I have a tattoo on my wrist that was created to be a daily reminder for me. On my left wrist, written in my own script, are etched the words “Make War”. I am rarely transparent about what this means to me, not because I want to hide anything, but because it is not an easy subject and few will grasp the concept.
The words were inspired by a sermon from John Piper in which he speaks of learning to be strongly against feelings of apathy – apathy towards our own personal damaging thoughts & impulses, whatever they may be.
To me, the thoughts and impulses I have experienced are often dark and scary in nature. Since I was a teenager, I’ve battled suicidal thoughts & ideations. It comes and goes and is out of my control. But my response is in my control. In addition to medication and taking care of my mind and body, I learned early on in adulthood that extreme self discipline, consistent prayer, purpose, and a commitment to clawing my way back to the surface daily will always be necessary for me to stay alive. I learned I must make war.
To me, making war on myself looks like silencing everything inside me that wants me to fail. It’s reminding myself there’s a reason I’m here. It’s getting up and chasing down life even though I want to stay in bed and everything hurts. It’s showing up for my kids and being present, despite feeling like a phony or a failure. It’s putting on clothes and interacting with the world instead of choosing to dwell in a dark void of hopelessness. It is letting go of shame from my past and embracing it as a tool for the future. It’s focusing on everyone else around me and how I can be of service to them instead of placing my own desires and feelings first. Its fighting for a better world for all the children in my life instead of thinking what’s the point. It’s going for a run and feeling grateful for the gift of the experience instead of sulking in pain. Its committing to hard things and difficult goals because comfort is not the goal of this life. This is my war.
Cruel Jewel 100 is just a [ridiculously challenging] mountain race. And in the greater picture, it’s absolutely trivial. I know this. But with the right approach, the race and the preparation for it can be used as another tool to keep the mind and the spirit sharp. We build self discipline by consistently choosing to do things that are hard for us, yet good for us. We sacrifice appealing things like comfort and desire for the far superior gains of strength, growth, and wisdom. Once again, training for CJ this year, that is what I intend to do….
Training This Week
This week was unexpectedly tough and exhausting in several ways, but I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent exercising and challenging myself.
I forced an overnight girls trip to North Caroline with one of my best friends on Thursday. We both needed a quick getaway. We hike/jogged a fun route, but it ended up being more stress than stress relief thanks to a quick shift in the weather. We were pelted with sleet and very high wind the entire outing, making the adventure less than favorable. I took advantage of this as an opportunity to practice mindset work, which is always needed. So despite being terribly cold and uncomfortable, we still laughed a lot. Partly because why not, and mostly because given the chance, I’ll find humor in anything.
Otherwise the week was pretty uneventful running wise. Last month I started reintroducing calisthenics, lifting & HIIT work. This isn’t foreign on my body at all because I’ve done it on and off seasonally over the last decade. This week I finally integrated all of it at the frequency I would like to maintain throughout CJ prep. Due to the added stress of this, as well as heightened family stress, I reduced mileage to allow for more recovery. Important reminder for myself – even though I reduced the mileage, stress was still very high on the body. Therefore, this week cannot be counted as a “down week” for me.
Mon 2/13 – 3 mi tread recovery / 8:38 pace + HIIT with heavy leg focus
Tue 2/14 – 7mi trail run / 8:14 pace / 470ft gain +7mi hike beforehand
Wed HIIT only
Thur 2/16- 9mi trail – 8:40 pace / 685ft gain +core
Fri 2/17- 9.34 Easy mountain / 2000ft gain
Sat 2/18 – 8mi / 8:42 / 534ft gain +HIIT
Sun 2/19 – 3 mi/ 3000ft gain 3 mi down
Thanks again for following this little journey. It started as a joke, but I think sharing the steps will be a good thing for me, and maybe can be helpful for someone else too. If you struggle with your own issues, no matter what they are, I pray you don’t ignore them – MAKE WAR on them. Love to all of y’all! Let’s make this week a good one. -xo
6 Replies to “Week 2 – “Make War””
Thanks Ash for another great post from the heart. I’ve heard of Piper cause I’ve read and listened to a lot of his stuff (if you like to read,I highly recommend his book Desiring God) but I’ve never heard the phrase make war – I like the concept. I have a semi-colon tattooed on my left wrist as a mental health reminder (don’t know if you’re familiar with the whole semi-colon movement to raise awareness to mental health issues). Anyway I was wondering if you remember the title of that sermon cause I’d like to give a listen. I think I falter in that area myself sometimes, often in the name of avoiding any kind of stress.
Hey Kent! I’m absolutely familiar with the semicolon. Thanks for sharing that. I’ve read desiring God! As for the sermon the best I could find is that video I linked in which has a lot of it. Good stuff!
Nice to see you posting. Keep winning the “war”. Godspeed.
Thanks Holly 💕
Love reading about your journey. I, too, have a tattoo on my wrist to remind me to think about others, not myself.
Nice. Outward focus is always helpful❤️