Life is Hard…But I Want Easy

I was thinking about this on the way in to work the other morning. I brought my gym bag to work again…for the bazillionath time, I might add, but the odds of my actually working out are slim to none, if we’re judging by my workout schedule of late. What has my workout schedule been of late, you ask? Well…pretty nonexistent.

So as I was walking in to the building I was thinking about going to the gym sometime during the day and I felt that little pang of excitement you sometimes get at the prospect of something new…do you know what I’m talking about? Anyway, I had that little burst of excitement and then almost in the exact same instant I felt fear and anxiety and said to myself, “it’s going to be really hard to do a workout today.”

Hard. It’s a pretty small word – but it’s so powerful, isn’t it? As soon as the thought crossed my mind I lost all sense of excitement about working out. Why do we do that, I wonder? And why do we let our minds psych us out so easily? And is it just me?

I look at other people and I wish I could be as motivated or as determined as them. We watched the movie “Moana” the other night (for the fifth or so time), and I found myself wondering what it would be like to jump on a little canoe sailboat thing and just take off. Ok, well not that necessarily, because I don’t know how to sail, I get motion sick, and I have a slight fear of open water…but what about just learning a new skill or hobby? Or taking a new assignment at work doing something I’m not familiar with? Or something much easier, like just getting back into the routine of going to the gym?

All my life I’ve taken the easy route…every time I’ve been faced with something potentially hard I quit. I had the opportunity in college to study abroad in Germany – I put in the application and was getting ready to go, but at the last minute some of the requirements changed and the cost went up. Instead of knuckling down and figuring things out, I backed out and never studied abroad.

I’ve been good at a lot of things – but I never had the desire to study just one thing hard enough to be great at it. I could have graduated college with honors, but it was too hard to study every night and so I simply just graduated. I have a talent for learning foreign languages but I didn’t want to put in the maximum effort required to actually strive towards fluency in those languages. I love to write – I adore it, really – and I think I’m pretty good at it…but because it’s “too hard” to make time to write and I’d rather sleep than stay up late or wake up early, I just tend to whine about not having time to write.

The thing is – life got pretty hard for my husband and me shortly after we got married…and honestly, it hasn’t really stopped. Every time I think we might be pulling ourselves out of a stressful situation, something else seems to hit us and knock us back down. We’ve dealt with it – but I wouldn’t say successfully. We manage. We survive, but we don’t thrive. And despite us having talked about this multiple times over the past few years, I don’t know what it would take for us to thrive. Life is hard…but I want it to be easy. I want to not have anything to worry about. I want to not have to work so hard. To quote Bing Crosy in Holiday Inn…”I want to be lazy”.

I know that’s not the answer. Lazy is boring when you do it for too long. The trouble is, I don’t know what the answer is. I’ve been praying about it – praying for direction, praying for guidance, praying for motivation…and once I thought about it for a bit, I realized that’s the best thing I can be doing. And I realized I can’t be the only person who struggles with this. So will you join me? Will you get down on your knees before God and pray for the desire to accept the hard? To not wish away life while you’re dreaming of easy?

“Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NCV)

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Let’s (not) Compare

So the other day my husband and I were sitting on the couch and out of the blue my husband turns to me and says, “do you ever think that Facebook is just a place where people…” he started to trail off and so I helpfully inserted, “post only the good things about their lives and never any bad?” To which he responded very emphatically, “YES”.

Um…only all the time.

This isn’t to call anyone out, or to knock Facebook. Social media can be and usually is a good thing – you can catch up with people from your past you’d otherwise never see or talk to, you can get accurate information on a nearby restaurant recommendation, you can share pictures and videos with friends and family…heck, one of my friends used Facebook Live to stream a birthday party for her son! Which was great, considering she lives like twelve states away. There are lots of good applications. But my husband hit on one of the more negative sides of social media: jealousy. How easy is it to check out your old high school rival’s facebook page and compare yourself to everything you see? How many times have you scrolled through your newsfeed, picking out all the things you wish you were doing, or that baby you wish was growing inside your belly, or that wedding you wish you were planning, or that house you wish you could afford? How many times does it make you feel like your life doesn’t compare?

I do it. All the time.

To be honest – there was one point where I had to take a social media hiatus because I was working myself into a fit every time I got online. But as my husband puts it, “you are comparing someone else’s highlights reel to your blooper reel.” Isn’t that the truth? (FYI: my husband is wicked smart.)

What does God tell us about jealousy?

James 3:16 says, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” (ESV)

Adding to that, Proverbs 14:30 tells us that, “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” (ESV)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be in the midst of “disorder and every vile practice”, and I certainly don’t want to participate in anything that “makes bones rot”! Unfortunately, we know that jealous, envy, etc are bi-products of our sinful human nature. Fortunately, God loves us and forgives us when we ask for it, and if we live our lives for Him, He will helps us with these struggles.

When I start to feel jealousy, or when I begin to compare my life to other people’s, I fall back on the words of David in Psalms 139:

“You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for meĀ  were written in your book before I was one day old.” Psalm 139:13-16 (NCV)

God made me to be exactly who He wants me to be. He planned my days and He knows what I am going to do, when I am going to do it, and what I’m going to have. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, in His image. How could I compare myself then to anyone else?

I’m not saying it’s easy – some days are much harder than others. But it also helps me to think about all the blessings I have in my life – God has blessed me with a loving husband, a beautiful stepson, a house, a job, a car, a family. God crafted me to be exactly who He wants and needs me to be – and I can rest in the promises of His love.

And to God – we are all his highlights.

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LulaRoe

Soo…sometime in the middle of January one of my girlfriends casually mentioned that she was having a LulaRoe party and invited me to come. My first response was, of course, “Lula-what?” I don’t even remember what she told me it was, something about a clothing line and leggings, but I decided I’d go because 1) she’s my friend; and 2) I love clothes.

I probably should not have gone.

To make a long story short, I ended up buying a miniature new wardrobe and in fact purchased so much that I earned myself a pair of free leggings for being the person who…well…spent the most money at the party. Which is funny considering I didn’t intend to spend ANY money, I was just going for moral support. Plus, I don’t (didn’t) even like leggings!

Anyway. In a nutshell, LulaRoe is an independent clothing brand that specializes in super comfortable clothing – most notably their leggings. The kicker about their clothing is that they only manufacture a certain number of any specific pattern – so their selling point is that if you see something you love, you had better buy it NOW because you might not see it again.

It totally works.

So, being fairly new to the Lula world, I decided I’d share some of my honest thoughts – in no particular order.

  1. It drives me absolutely BONKERS when I hear their leggings described as “buttery soft”. Yes, their leggings are super soft. But for whatever reason (call me crazy), likening them to something I use to grease casserole dishes and cook scrambled eggs just doesn’t hold much appeal to me. Unfortunately it’s like a LLR coined phrase and so I see it ALL THE TIME.
  2. Some of their patterns are, if I may say, UGLY. Obviously beauty is in the eye of the beholder and everyone has their own opinion…but man, some of the items I see make my eyes go crossed. That said, there are tons of patterns that I ADORE and have on occasion spent more time than I will admit here searching facebook groups for a particular pattern. (I’m looking at you, shark-and-whale-print leggings!!!)
  3. Which leads me to this: it’s frustrating that you can’t buy clothes directly from the LLR website – you have to make purchases through independent consultants via their facebook pages. I am now a member of approximately 5,000 lularoe facebook groups and now the only things I see in my facebook feed are announcements on giveaways, shop openings or live parties, or happy memes from consultants.
  4. Not only that, but independent consultants have no control over their inventory, so there’s no guarantee who has what pattern and so you have to make purchases from different people – each with their own varying sales tax percentages and shipping costs, and everyone has their own little rewards or benefits. My case study on this uber-frustrating aspect:

Exhibit A: I purchased clothes in person from one group and they have a “buy 10 items, get 1 pair of free leggings” rewards card. I’m only 2 items away from a free pair of leggings, but I’m not really all that keen on the items this particular group has available and so I may never get that free pair of leggings.

Exhibit B; I joined a birthday club from another group in which I receive 10% off all purchases during my birthday month.

Exhibit C: I bought a pair of leggings from one group and received $5 “lulacash”…which is only good if I purchase something else from that particular person’s shop.

Exhibit D: I bought a shirt from another group and received $10 “lulacash”…which again is only good if I purchase something else from that person’s shop.

So, which technically I am two items away from a free pair of leggings, could get 10% off my entire purchase, AND have $15 “lulacash” to spend…by the time to break out individual purchases from each retailer and then pay taxes and shipping fees…it’s totally not worth it and I’m really not reaping any benefit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the CLOTHING isn’t worth it, but to try to take advantage of all the separate “rewards” is not worth it and doesn’t save me any money whatsoever.

5. All of the above aside, their clothing is darned comfortable. I never considered myself a leggings person before, but I think that was because I couldn’t find a pair that I really liked. These leggings are so soft that I could live in them. Along with the rest of the LLR clothing I now own.

6. In addition to being super comfortable, certain styles of their clothing fit my own personal fashion “style” to a T. I’ve tried trends in the past, but they don’t last. I am classic to a fault, which is why the styles I gravitated towards when I went to that first LLR party were the Randy (a baseball style tee), the Perfect (a longer tee fitted in the top but flows out slightly at the hips), the Classic (a simple tee that works with anything), and the Sarah (a knee length cardigan sweater). I love that all the tops fall a little longer in the bank so to adequately cover my bum. And as long as I’m wearing solid colors or somewhat tamer printers, I can dress them up enough for work and still be 100% comfortable at home. Lastly, if I had to choose one “outfit” to wear for the rest of my life it would be jeans (or leggings now!), a simple tee, and a cardigan. Forever and ever, amen.

Translate that into LulaRoe and I would live in a pair of leggings, a classic tee, and a sarah. Every day for the rest of my life.

I could probably go on and on, but I’ll step off my soapbox for now.

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