This morning I wanted 20 minutes of "alone time" to follow along with an exercise DVD. My children had eaten breakfast, they were happily playing with toys, and my husband was downstairs reading, so I carried my laptop upstairs where I locked myself in my room and proceeded to do jumping jacks, push-ups, etc.
Five minutes into the routine, my two-year-old made somebody mad, squealing emerged from multiple mouths, and my husband needed to start getting ready for work (I was totally in his way). My son started pounding on the bedroom door, pleading with me to come downstairs, and my husband tried to coerce him to go play for just a few more minutes until Mommy was done exercising.
Dripping with sweat and feeling sufficiently annoyed with the circumstances, I said, "It would be easier if I didn't exercise."
My husband got a smile on his face and said, "Yes. Yes it would." And I knew what he was thinking. Life would be easier if we didn't try to do hard things (that's a no-brainer), but we're not looking for easy. We're looking for progress. And progress requires work.
This photo below makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. The other morning, I woke up early to study my scriptures and get some work done on Power of Moms and the classes I'm teaching at BYU Idaho's Education Week at the end of this month. Here I am at 7:10 a.m. in all my glory--no make-up, my hair back in a ponytail, sitting in my office, which is currently stacked with books, boxes, and all kinds of things my husband and I are processing.
What usually happens is this: Spencer (age 2) wakes up at 5:30, and I take him downstairs where he gets a diaper change, a sippy cup of milk, and his choice of a cartoon (usually Barney or Diego). Then my older children wake up, join Spencer downstairs, eat some cereal, and then play with toys, read, etc. for a little while.
Then when they are tired of that, they all come sit right next to me and "help" me work. Spencer likes to type on the computer, so I tell him which letters to push (I type 10, he types 1, and so on...). The girls like to know what I'm working on, so I read them my notes, show them my PowerPoints, and ask for advice on making my classes or articles more interesting.
Then when I feel like I'm going crazy (usually about three minutes into this process), I shut the computer, and we all go downstairs to get the day started.
Would it be easier if I didn't try to do anything "extra"? Do I sometimes feel like I'm about to go insane? But do I know that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing right now? Yes on all counts.
Life requires a struggle, but I don't need to be afraid of struggle. It has the power to strengthen us, help us become a little more bold, and give us a few more reasons to be happy.
So next time you think, "It would be easier if I didn't __________," just smile, recommit yourself to excellence, and say, "Yes. Yes it would."