I know I have been in absentia for months, and so very few people even read this blog anymore. But that’s okay.
It’s okay because I love to blog (even though I haven’t done it much over the last two years) and so I’ve got a space to write my thoughts. And my thoughts lately have been centered around the gospel–aka the Good News.
I’m a Mormon. Actually, in communicating with a new friend, I designated myself as a super-Mormon. (Now accepting mock-ups for costume ideas! You know you want to.)
The reason I decided I’m a super-Mormon is because it’s not just a Sunday thing for me. It’s an every-moment thing for me. So most of the written-in-my-head blog posts center around the way the gospel is changing me in every day situations.
I recently joined a gym. (And, no, there isn’t anyone there who I’ve seen do a split like that one Rainbow is doing at the park.) I didn’t really want to, as I’ve never thought of myself as a “gym” person, but the friend I used to walk with in the mornings got a new job that conflicted with our walking schedule. The Zumba class I had been attending at the church was also discontinued. My friend’s job started in the fall, and as the holidays rolled around I realized I had pretty much not exercised for months. I could tell by my energy level that something needed to change.
I was actually “walking the mall” when a guy stopped me and finagled me into taking a tour of the gym there. He was very charming and a good salesman. I walked away with a two-week temporary membership.
As I went to the gym the first few times, I realized it was a whole different animal than walking in the safety of my neighborhood (and several layers of outerwear). Besides feeling incredibly awkward just because, you know, it’s me, and I’m generally that way, I also found myself watching the other people there. I found myself comparing myself to them—I’m weaker. I’m faster. I’m bigger. I’m smaller. It was seriously messing with my head.
I didn’t want to do that. Fast forward to my adult religion class that same week. We were having a discussion and one man commented how he felt like he wasn’t as good as all the people around him. Our teacher, who has known this man for years, demurred. He pointed out that comparing ourselves to other people is not the way Heavenly Father wants us to live. But how do we combat this tendency? He had us turn to Doctrine and Covenants 121:45-46.
It reads: “Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.”
So one way for us to have confidence in the presence of God is to have charity towards all men. As I continued to ponder this idea, I remembered one of my favorite scriptures in Moroni 7:47-48. It says: “But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.”
I don’t have much of a problem comparing myself to people at church, but I realized this lesson was applicable in all areas of my life. As I pray for charity “with all energy of heart,” I am reminded of the pure love Christ has for each of us. When I slip into patterns of comparing while I’m at the gym, I pray for charity. It has helped me realize that none of us are two-dimensional. There is the seen, but the unseen is greater and deeper, like the way icebergs are: 10% on top and 90% underneath.
The noise of the world, the stuff that says you have to look a certain way or be a certain weight, tries hard to drown out the truth: we are all worth something. I have known this for years, but it gets buried much too often in the barrage of media entering my psyche every single day. My grandma had a little picture stuck on her bulletin board that I used to look at and try to figure out. It was a drawing of a boy who was scowling and it said, “I know I’m somebody, ’cause God don’t make no junk!”
I hold onto that as I head to the gym in my ratty workout clothes with my past-their-prime tennis shoes. I’m somebody. He’s somebody. She’s somebody. We’re ALL somebody, and seeing the 10% isn’t enough to pass judgment on anybody.
Be kind. To all the somebodies out there, including yourself.