Learning to Walk: Reflections from my Pajama Bottoms
Is there anything better than sliding into your favorite lounging pants after a long day? I live for the moment I can jump into mine. They’re super comfy, so what if they’re too long and too big? Do I care if they’re two inches past my feet? I do not!
Aren’t they hard to walk in? Don’t you trip? No, not really (okay, not usually). I’ve adapted to the length. It’s a silly thing, really. I should hem them or cut them off, but I don’t. Why do that when I can, with a little effort, walk on the wild side and live dangerously? I got this… at least that’s what I tell myself. It did get me thinking about how we get attached to things that aren’t always good for us.
The other morning I sat at my desk wearing said pants, scribbling in my journal, and studying my daily devotion. I tried to move my leg only to discover I’d rolled over the bottom of my pants leg. It was caught under the wheels of my chair. The other leg was curled under me, and I couldn’t move it because the entire length was pinned beneath me. I couldn’t budge. Both legs were trapped!
I weighed my options. Somehow, I couldn’t bring myself to call my husband. It was five o’clock in the morning. Everyone was still asleep. I knew I’d never hear the end of it. (Trust me, he’s already got an arsenal of embarrassing stories—enough to hold over my head until Gabriel blows his horn). Not an option. I’d have to get out of this one on my own.
Suddenly, the pants I loved became a huge hindrance. Now what?
I won’t bore you with the details of how I extracted myself from my predicament, but it started me thinking. How do we devote so much time to prayer and worship, engaging in activities with hopes it will bring us closer to God, yet still find ourselves struggling with sin? We battle all sorts of obstacles like petty jealousy, anger, frustration, gossip, and get ourselves into situations we don’t know how to escape. We strive to do what is right, to embody God-like qualities, but wrestle with sin. Bear with me a minute. I promise I have a point.
Romans 7:14-18 NIV says, “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”
Basically, what Paul is saying is we have two natures. There’s the spirit man who wants to do what’s right and the old nature who wants to stop us in our tracks. And just like that, the Lord showed me that sinful nature was very much like my too-long pajama bottoms. Sin (or the sin nature) was baggy, flabby, and the excess pooled around my ankles, ready to take me down when I least expected it. You have to love it when God paints a picture using ordinary things!
But I love my PJs the way they are, I argued (much the way I indulge my sinful nature). I hate to admit it, but there’s something comforting about it. It’s familiar, easy, and too much trouble at times to alter. Although I hate it when it causes me to stumble, I often fail to do what I need to correct the problem.
Since I’m always going to have the sin nature (and probably never get around to hemming my pants) here are my top three takeaways.
Lesson #1: Slow down and alter my steps. Spiritually, I don’t want to rush through life, not paying attention to the obstacles that trip me up or God’s voice. I’m careful what I do and where I step.
Lesson #2: When I head outside my house, there’s a lot more to worry about (just like in life). I’ve learned to hold my pants up to avoid dragging them through puddles, dew, or dirt. The world is messy, and if we’re not careful, we can get mired down in problems that suck us in. Hold yourself up to God’s standards and avoid the pitfalls.
Lesson #3: When I find myself in situations where I haven’t been diligent enough and I falter despite my best effort, I know who to call. There’s One who won’t laugh at me, mock me, or condemn me for getting myself in trouble. Let’s face it, no matter how short our pants are, we’re bound to trip up at some point. Isn’t it wonderful we have a heavenly Father who is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse from all un-right-ness?
With precautions, I walk stronger and slip less. I recognize my weaknesses. I pay attention to the details and take things one step at a time. And you know what? I’m not perfect, but with a bit of diligence, I steer clear of certain pitfalls that once brought me down.
If you find yourself constantly stumbling or getting hung up over the little things in life, take a step back and make the necessary alterations. It’s not easy to change those comfy old habits we love, but it sure makes our walk safer.