Anyone else have problems with gaining too much weight? For most of my life this hasn’t been an issue for me. I was always the skinny kid. In college for a Physical Education course I took a running course. This was in the summer in Texas. Perhaps not my wisest choice! One day the coach was showing us how to measure the percentage of fat in our body. I was chosen as the volunteer to be measured, with the coach saying he didn’t want to embarrass anyone. Now that I’m in my 50’s, I don’t think that the coach would choose me!
A couple of months ago I had a chance to visit with a friend that I had not seen for ten years. I asked her if I looked the same (probably not a good question to ask!)? She said: “You have filled in a lot, but you look healthy”. The truth is that this past year has been a time of setting new personal records for being “the heaviest that I have ever been”. The funny thing is that the heavier I was getting, the less I was weighing myself. I didn’t really want to be reminded of my issues.
One of my biggest issues is that I’m not a fan of exercising. Through the years I have tried doing a lot of different exercise routines, but didn’t enjoy most of them. Some of them that I did enjoy, like mushing, don’t work well in the desert. There are two questions that I find to be pertinent to most situations, including this one. They are: “What change can I make” and “What change am I willing to make”? Out of these two questions, I think that the latter one is more important.
I don’t really have the time, energy, or motivation to make radical changes. This is me being honest. So, what am I willing to do? I have always enjoyed going for walks, though I had stopped even doing walks on a regular basis. I decided that I’m willing to take a forty minute walk (it started at thirty minutes, then I increased it) at least five times a week. In the last thirty-four days I have gone for twenty-nine walks. Just by doing this modest change in my life, I have already lost seven pounds. I have also found this to be a really peaceful time in my daily routine that I have quickly come to value.
My theory is that improving ourselves is about identifying bad habits, and replacing them with good habits. These bad habits, though, can become very comfortable. Sometimes we refuse to even think about them, much less talk about them. What about you? Do you have any challenges, or bad habits, in your life that need to be changed? If so, what are you willing to do?
Some of these same questions can be applied to our churches. Do we have any challenges, or bad habits, in our churches? Have we become comfortable with these bad habits? Some of these bad habits might be making it difficult for new people to become active in our churches. If we are wondering why our churches are not growing, or are not growing as fast as we think they should, looking at our bad habits is a good thing to do. Then we come back to our two questions. What changes could we make? What changes are we willing to make?
As hard as it is to make personal changes, it is way harder to make changes in a church. With personal changes, we just have to convince ourselves that we need to make a change. In the church, we have to convince at least the majority of those involved that a change is needed. I have experienced in churches how hard it is to make minor changes, like changing the color of the paint on the walls. What happens when we have major changes to make?
Our Desert Southwest Conference is calling on us to be a Courageous Church: Loving Like Jesus; Acting For Justice; and United in Hope. If we faithfully do this as a church, we can have a huge positive impact on both our communities and on our world. How is our church doing? Do we have any changes that we need to make to achieve this vision?
Your brother on the journey, Mark