Tanning and other (almost) impossible things

by Larry Hehn on May 27, 2011

surf's upI spent this past week trying to get a tan.

I don’t tan easily.

My blogging brothers Mo and Tony don’t have this affliction. Mo and Tony are the alluring, rich, dark chocolate wafers of an Oreo cookie.

I am the pasty white filling.

Hey, I’m not looking to be the next George Hamilton, the human equivalent of burnt toast. And I know that I’ll never be a pumpernickel (if you know what I mean). But I’d really like to move my color up from Wonder bread white to at least 40% whole wheat.

I just want to graduate from “sickly pale” to “healthy fair”. Is that too much to ask?

In all my attempts at tanning, I’ve discovered four different approaches:

  1. Not enough. I don’t stay in the sun long enough for it to make a difference, and nothing happens.
  2. Too much. I try to get all my tanning done in one sitting, and wind up with a painful sunburn. I then shy away from the sun for a long time. I soon fade from lobster red, back to my original milky white.
  3. Inconsistent. I get enough sun for freckles to form, but not enough for an all-over tan. Close, but no cigar.
  4. Just right. With consistent, regular exposure my skin will gradually gain a full, healthy glow.

The “just right” method takes time and effort. The change can be so gradual that it may not even be noticed from one day to the next. But it’s the only one that works.

Of course, this applies to a whole lot more than tanning.

Have you ever tried similar approaches with your prayer life, or reading scripture?

Which one of the four approaches is the most familiar to you?

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

mo May 27, 2011 at 8:05 pm

With prayer? in the past, I’ve done the “too much” approach where I set up unsustainable goals. instead of sustained relationship, I’ve tried to shoot for the quick fix.

man, I could go for an Oreo right about now.
mo recently posted..262- Broken Humility- Broken PrideMy Profile


Larry Hehn May 27, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Now that you mention it Mo, I could use an Oreo or two myself.
There might be a road trip before the night is over.


Cindy Holman May 27, 2011 at 9:22 pm

I like Oreos. Oh the question. I’m VERY fair skinned and have to wear sun block – in my earlier life (a teenager) I wanted to be black like everyone else and I’m sure I’ve done damage to my skin – although I’m very protective of it now. Being consistent is something I strive for – but fall short 🙁
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Larry Hehn May 27, 2011 at 10:14 pm

We’re a lot more aware of protecting ourselves from the sun these days, aren’t we Cindy? I bought a new swimsuit this week and was surprised to see that it had an SPF rating of 50 or something like that. I guess some people are even worried about sunburning through their clothes!


Jon May 27, 2011 at 10:47 pm

You know…I don’t have that problem either. And I think I’m darker then Mo and Tony.

But definitely when it comes to the spiritual. I think consistency is one of my biggest issues. It’s something that I’m striving to become better at. Growing daily and going deeper.
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Larry Hehn May 27, 2011 at 11:39 pm

You are definitely the ebony to my ivory, Jon.
Anyone else feel a song coming on…?


Jon May 28, 2011 at 12:34 am

Hahaha. The dusk to dawn. The night to day? Hahaha.
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Ben May 28, 2011 at 9:21 am

I’m definitely inconsistent, but I’ve found the plans in Youversion to be helpful when it comes to reading.

As far as the prayer life goes, I’m OK with saying it’s just right, right now. I’ve definitely come from “not enough,” but now it’s the first thing I do in the morning. It completely changes how I start the day.
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Larry Hehn May 28, 2011 at 11:52 pm

Awesome, Ben. Keep it going!


Michael May 28, 2011 at 10:30 am

Whew. With tanning it’s not consistent. With my prayer and devotional life it’s the same thing. But that’s why I get up so early. I have to be intentional about spending time with the Lord.
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Larry Hehn May 28, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Yep, it sure helps to purposefully set time aside. Even for tanning!


Tony Alicea May 28, 2011 at 10:44 am

I want to go for the too much prayer method. I want my prayer life to be burned to a crisp.

Wait…did I lose the metaphor somewhere?
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Larry Hehn May 28, 2011 at 11:54 pm

I think you added a whole new dimension to the metaphor, Tony.
I like it!


Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) May 28, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Living in Calgary, I just offer up prayers of “no more snow” in June. Tanning is a bonus.
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Larry Hehn May 28, 2011 at 11:56 pm

So much for global warming, eh?


dustin May 30, 2011 at 9:50 am

With prayer … inconsistent at times. I need to be intentional about it each morning.

With tanning … just right. 😉 I’m not really dark, but I’d like to think my spanish blood gives me some good tanning.


Larry Hehn May 31, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Let’s aim for both our prayer lives to match your tanning, Dustin!


Annie May 31, 2011 at 10:44 am

I tan much like you it seems. With the “just right” approach I look great by August. And then summer is over.

With bible study, the “just right” approach is perfect for me. But it’s an imperfect world and I cycle through all four approaches it seems.

Love the oreo analogy.
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Larry Hehn May 31, 2011 at 5:52 pm

I feel for you, Annie. Let’s stay optimistic – this could be the year of the best tan yet!


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