Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Old Lines: Tying My Shoes and Changing My Heart

Do you remember learning to tie your shoes?

I do! My grandma taught me. I remember it looking and feeling so foreign.

Grandma showed me repeatedly how to tie. She likened my laces to a bunny running around a tree and then the infamous bunny ear appeared and I was done.

WHAT!?! How does that even make sense?

It took lots of practice, but I finally succeeded in tying my own shoes. Even then, though, I still had to deliberately tie for quite sometime. I had to coach myself through it for weeks, months even.

Decades later, I can tie a bow with my eyes closed or behind my back.

I think that's the way it is with so many things we learn. Today, instead of learning motor skills, I am trying to learn to be the best version of myself.

My teacher, my Heavenly Father, knows me best. And He pulls out all the stops to help me get there. He gives me written instructions in the form of scriptures. Verbal instructions in the form of church leaders. He is always teaching in parables to help my mind understand a little better. He gives me quiet nudges when I'm at the end of my rope.

But I am ever-fumbling my way through this lesson. Sometimes pulling too tight, sometimes not tightly enough. Sometimes I'm too deliberate, other times I really don't care. More often than not, though, it's simply frustrating.

The other day I got one of those blessed quiet nudges. Someday I will almost effortlessly be my best self. I won't have to practice so deliberately to bring out the best in myself, but I will be the person I want to be.

I just have to make the choices the person I want to be would make. I have to be deliberate about it now, much like I was when I first tied my shoes, I have to try.

After I've put much effort into practicing making good choices, those choices will begin to come without thought. I will be the person I want to be with my hands behind my back.

Someday it won't feel foreign for me to take the best care of my body, or read my scriptures every day, or to practice patience. Little by little, those things will come with ease, if I practice those things now. Even though they are hard and take time. 

Of course, there will be days maybe even periods of time when I don't want to try. When I am exhausted or feeling defeated. Maybe I won't want to try because today, I feel good about myself. Whatever the reason may be, that's okay, too. I don't need to learn this lifelong lesson in weeks. It is a lifelong lesson. So long as there is effort on my part, I will make progress. I will get there.

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