Fit for a King: A Challenge for 2009

This afternoon, I'm sitting in a coffee shop in Milledgeville, working on my sermon for Sunday.  It's been a busy week and I'm playing catch up on my day off while also trying to help my wife's family with readjusting the house for Nana's return home from the hospital. 

Despite the fact that I'm working some on my day off, I'm proud of myself for what I've accomplished this week.  It's been a busier week than usual and next week will probably be worse, but I've managed to fit in all of my exercise routines this week. 

The week after Christmas, I took my bonus check and went shopping.  I searched athletic stores, department stores, and cycle shops for a new bike.  I haven't had a bike since college and I've never ridden for the purpose of exercise.  I finally found a hybrid, billed to be sufficient for road riding and some moderate trails.  I downloaded a six-week plan to get me up to 10 miles and I've started to ride.

I've tried to lose weight before, always to no avail.  I ignore the scale and I dread visits to the doctor because I know I'm going to get the weight loss talk.  This year, I'm exercising and changing my eating habits for a different purpose - for faith. 

Every year, local gyms fill up in January and are usually empty again by February or March.  People everywhere try to lose weight and get healthy, and statistically, 55% of people that make a genuine attempt fail within six months.  Why?  Is it willpower?  Is it conflicts with our time?  I think it's motivation.

I've tried losing weight.  I fail because I want to thin down for selfish reasons.  I will succeed this time because my goals are based on the perception that my health is important to my faith and following God's will.  If I'm healthy, I potentially increase my life in length and depth.  I'll be more able to do what I need to now and I'll still be able when I'm 80.

I miss the days that I weighed less than 200.  Sure, I miss being able to walk around without a shirt and not disgust people, but even more, I miss the ability to keep up with others and not be short of breath or ready to die.  I miss the feeling I used to get after walking 18 or 36 holes of golf, riding a 10 mile mountain bike trail, taking a 3-day canoe trip, or playing backyard ball with friends.  I miss being able to outlast everybody else on a mission trip construction project.  I will be back to that.

This Sunday, I'm challenging my congregation to do the same.  Whether you're 9, 90, or anywhere in-between, there is a way that you can nurture your health, and in so doing, nurture your faith.  When we recognize our significance as part of God's creation and plan, we learn to love ourselves.  When we love ourselves, we understand what it means to truly love others as we love ourselves.  When we love others, we love God.

Right now, I'm 6'0" and 240 lbs.  My goal isn't 200 lbs.  My goal is to be healthier and more able.  I'll keep you posted on how I'm progressing and I invite you to join me in this challenge.  If you're in the area and you need some accountability, come ride with me.

Tommy, it's butt-kicking time!