for the CrossFit Games. I have always wanted to go and had we not been at sea I would have tried to qualify to compete. But the days leading up, I was so fearful to go. I was so worried about not being good enough. Not being fit enough. Not being enough to attend this event. I knew there would be thousands of the fittest people on earth flocking to Miami and I wouldn’t fit in.
For the last three years that’s the voice I repeatedly have heard in my head. You’re not good enough. You will never be good enough. You’ll never be good enough to compete on the elite stage again, you’ll never be good enough to be loved again, you’ll never be enough. For three years I invested in toxic, unhealthy relationships truly believing that was all I deserved. For three years I allowed bulimia and binge eating to consume my athletic career, my social life, and my self esteem. For three years I gave up on myself and my athletic career after sponsors left me for putting my faith first, after followers would send me hateful messages for trying to spread love and light in a competitive and dark world, after my coaches told me that I would never make it as an athlete without them. For three years I allowed guys to make me feel that the way my body looked was the only thing I had to offer; I believed that my purpose was to build up others but that I didn’t deserve to be built up.
Whether you have known me for a long time or not, you may have never noticed these things from the outside looking in. It’s been a process. An uphill battle I have fought everyday since 2015. Every time I had thought some ground had been made, it seemed like things would then fall exponentially worse. In 2017 I made some drastic life decisions. Some of the best of my life really. I grew so much as a person, as an athlete, as an adult. I saw the world, I re-emerged on the fitness scene, and I thought I had overcome some of those struggles. Unfortunately pride comes before the fall, without fail. After putting both my CrossFit career and a very toxic, abusive relationship on a pedestal, my world came crashing down again. That summer, I developed severe anxiety and my eating disorder resurfaced, worse than ever before. I used traveling as an escape. As a drug to get away. I met another charming man with an endearing accent who made me feel special for a little while. It was like a bandaid to the abuse I had recently suffered. But not long after, that turned equally as sour. When 2017 came to an end, I was 20 pounds heavier, not doing CrossFit, was battling a devastating knee injury, had severe anxiety, the eating disorders were out of hand, was working a job I hated and barely scraping by, and had become someone I didn’t recognize. But when I was faithless, God was faithful. God is always good. And God knows good things take time. I wanted my troubles to go away instantly, but He knew it would take time. And care. And intention.
Throughout 2018, there was a lot of pain. There were a lot of painful goodbyes. There were a lot of tough pills to swallow. I saw just how terrible people can be. I got to visit beautiful places. I got to see incredible things. I spent 9 months at sea on a war ship. I enrolled in seminary. I dropped out of seminary. I messed up. I failed. I won. I learned. I traveled. I loved. I lost. I grew. A lot.
Three months ago, everything that had been weighing me down for over three years came to a head. I knew I had two options. To keep the merry go round I had been riding going, keep feeling the extreme highs and lows, keep reliving the same patterns and life lessons, or make some serious changes and face the music. Every one had something to say about how I should live my life. Everyone had a piece of advice. Everyone knew what was best for Jessy, except Jessy. And I needed to lose everything. I needed to walk away from everything. I had to lose to gain. I had to see that I am good enough. Not because a coach says so, or a teacher, or a mentor, or a guy. But because God says so. Because I say so.
As sappy, cliche, and overrated as this sounds, because of Eric, I finally saw I was good enough. I hurt him a lot in that process and I hated myself for that. But when I met Eric I finally saw what good is. I hadn’t met a good guy since I was 18. And I thought I would never have a good guy again. But when I met Eric, I knew he was good. And I knew God sent him to me. I loved him before I knew him. And he was so so good to me. I wanted so badly to love him, to be the woman he thought I was. But as much as I loved him, I didn’t love myself. I hadn’t in over three years. And once again, I fell into the trap. I listened to the voices inside my head telling me I wasn’t enough. I listened to the voices telling me I would never be enough. I listened to the voices telling me I didn’t deserve that kind of love. But somehow by the grace of God the real love of a good man saved me.
God showed me through this person that good things take time. They take care. They take energy and intention. I don’t like to wait for things but God made me wait and Eric made me wait, and I am so thankful for that. Because of that I know what love is in ways I never have before. I know what trust means and what goodness looks like, I’ve experienced grace and unconditional, selfless love.
I read a lot of books the last few weeks of being underway. I wanted to be better. Not perfect, but better than yesterday everyday. I read Ben Burgeon’s Chasing Excellence and it changed my entire mindset. Maybe I didn’t have to let anxiety and fear control me, maybe I didn’t have to live in the grips of an eating disorder, maybe I wouldn’t be the athlete I was before – I could be better, and maybe, just maybe I deserved to love and be loved.
Sometimes what you see on the outside has a lot more to it on the inside. That fear I had of not being enough for Wodapalooza went away almost instantly. It was one of the funnest weekends of my life. I had no fears, or insecurities. I had so much fun and enjoyed being there the entire time. I felt like I belonged there. And that proves that taking time to invest in yourself matters. It took time to develop good eating habits, a good internal dialogue, and a good mental frame of mind. It took time to get back on a training program, it took time to be honest with myself. It took years and years to finally open up to God and to Chaps and eventually to Eric about everything. It took three years to admit all of what had been holding me back. It took three years to develop a healthy relationship with food, a healthy outlook towards my body, and a positive view of myself. It took five years to meet a truly good guy, it took five years to write a book, it took five years to build a body that does awesome things. It look twenty years to give my life fully to the Lord, and it took twenty three years to find some kind of actual balance in life. Every day is a new journey, a new adventure, an intentional process. Life is an amazing, continuous opportunity to improve in some way everyday.
It’s taken time and intention to build a consistent routine, it’s taken time to build a career that I love, it’s taken time to cultivate meaningful relationships with real friends, it’s taken time to build a body that moves with power and purpose, it’s taken time to build a solid relationship with a man that I love and want to create a life with, it’s taken time to trust Gods promises, and it’s taken a lot of time to love myself. But All good things take time. They take time and care and consistency and energy and love and effort.
I am so excited to see where God takes me in my career, in CrossFit and running and weightlifting and OCR, in ministry, in my relationship with Eric, and in life in general. I’m excited to see where he takes you too! Just remember friends, all good thing takes time. Don’t settle for less because God has the best for you.