or In Which Lessons on Writing and Mudderella Become Intertwined
I was unable to attend the full InScribe conference this year because I inadvertently double booked myself way back in January. Except, there are no mistakes with God, and I am convinced that my calendar error was His divine purpose!
Instead of attending the Friday evening banquet, I was on my way to a girls' weekend in Whistler with some friends from my university days. Instead of sitting down to breakfast with fellow writers on Saturday, I was preparing for feats of mental and physical strength and endurance on Blackcomb Mountain. I was headed to Mudderella.
Mudderella is an obstacle course designed by women for women. It's a challenge, not a race, with a focus on teamwork and camaraderie. It's an inspiring event that gathers together people from every age range and fitness level to work together to achieve a common purpose. Sometimes referred to as the gentle little sister to its more ferocious counterpart, the Tough Mudder, this obstacle course is still no laughing matter. So, how does a muddy run (or walk) up a mountain compare to a writers' conference? Here's what I learned:
Be Consistent: Own Your Slow
Mudderella's slogan is actually Own Your Strong. It's an invitation to embrace your strengths.
Or, as David sang,
It is my God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure
2 Samuel 22:33 (NIV)
David's song of praise carried him beyond the battleground to the fields of victory. For me, this battle was more internal than external. My Saul wasn't a person to be defeated, but a choice to persevere in the face of challenges.
Because I said, "Yes!" to the challenge of Mudderella, I learned that consistency sometimes means slowing my pace so that I can continue forward. If I had tried to keep up with all the other challengers around me, I likely would have lost steam before reaching the top of each incline, or finishing each obstacle. Instead, I "owned my slow" and took it one step at a time.
Make it to the Goal One Step at a Time
In writing and in life people set goals. I believe that's a good thing. But on the mountain that day, I learned that it's equally as important to focus on the present moment and not just the goal at the end of the journey. I had to focus on the next right step in order to keep myself from stumbling on the way to my goal.
Too often I have envisioned the end goal or prize: the book, published; the accomplishment, achieved. Those aren't bad things to work towards, but it's still important to keep things in perspective. Paul tells us:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV) (emphasis mine)
So, having accepted the challenge, owned my slow, reached the prize (aka the finish line), and achieved the honour of becoming a Mudderella Finisher, what have I learned? Mostly I learned to be unapologetically me. I learned to go at my own pace, and be accepting of my strengths and weaknesses. Everybody - every writer - is different.
My perspective is shifting. I can do hard things. I do not have to fit a certain mold to consider myself capable. I can extend grace to myself and not put so much pressure on myself to perform to a certain level. I can go at my own speed and God will still be there with me, hemming me in beside, behind and in front. God will still be there, speaking words of encouragement and strengthening my heart, mind, soul and spirit to continue moving toward Him.
Perfect love casts out fear. I am beloved, called by name. And so are you. Together we can celebrate our unique strengths and gifts, we can lift each other up and help each other out when necessary, and we can aspire to accomplish great things as writers and challengers in this life.
Karma Pratt is a faith-driven mom of twins, a communicator, a writer, and an encourager from way back. She is also, officially, a Mudderella Finisher. She does hard things like raise a family and be a supportive partner to her husband and scale walls and walk through muddy pits and climb mountains. And she offers professional writing and editing services at redraincoatcreations.com.