I have a pair of pants hanging off the front of my bedroom door. They’re wrinkly and slightly stained.
And they’re small.
I used to fit into those pants a few years back. Breastfeeding my second child, the baby weight just fell off; that child sucked me down to a size “small.”
It was great.
But over the last couple of years, some extra weight has befriended me, setting up camp around my hips and butt. Along with my pride, I unfortunately had to tuck those small pants into the bottom of my drawer and buy myself a pair of fat pants.
Okay, “fat-ter” pants.
With the turn of the new year and a fresh new beginning, however, my husband and I have decided it’s time to get into better shape, get healthier and shed a bit of those extra pounds. We’re eliminating all sugar for two weeks in order to reboot our systems and to reduce our bodies’ cravings for sugar.
Knowing it would be hard for me to abide by this new diet, I pulled out that pair of small, wrinkly pants and hung them in a place where I could look at them every time I felt tempted to give into my craving. We live in an open-concept house, and our bedroom door faces out toward the living room, the dining room and, most importantly, the kitchen.
This week, every time I longed to grab some carbs, my eyes would fall upon those pants and I’d grab a bag of celery instead. Every time I was tempted to cheat, I’d suddenly catch those pants spying on me from the bedroom door, and I’d exhale loudly and pop a handful of cherry tomatoes into my mouth.
I want to fit into those pants again.
It’s kind of embarrassing to admit that. To admit that my motivation for getting into shape is not really about health or longevity or having more energy for my kids.
It’s because I want to look good.
Don’t get me wrong, I want all those other good things too, but mostly, I just want to fit into those pants again.
It’s just that as I get older, it’s getting harder for me to look as good as I did when I was younger. My hair isn’t as shiny as it used to be. My eyes are puffier.
I know. Vanity, vanity, pure vanity. Like the pants on my door, my motivation for getting fit is pretty stained and wrinkly.
My impulse is to beat myself up for such a shallow motivation. To chastise myself and allow my Inner Critic to hurl insults in order to force me to change my motivation into something more pure. But, like a quote I recently read, “If being hard on yourself worked, it would have worked by now.”
So instead I’ve decided to pray. Pray that God can come through the backdoor of my flawed motivations and make them into something more beautiful. Pray that he can forgive me for my shallowness and vanity. Because maybe he understands what it’s like to struggle with it. He was human, after all. Maybe he “gets” it. Maybe he even gets me. And perhaps he doesn’t condemn me for my ‘small’ motivations but rather sees me in light of his motivation for coming to earth: to love me and die for me and make me pure in his sight.
I’m going to pray that as I work to transform my body, he works to transform my heart.
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