My first earthquake was almost 5 years ago. I had been living in L.A. a few months and I thought the neighbor must be moving a dresser. It wasn’t until a few minutes later when a friend texted me, “did you feel that?” that I realized what it was.

We’ve had a few small earthquakes since then and I never recognized them for what they are. I lived in the midwest most of my life; I can sense a tornado coming, but earthquakes don’t register. I automatically assume the quiet rumble is a garbage truck or someone moving heavy furniture.

Three days ago a 6.4 earthquake hit and I didn’t notice it. In my defense, I was in the middle of 100 burpees for the last part of this workout:

30 clean and jerks

1-mile run

60 ring rows

1-mile row

100 burpees

So I just thought it was me that was shaky.

What happened the two nights ago was different. There was no mistaking this one for garbage trucks or furniture. I knew exactly what it was and it was terrifying.

It was about 8:15pm when the 7.1 hit and I was reading in bed. It began as a gradual rumble and I looked around. My bed was shaking and the ceiling fan started to sway. I sat straight up and gripped the mattress as it got more intense. The thought crossed my mind to go crawl under my heavy tanker-style desk, but I was frozen. I watched as my ceiling fan gathered momentum. All I could do was pray for it to stop.

Then I got nauseous. Then everything was still again. Then I cried.

I felt so vulnerable and helpless, but also safe and secure. Even when the earth is shaking I can rely on my unshakeable faith in God for protection. I’m so fragile compared to the strength of an earthquake. Even as a relatively fit person, I’m no match for a force of nature. I can run and jump and hang from a tree branch if I need to, but ultimately my physical strength will never be sufficient. My capability will always fall short, so ultimately my faith needs to be placed in God.

I’ve lived most of my life with disordered thinking. The earthquake helped me to see how much I’ve changed, and I’m so grateful I’ve gotten it sorted out. I used to place too much value on my physical capabilities and how I looked. It’s how I got my self worth and it’s how I found my place in the world. And because I put so much value on it, I was always striving to be better and look better so I could feel better. 

And I always came up empty because true fulfillment comes from only one place; God who has ultimate authority.

I respect my body and every day I work on making it stronger and faster and more flexible. But I don’t give it so much power anymore. I am not my body. 

And thank God for that.