Motivation Monday | Kelsey Baker

It's so rare in Lynchburg for church folks to mix. Thomas Road & Rivermont.  Blue Ridge & Hyland Heights. Oil & Water. But somehow through God's providence this Redeemer Presbyterian girl ended up mixing with the beautiful Kelsey Baker from Brentwood & our friendship is officially on the rise :)


When Robin invited me to be a part of the panel at her women's conference I had no idea what I was signing up for. She's just so darn charismatic that she can get anyone to sign up for just about anything.  When I arrived at Christine Kennedy's house for the panel get together I was immediately taken back by all the people I didn't know.  But I remember looking over at Kelsey and all of a sudden I felt right at home.  Robin said that we were all chosen to speak because we were at different stages of life.  I knew I was the married entrepreneur with no kids but I wondered what Kelsey's label was.  Then she dropped the bomb. 



I'll be honest with you.  When I realized that this gorgeous amazon of a woman had not yet found a suitable man I was utterly shocked.  Then I waited for my cue on how to respond.  So often women in this position immediately start speaking negatively when the subject of marriage or relationships pop up.

But not Kelsey.

When it was her turn to speak she just started pouring the word of God out of her heart like a geyser.  She talked about how her heart broke for women like her.  She truly wanted them to experience freedom and comfort in Christ.  Through her time relentlessly pursuing the Lord, she became rooted in her identity in Christ and it was written all over her face.  She was complete. The glow of the Holy Spirit radiated all over her as she raved about what the Lord had done in this season of her life. Instead of placing her life in neutral while she waited for God to provide, she made the decision to keep moving & fervently serve the Lord with all that she had.  

A few weeks after the Relentless Hope conference, Kelsey's status switched to "In a Relationship".  As happy as I was for her I wondered how she was handling this new found relationship.  As I took pictures of her she dropped one of the most profound sound bites I've ever heard.  She said,

It's so easy to cry to the Lord & seek Him in times of want.  Now my prayer is that I will continue to pursue Him in this time of blessing because He's worthy of that.

That's Kelsey in a nutshell.  What a woman ;)

You Really Don't Want My Motivation

"I wish I had your motivation"  "How did you do it?"

I've known for some time that these need a more comprehensive response than what I've been giving.  Maybe it's the fear of sounding self-deprecating or opening a can of worms that's kept me from offering the truth about my fitness journey, "you really don't want my motivation" and "maybe I should tell you how I almost DIDN'T do it." The recent loss of a friend met with far too many I-had-no-idea's has helped me to realize it's time the lines be blurred between the "high-functioning" and "motivated" and the "struggling".


To be clear, I could take a number of different angles-- relationships, spirituality, work, domesticity, entrepreneurship, hobbies.  These are all integrally related to my fight.  Fitness just happens to be the most ostensible, and I thought it was only appropriate to revisit the matter LaShonda graciously highlighted in our original "Motivation Monday" shoot.  If that element relates to you, fantastic.  If not, don't bail just yet.


Since beginning her weight loss journey, Lindsay lost 1 pound, 65 times.  Lindsay's shoot was the inaugural Motivation Monday (L) two years ago.  Since then I've spent time on a few select Monday afternoons sharing the stories of incredible women to empower others. Now back to Lindsay's story.   

I battle severe depression, ADD, anxiety, and chronic physical pain. 

I've been medicated for this, un-medicated for that, diagnosed with this, needing re-diagnosis for that. I've struggled to isolate what's natural, chemical, emotional, and circumstantial.  I have very few answers. I was struck about three and a half years ago with life-altering circumstances that either affected my brain chemistry, or inevitable chemical factors just happened to manifest at an unfortunate time.  I'm not sure if I'll ever know.  Simultaneously, I was being drawn to seek healing and wholeness more deeply than I ever had before.  Thus began the trudging ascent I continue today. 


I know I look at fellow fitness-seekers and think "I'm still not like them." But if you're looking at me thinking anything like "She's doing something I can't," it's important for you to know that if there's anybody who 'can't,' it's me. I'd like to think that there are more high-functioning depressives out there, but until they become as open about the darkness as they are about their PR's, the divide remains.  Personally, if I waited for that kick-ass, caffeine-fueled, can-do moment to get out there and do the thing, I would spend my entire allotted gym time in the parking lot, daunted by the task of tying my shoelaces (or crying/shaking over it, caffeine depending. I can't do stimulants). 


So enough of the dark stuff, How DO I do it?

Aside from the practical elements, which you can find in abundance on the internet (don't get me wrong, I'm still more than happy to share personally), I learn to function based on the truth versus how I feel.  Does it usually make me "feel" better? Not always.  Not even usually; HOWEVER, there are good days- days when my feelings and the truth reconcile, and I'm glad I spent that gray time moving forward. 

What is the truth? The truth is that my feelings don't necessarily reflect reality. The truth is that there's hope. 

The truth is that from my waking moments, when the anxieties of the nexthours of the day are nipping at my heels like rabid wolves and distorting my perception of my purpose and responsibility in that moment, there is serenity to be found. In that serenity, I commune with God who reminds me that in doing just that I am serving my purpose, and for the rest, I am free to struggle. The truth is I have no excuse to not tend and cultivate what I've been given, no matter how flawed.  The truth is I have to take an aggressive approach to wholeness in order to survive. The truth is I know this isn't all there is, and this isn't all I am.


Truly, I'm still neck-deep in it, which is part of the reason I've been so closeted about it all.  I feel hypocritical.  But I know that's not the truth. The truth is that we simply need to know that there are others striving with us. Striving is a necessity; conquering is a luxury, but there will be some of that, too. 

It's time I allowed my journey to benefit others.  I'm still considering how to go about it, as I choose to keep personal and generally serious things off social media.  Until I figure it out, here's this. Also, I'm all about some old-fashioned, face-to-face, wine-and-cheese, conversational kind of support.  I'll cook you food. We'll do it together.

I want to give special thanks to friends who've shared battles and successes alike with me, my momma who instilled realistic expectations about what I can expect my hips, thighs, and metabolism to do and not to do, LaShonda for being the feminine embodiment of Getting' it Done and providing a venue to share my story, my personal trainer Jay and his wife Bettie with LocknLoad fitness, and my long-suffering, loving Michael who knows exactly when to say "get your butt moving" or "sit down and stop moving."