We're off to a race this weekend. There is a half-ironman event in St. George and I will be cheering alongside my children while D races his pants off. A year ago, this was a full Ironman event and after too many people almost died, the powers that be modified the course and declared that going forward, it would be a half. My husband was one of those. Remember? Ugh. I wasn't there as there were other things scheduled that weekend and chose those over the race. I'm not making that mistake again.
We are all going. There are sacrifices being made all around- dance classes, swimming lessons, a tumbling recital and a baseball game will be missed so we can be there for dad. Because he has made sacrifices too, mostly in the form of sleep and time at home so he can be prepared. That was my one request when he started this triathlon madness a few years ago. I'm on board if you'll put in the time to be prepared so it's not a disaster. Well, we've seen disasters, but not due to the lack of preparation. He's ready. He's strong. He's hitting the times he wants to see and it's going to be a great race.
It's going to be great because he has created it to be such. A friend of mine, Justin Prince, recently wrote about ambition and the idea that the only thing standing in the way of ambition is comfort. It's the same idea that my dad has driven into us since we were little... "get out of your comfort zone." Growth doesn't occur in our comfort zone. Dent's ambition consistently pushes him out of his physical comfort zone in order to reach a place that is slightly higher than he was before. It is this ambition that we will be celebrating this weekend as he swims, bikes and runs his way through southern Utah.
It is this same ambition that has my children ready for the kids race that will occur the evening before. They want to run further and faster than they did before and are well aware that this will involve some discomfort. It is this same desire for something greater than my present state that has me working out consistently and eating like a nazi because there is a mountain on my calendar in August and my greatest fear is not being ready for it.
We have a comfort zone in every aspect of our lives. At work and at home we can do the same thing day after day or we can reach for a slightly higher standard. In school, Cooper can easily do a certain number of math facts in 4 minutes, but to become a Math Master, he needs to increase the number, so he stretches outside of his comfort zone and pushes a little harder- more timed tests, more flash cards, more talking through strategy so he can get there. In regards to my responsibility to feed my family, we have moved well out of our former comfort zone when it comes to the food we are eating. The old standards are no more and a new level of health has been established. One area that is easy to sit tight in is our spiritual life. If the daily routine doesn't include time for thoughtful prayer, time for meaningful service or time for digging into the scriptures, then fitting those things in isn't comfortable- it's a push, a sacrifice. But if there is the desire for a higher plane, a closer relationship with Heaven, a constant companionship with the Sprit, we make time and it ends up being well worth the sacrifice and the steps we took outside of our comfort zone.
The questions that have been rolling around are these: Am I happy where I am? My answer is yes. Do I want more? Yes. Am I capable of better? Yes. Can I achieve the things I want and my full potential by doing what I'm doing now? No. What I'm doing now is great, but where I want to be is amazing and completely worth the time, energy and discomfort it will take to get there.
I'm grateful for those in my life that inspire me, that ignite my ambition and help me want to be more than I am. My sisters probably have comfort zones, but they step out of them so regularly, I think they have grown to be massive. My brother has been tossed out of his comfort zone a few times and responds with more strength and surety than anyone else could. My parents believe in and support and encourage me and have always done so. The girlfriends in my life are incredible examples of women of strength, great mothers, happy wives and daughters of God who know just what their purpose is and will not be deterred. Denten somehow conveys two messages- one, that who I am now is wonderful and enough and two, that he believes I can achieve amazing things and he'll support me in achieving them. And he's incredibly patient while I continue to figure out just where I'm headed.
And so this weekend, we will pray for minimal wind, comfortable temps and be confident in the fact that ambition will get Dad across the finish line... and that angels will help the rest of us be happy cheerleaders until it happens!