Regarding My New Super Human Calves

I have never been a super athletic person.

I was the one in gym class who would cry during games of dodgeball. (I think I would still cry as an adult, too. It is a freaky game.)

I was the one who was picked last for all team sports.

I was the one who threw a bat backwards by mistake, hitting Pam Dispense in the head and sending her to the hospital.

Yeah. I was that kid.

The one thing I was good at was dancing. So the only time I wouldn’t dread PE was when we were square dancing or doing the popcorn dance.

As an adult, even though I love to hike and backpack and am a Zumba instructor, I have quietly avoided most other athletic endeavors. (Being a Zumba instructor makes sense though, since it is so closely related to the popcorn dance.)

But lately I’ve been riding my bike a lot.

This makes me pretty proud, especially because I have always been jealous of bikers. I see them on the side of the road with their tiny little spandex and their super human calves and I think “I wish I could be that cool.”

One day I remembered a friend telling me that I should always pay attention when I am jealous of someone. It usually means they are doing something that I am afraid of. Something I should be brave and do myself.

So I overcame my fear and started biking when I lived in San Francisco. I rode it everywhere. It was one of my favorite things about living in that city. Now that I’m back in Boulder my friend Estee has been taking me on mountain bike rides. I’ve been going almost every other day.

I am honestly still not that good. In fact, I think I closely resemble the girl in the above picture.

But I absolutely love it.

Lately though, I’ve been taking note of what is happening in my head as I’m riding. What I am often thinking about is how people will believe I’m more awesome now that I go on bike rides so often.

I am pondering who I can take with me so they will be impressed by my awesomeness.

When I come home and my roommates ask me what I did that day, I say “Oh, I was just on a bike ride. Again.

And I realize that I am trying to feel valued and seen because of what I do. Not because of who I am.

This is not a new thing. I have lived a lot of my life wanting people to notice things that I am good at, especially guys that I wanted to impress.

I worked at a camp in Colorado for years and years. I have never felt so in my element in all of my life as when I worked at that camp.  Other counselors called me “The Legend.” I loved reaching out to my campers and seeing their lives changed. I loved playing chubby bunnies with them, even if it did mean that they were on the verge of choking at any given moment. I loved singing them to sleep. I have been in touch with some of them for over a decade. I absolutely loved it.

I also loved Bryan, the guy in the blue teepee across the way. And Sam in the red tepee. And I also kind of liked Ben, who helped me start my fires in the morning. Even though my love for the kids was sincere, I was also very aware that being great with kids was something that these handsome counselors had on their what I want in a wife list.

I found out many years later that a lot of those guys secretly really liked helping me light my fires. Sadly, they never asked me out. Maybe I was too much of a legend and scared them off.

Soon after, I became a professional songwriter and worship leader and played in churches and bars and coffee shops and Rainbow Gatherings. I worked hard to write songs that would bring the hope of Jesus without sounding churchy and religious. I sang songs to broken people, comforting them. I wanted to change people’s lives by painting an accurate picture of God to people who had misunderstood him.

But I also wanted to look hot playing my guitar. It is embarrassing to admit that, but its’ true.

I have mentioned before that one of my biggest fears is that people will like me on stage or while I’m teaching or on this blog but will be disappointed in me in real life. And yet, my constant cognizance of other people’s opinions of me is feeding into that fear. It is feeding the lie that I will only be loved for what I do or how talented I am, not for who I am.

Yesterday, as I was riding my bike, I started thinking about flowers. About how there are so many flowers in the world that no one will ever see. God created them just because he loves to create. Not because he needs to impress anyone. Not because they need to be seen. Just because they are beautiful.

I thought “I am like those flowers. Even if no one notices that I am beautiful, God created me. Therefore, I am beautiful.”

I thought “Even if no one sees the new super human calves that I may have one day, I am still awesome.”

I thought “Right now, in this moment, I want to ride my bike just because I love it. Not for anyone else but me and my God.”

So I did.

It was a very good feeling.

Have you ever had experiences with only feeling loved if you do things right? Of living your life trying to please or impress people? I’d love to hear your experiences.

Just an extra note… I just wanted to let you know I am going to Minneapolis the last week in September for the Christian Community Development Association conference. I am looking for another house show and maybe another church to lead worship at. Maybe even a place to stay. If you live in Minneapolis and are interested will you write a note to me here or send me an email via Also, Aaron Strumpel and I will be doing an Enter the Worship Circle concert on September 25 at Emmaus Road Church 6719 Cedar Lake Road, St. Louis Park, MN. 55426. 7pm.  I’d love to see you all there!


10 thoughts on “Regarding My New Super Human Calves

  1. I can’t say i am overly concerned with my own calves (ha ha), but I do think sometimes that maybe females will read something I write or something I share online and be like: “Wow, that guy has a true heart for God, is interesting, and I would like to know him!” Of course, I do not do these things for those reasons initially, but sometimes I hope by sharing myself, putting myself out there, maybe someone will see me, see some of the real me, and be interested. I hope the same thing in person sometimes I suppose, but being an introverted person, it takes time for people to know me and for me to open up. I think writing online, I can share me, without worrying how the others responds, but it would be nice to be noticed. I sometimes wish I was more extroverted, because it seems so easy for them, they make connections so easily, and people notice them.

    I cant say when I have led worship on guitar and/or sang that I was wanting to be noticed, mostly because of my nature… I was likely trying to be nervous about being up front and pay attention on the song or I might mess up, ha! ;.) Funny how we all have our different things though. Thanks for sharing this about yourself and being so honest, I know it isnt easy. Great blog!

  2. Thank you Kate for always being so honest! I always struggle with doing my actions for the applaud of others rather than to just enjoy the flowers! You really are such an inspiration to me and I am sure you are just as wonderful outside of your blog and off of the stage! 🙂 Thanks for your posts, they always help me think!!

  3. Do you live in my head? It’s funny that the commentary in your mind is exactly like what’s in mine! Whether it’s about my calves (yes, even that!) to wanting to impress people… especially guys, you expose the same self-consciousness that can rule my heart Thanks for the challenge and for your honesty. What a beautiful picture of the flowers created by God– May we all ride for the glory of God.

    And poor Pam Dispense! Has she read this post?

  4. Just like Kara, I think you live in my head some days. I know I’ve done things so others can see my awesomeness, but I can’t say I’ve ever truly admitted that to even myself. You are so open with your struggles & frustrations. Every entry is a glimpse into your life and echo so many things that many of us deal with every day. Love them!

    My heart leapt for joy when I saw that you’re coming to MN! I’m SO excited! I don’t think I can help you out as far as a church to lead worship in or a house concert, but one organization that can help with that is (not to be confused with which is ministry for singles). They are a link to various churches & Christian artists who are rolling through town.

    I feel like I know you since I subscribe to your blog. When I see an email from the Sexy Celibate, I save it for last so I can read it without distraction as I know it’s going to be good! I only wish you knew about me so you could call me your friend as I feel like you’re one of mine.

    i’m going to try and come out to the concert in St. Louis Park. And know that I’m NOT going to be disappointed in meeting you in person no matter what happens. I just wish you knew more about me as you’re not going to know me from Adam when we meet.

    • Thanks Kim I would love to meet you! I would love help with echo concerts I looked it up and it looks awesome! Can you email me via my website- Thanks!! These are very kind words I appreciate them.

  5. “I’ve got Nothing to Offer Anybody, I Haven’t Done Jack $#!@ Since High School, Why Would Any Girl Ever Marry Me?”

    I have to admit I dreaded the square dancing and we did it all the way through junior high. I could not for the life of me, figure out why they made us do that. Know I know; some kids actually liked it. (So thanks for that insight)

    Anyway, let’s see… I do not understand how there can be any clear distinction between “who I am” and “what I do”, especially in a dating sense. Of course, I do understand not wanting to do things just for show. I even understand it being difficult to get into new things because of feeling inadequate. Even knowing that, “everybody has to start somewhere”, one can feel like a poser or a “wanna’ be” when around the hard-core enthusiasts.

  6. “I am like those flowers. Even if no one notices that I am beautiful, God created me. Therefore, I am beautiful.” These are the words I needed to read this morning. Thank you so much Kate.

  7. Oh, Kate, how I needed to read this today.

    Yes. Yes, I have felt loved only when I did something right (I’m a graduate student, it’s sort of built in that you don’t matter until you distinguish yourself with a brilliant insight, which sucks and is a very broken system). Yes, I have built whole personas to impress other people–as a matter of fact, I’m dealing a little bit with the fallout of that now, which is no fun at all, in that people believe the me I created for them and that frustrates me because it doesn’t allow me to be who I am. And I run, poorly, and berate myself when I see someone else on the trail and run faster so they don’t see that I look like the girl on the bottom half of your hilarious photo.

    I love your flowers comparison. Granted, God doesn’t need anyone’s approval because He’s, well, God, and I’m not, so we play by different rules. But no matter whether I can ever run like the woman on the top half of the photo, God created *me* because He delighted to do so, and He’s seen me trip, stumble, and cry. How I wish I didn’t forget that so very often.

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