I have a pair of jeans that I have worn less than 10 times, yet I bought them over 5 years ago. They have survived 4 moves, and many many DI/Goodwill raids (when I clean out and organize my dresser and closet…usually when I’m angry and feel like nothing fits). I hang on to these jeans because after Mulligan was born, I wanted to get in shape and I was super motivated to loose the extra weight.
I was so excited when I finally accomplished this goal, that I went out and bought a new pair of jeans. I wore them, loved them, and wanted more just like them. However, as luck (I don’t know if luck is the right word to use here, but for lack of anything else coming to mind, it will have to do…) would have it, I got pregnant with sweet little Birdie (If it were up to me, I would have liked a few more months of NOT being pregnant). I folded up the jeans and put them away.
And became obsessed with Oreo’s…
…and kicked up the Diet Coke intake…
And bought a new recliner.
Needless to say, I didn’t pull out the jeans for several months. When we moved up to Blanchard and I had an awesome running path around the golf course in our “back yard” I slowly started to get back into shape. After a while, I gained enough courage to try the jeans on. Unfortunately, I couldn’t will them to fasten. Ugh! That’s when I found out I was pregnant…again..with twins.
Pull out the Oreo’s.
Bring on the Diet Coke.
Warm up the recliner.
…And that’s pretty much where I’ve been…well, not so much the recliner, but I’ve had my share of Oreo’s and Diet Coke.
There is a reason I share all of this.
I decided that it was time to measure up to those jeans again. Whether they fit, and I want to make sure they continue to do so, or they didn’t, and I have some work to do isn’t the point of this post. ;) Nonetheless, this morning I went running around the greenbelt. It was a brisk 26 degrees (what am I going to do when the snow flies??), but I had One Direction (who are they anyway? I think I love them, but are they some sort of Teeny Bopper Boy Band or something? Would they be categorized anywhere near Justin Bieber? If so, I’ll hold off on the T-shirt with their faces on it.) and T-Swizzle (Tyler, Jourdon, & Justin Bean…is that the correct use of Taylor Swift’s nick name?) and a bit of Glee, putting on a little concert in my ears. (The new phone I got plays music too…so handy!)
As I was trying to ignore my huffing and puffing (that proved to be quite difficult when I could actually see my breath because it’s so cold…) I turned my thoughts to those jeans, and had a little epiphany.
Those jeans could easily represent where I want to be spiritually. When they fit, they could be a symbol of the times in my life when I am happiest, and have felt closest to my Heavenly Father. It seems that sometimes, I go through phases of intense scripture study, prayer, and righteousness. That usually happens when I am going through a trial. Other times, it seems that I’m praying and reading scriptures to check it off the list for the day. I just go through the motions. I settle.
I always feel so much better after I exercise, and it seems my day goes so much better (maybe because after I run, I can justify an Oreo…or two…). It’s the same with my spiritual life. After I really get into the scriptures, or recognize an answer to a prayer, I seem to have more patience with my children. I feel so much more peace. I am happier, and I think more of others than myself, resulting in added happiness.
So why is it so hard to maintain a pattern of spirituality? Probably the same reason it’s so hard for me to pull out those jeans and easily slip them on at any given time. I get lazy. I get creative with excuses and justifications. Even though I know without a doubt that once I get out and start running, I LOVE it, and I know it’s best for me in the big picture, It is so easy NOT to run. Do you have any idea how easy it is to polish off a package of cookies? (Um…I do…Yikes!) It’s easy to skip Family Home Evening on Monday nights. It’s so much easier to just drift off to sleep and ignore the realization that I’ve crawled into bed without kneeling in prayer. It’s more convenient to stay home instead of going to the temple.
But, even though it’s easier, guess what? All those days I fatted around in the recliner, I lost to misery. Although the Oreo’s brought instant joy (especially when I had a Diet Coke to wash them down…) in the long run they brought unhappiness and pain.
By the time I reached the end of my run, I had a new love for those jeans. I felt a new vigor to be better, and more consistent to choose the things that are best. The things that matter most, and bring the most happiness to me and to my family.
And now, I feel like I should frame those jeans, and never get rid of them—kind of like the CHAIR that has survived yet another move—but then, how would I ever know if they fit or not? :)