“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” ~Proverbs 13:12

My heart is sick today. I spent the day trying to figure out why. It’s fear.

When I was 11 years old, I knew, really KNEW, that I wanted to be a mother. That dream will not come true for me. Dream not just deferred, but abandoned.

When I was 22 years old, I was working in a gym and became fascinated with bodybuilding. I started lifting on my own. I liked it a lot, but I was young and undisciplined. Later, I was busy working to support myself and later still, becoming a teacher (a compensation for the mother-thing not working out). So that dream was deferred. I was young and assumed there was going to be time later.

When I was 35, I met my husband. Finding a partner is a dream fulfilled and I’m grateful to God for bringing us together. I mention this because it’s not fair to write about dreams deferred without the acknowledgment of blessings.

Now I’m bodybuilding again. At age 49, can’t defer this dream any longer. If it doesn’t work this time, it’s probably not going to happen. I’ve invested money, time, massive effort, and none of it feels like a sacrifice to me, but I know it is – especially to my husband. But there are new obstacles. I’m dealing with a nagging shoulder pain and I know if I get really hurt there or somewhere else, I’ll be derailed. Fear. There is so much I don’t know and I don’t know enough to be aware of what I don’t know. More fear. I’m a year away from competition and it’s highly likely that I’m going to be on the rest of this journey alone with no trainer or workout partner. There are so many things in life that work to pull me away from this path and very few things other than my own determination to keep me on it. When I’m the only one on my team, will that be enough? Will I falter when it gets really hard? When I’m tired or sick will I give up because everyone will tell me that it’s OK to not do it because they don’t understand what it takes to be a competitive bodybuilder? Massive fear.

So that’s why Proverbs 13:12 spoke to me today. I was heart sick – figuratively and literally – during the time in my life when those old pictures were taken. Someone asked to see them today and I remembered how hopeless that woman felt. Every day was about repeating the same routines. I had heart palpitations every night and feared one morning I wouldn’t wake up. And dying sad, with unfulfilled dreams scared me because my mother died when she was only 56. This old/new bodybuilding dream saved me. I’ve learned so much about the miraculous processes of the body. Maybe people who have always been healthy take it for granted, but I don’t. When I lift, I truly feel bliss and joy. But it’s not just about the exercise – it’s setting and reaching goals. It’s the competition. I have to do this. I can’t articulate why, but I have to.

And today, I’m scared I’m going to screw this up. I’m angry that I’m helpless to change the situation, and believe me, I’ve tried and I still have some things in the works. If I don’t follow through, everything will have been for nothing. I started this journey thinking it was enough to just to do it. But now, I want more. I want to be competitive. I don’t want to be a joke when I’m on stage. I can imagine people thinking “Look at the old chick. God bless her for trying.” No way.

Sorry for the high drama. I know people like to read funny stories, but haven’t been feeling the funny for a few days. I’m going to pray that since God put me on this path, there will be a solution provided and that I’m just being impatient because I don’t know what it is going to be.

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