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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It all starts with a crisis

cri·sis  [krahy-sis]   noun, plural cri·ses  [krahy-seez]   , adjective, noun
a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point.

At some point, both overweight people and sinners of all stripes are confronted with a crisis.  Not necessarily the "Oh my god, my life is ending" kind of crisis, but, instead, some set of circumstances that requires a decision.  Often a life-changing decision.  In some segments of the church we talk about the moment when we become convicted (or sometimes convinced) of the reality of sin in our lives.  

In the weight loss community, we often ask one another what their "Aha moment" was.  That moment when you knew you just couldn't continue to live the obese life you'd built.  Some seem small...a look in a full length mirror, or more serious...that mom or dad who just doesn't have the flexibility or stamina to chase toddlers around, or more serious...the diagnosis of a serious weight-related disease or the death of a relative to one.  For many of us, it's some combination of the three.  When my first aha moment came, I just couldn't keep up with three teenage daughters.  Then came the death of my dad.  His issues were more complex than weight, but weight didn't help.  Finally, my knees wore out.  An orthopedic surgeon told me he could replace them, but at my age, I could expect to need as many as 5 revisions in my life time.  NOT going to happen.  I made my first decision for weight loss.

I remember facing that moment regarding my faith, as well, quite a long time ago.  I was a young sailor stationed in central California, far from home and just about anything familiar except the nagging suspicion that, somehow, my life just didn't measure up to God's standard.  I was raised in church, so that was an unsettling feeling.  The result was several years of soul-searching and scripture reading.  I quizzed pastors of two denominations and still found no satisfaction. I'm not throwing stones here.  They are both fine men.  They just didn't have what I needed.  It was finally in a little church in California where I was able to quiet my soul and finally hear His voice calling me from my sin.

I faced a crisis. I could choose to continue to live my life as I had always lived it and continue to live with my doubts and questions, or I could face that my normal, not terribly horrible life didn't please the God of Creation and that He wanted to deal with my sin.

In both cases, I knew what was needed.  There's no secret.  There's no magic.  It all started with a decision.  One to live a healthy physical life, and one to live a life submitted to the Living God who loves me better than anyone else could.  Is something holding you back from either today?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Belated introduction

I know it is customary to introduce yourself when you start a new blog, but I was so caught up in my first topic, the intro just had to wait.  So here goes:

Mea Culpa

First, I suppose the title isn't quite accurate.  In fact, it is probably backwards, but it is much more interesting the way I wrote it, so there it stays.  The relevant point will be that there are many common experiences, and I intend to share them, hopeful that seeing spiritual principles played out in real life will demystify some of the not-necessarily-so-obvious aspects of living a spiritual life in a physical world.


I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.  I could further delineate that be denomination or theological perspective, but, especially for purposes here, that information is largely irrelevant.  I have my bases covered, though.  I was baptized as an infant, confirmed as an adolescent, born-again as a young adult, and baptized again soon thereafter.  (Leaving my poor parents thoroughly confused.  I believe I told them "It just didn't take the first time")  I have been a Bible student and teacher for more years than I'm willing to confess to strangers and am considered thoroughly proficient and gifted by the Holy Spirit by those who have heard me teach.  I am not a biblical scholar.  I'm not opposed to scholarship, God simply hasn't made that path open to least not yet.

Weight Loss

I've always been heavy.  I remember as a kid, I would be shown to the "husky" section.  I'm pretty sure that term is reserved for dogs now, but it described my clothing as a child.  I wasn't huge.  Just a little bigger than normal.  After high school I enlisted in the Navy because I wanted to serve and they had the highest weight limit, and they didn't march onto fields of battle.  I didn't want to end up someplace like Vietnam (which I heard about for my entire childhood on the nightly news).  And I was too heavy for the Air Force.  That's a bit cynical, I know.  Make your judgements as you please, but if you didn't wear any of our nation's uniforms, I don't really care much what you think about that.  I managed to hold my weight for those few years, without really ever becoming fit (what a difference fitness would have made).

Marriage was a whole new experience for me weight-wise.  For my dear wife (DW) as well.  Over the next two decades, I managed to pack on about 280 pounds above my maximum "healthy" weight.  DW did much better.  She also gained weight, but not nearly as much.  She also gave birth to three children, an experience I obviously didn't have.  To the chagrin of thin people all around me, my blood pressure and blood sugar were always textbook perfect, but other aspects of my health were not so excellent.  I developed a serious case of sleep apnea, frightening DW horribly, until I finally sought out treatment.  I also wore out the cartilage in both my knees, being reduced to walk sparingly, and then with a cane.  Well, more of that story follows.

The Meeting of the Minds

I have the good fortune to facilitate a small group bible study.  Recently, I've found that many of my practical examples in the study come from my own weight loss experience.  And, that's what leads to the theme of this blog.  I have found the correlations very helpful, if only minutely profound, and I thought I'd take the opportunity to "think out loud", and, hopefully find some kindred spirits.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Joy in the Journey, an Epiphany

Joy is one of those elusive topics for me, as a believer.  I read about it, I hear it preached and occasionally, very occasionally, I hear someone say they've experienced it.  I've struggled with my lack of joy for some time.  That's not to say I'm a Grumpy Gus.  I work hard to maintain a positive attitude.  And I've heard some try to reduce the "Joy of the Lord" to a positive attitude.  That kind of reductionism never seemed to work for me.  I expect it to be something bigger, fuller and more life altering that PMA (positive mental attitude).

Two experiences came together for me this morning.  First was to read the blog of a friend at the Spark People weight loss community website  This friend has gone through a really tough patch recently with illness in the family, financial worries, her personal stress and then her dog even took ill. One of the things that attracted me to this young woman was the constant drive and joy she seemed to take in her journey to fitness as she regularly reported her latest race run, or objective achieved.  Of course, with all the stress in her life, she got distracted from her fitness goals.  Understandable.  But she seems almost frantic about getting back on the right track.  Her joy had been robbed.

Earlier this year, I started training to walk a 5k with a friend from church.  Our early morning walks have become such a delight that the time goes quickly, as did the 5k.  It was almost two months ago, and we're still walking, finding our joy in the journey.  I have come to believe that, as long as we draw breath, there are no real destinations, only mileposts.  Our joy is not in the arriving, but in the journey.  Every morning, my walk starts and ends in front of my own house.  If I were focused on the destination, I'd be bored.  If I were only focused on the goal of being healthier or thinner, I would be frustrated when my weight fluctuated or when my aging joints thwarted my walking pace.  My joy is in the journey and the company I keep.

I hope, for my Spark Friend, that she will rediscover the joy in the journey.  Michael Card wrote a song about that journey and it has been a favorite of mine, even when I struggle to experience joy.  Here from

"Joy in the Journey" by Michael Card