During most of my adult life, one of my mantras has been, "Work hard, play hard." Growing up poor meant learning to work at a young age. It became necessary that I grew up fast and matured in ways many of my peers didn't need to at that stage of their development. Like many of you, the Protestant work ethic is an integral part of my self-understanding and ingrained in my very being.
2020 created a great deal of opportunity for pastors to grow and learn new ways to minister. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve Christ in new ways, reach new people through new platforms, and find new ways to be a faith community. Thank you for your love, support, and patience. We wouldn't have made it this far without one another.
Playing hard seemed to always come naturally for me because, at heart, I am just a big kid. During the "lost year," so much of what I usually did to take time off had to change. We spent a lot of time at the swimming pool as a family because that was one of the few things we felt safe doing. We also went to the lake a couple of times, thanks to some of our friend's generosity.
Working hard has been a way for me to advance and gain new employment opportunities in a given career field. It didn't take too long for me to realize that showing up regularly along with hard work opens doors that otherwise might remain closed. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to take hard work to an extreme level, which becomes unhealthy for me and detrimental to my family relationships.
The pandemic left me with too many unsightly bulges and too much extra weight. Stress and overeating took their toll on my girlish figure. For about a month now, I have been tracking caloric intake, exercise, and water consumption. I've found it challenging to change one's habits, particularly when it comes to food. Sunday following worship, I had plans to go to Champs Gym and lift weights.
My kids had both expressed a yen to see a movie (and of course not the same movie). It didn't come as much of a surprise that both of the films they wanted to see happened to be playing at the same place at the same time. There's that balance thing again.
There was a choice to make-spend time with my kids, doing something fun, or sticking to my plan and doing what I felt obligated to do. We went to the movies, and I picked them up a pizza on the way home. I did not eat the pizza, but I sure was tempted. After dinner, I took Sam to the pool and spent time diving, jumping, and playing beachball.
Change is hard. It requires determination, commitment, and time to replace good habits for poor ones. It helps if you take the time to understand that change is not just a what, like eating less and exercising more. Real, sustainable change requires us to delve into our psychology and ask hard questions about ourselves. For instance, what are the behaviors and attitudes that need alteration?
This morning I stepped on the scale and weighed 10 pounds lighter than when I began the endeavor: ten down and at least fifty to go. It's getting a little easier every day, and it's achievable if I remain persistant. Hopefully, I will make some lasting changes that improve my health and increase my ability to be a better husband, father, pastor, and friend. Small steps can lead to significant transformations.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17