Friday, August 08, 2008

It's Worth It

The radio turned on at 5:23am. Opening my eyes felt like pulling apart two freshly glued pieces of paper. The breeze from the fan seemed to instantly dry my already dried out eyes. I had a choice before me ... get up to play some basketball or smack the clock radio, roll over and fall back asleep.

I know from past experience that I should never think about this decision while in bed. I know that I should quickly get up and get into the bathroom where I can turn on the light and wake up.

I force myself to do it. I throw the covers off and put my feet on the ground. I know I've won.

After I arrive at the gym and have played the first game of basketball, I sit on the floor, wiping my face with a towel and realize how much fun it is playing early morning basketball. It is good to think about this because I am reinforcing my resolve to get up in those first few critical minutes after the alarm radio turns on.

Like scripture study, like prayer, like attending the temple ... I've found that when I've taken that first step, the rest becomes easy and I enjoy it and am glad to have done it. But it all needs reinforcing ... we need to remember why we are doing what we should be doing - because we find joy in it. This will help us make the initial step when it is time to get up to exercise or to pray or to study or to attend the temple or to do whatever we should be doing but don't exactly "feel like doing it."

I remember reading a quote by Brigham Young on the topic of prayer. He said,

Some of the brethren come to me and say, “Brother Brigham, is it my duty to pray when I have not one particle of the spirit of prayer in me?” True, at times, men are perplexed and full of care and trouble, their ploughs and other implements are out of order, their animals have strayed and a thousand things perplex them; yet our judgment teaches us that it is our duty to pray, whether we are particularly in the spirit of praying or not. My doctrine is, it is your duty to pray; and when the time for prayer comes, John should say, “This is the place and this is the time to pray; knees bend down upon the floor, and do so at once.” But John said, “I do not want to pray; I do not feel like it.” Knees get down, I say; and down bend the knees, and he begins to think and reflect. Can you say anything? Can you not say, God have mercy on me a sinner? Yes, he can do this, if he can rise up and curse his neighbor for some ill deeds. Now, John, open your mouth and say, Lord, have mercy upon me. “But I do not feel the spirit of prayer.” That does not excuse you, for you know what your duty is (DBY, 45). “Chapter 6: The Communication between God and Man,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 41

So the next time you're faced with something you don't feel like doing, but you know you should, just do it ... take the first step; take the plunge and the rest will follow.