Wednesday, December 27, 2023

An Invitation for the New Year

Hey folks. I was at the gym again today. I was assessing the progress (or lack thereof) I made in 2023. I remain frustrated that my percentage of body fat is higher than I would like it to be. When it comes to losing body fat, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. It's important to be very patient with ourselves because getting lean(er) does take time. As much as we might want to change, all people suffer from what psychologists call status quo bias. We tend to go back to what's familiar to us even if it might be bad for us. When I first started to train I realized that I was going to have to change what I considered "normal." Fitness had to become a part of who I am. I needed a new Operating System (OS). I needed to make a lifelong commitment to being the healthiest person I can be no matter what, to the glory of the God who created me. Folks, this is one of the most important mental paradigm shifts you can have in life. Getting healthy and staying healthy becomes a "new normal," and it succeeds because you're committed to that lifestyle long-term no matter what. You will be doing this for the rest of your life. 

For most of us, pursuing this lifestyle involves a lot of saying no -- to your poor diet, to your old lifestyle, to your self-doubt, to your laziness, to your excuses. You really do have to learn how to say no. In other words, fitness is a game of delayed gratification. You exchange having that short-term reward for achieving that greater reward later. In biblical terms, it's about crucifying yourself. You have to learn to manage your old, self-centered ego. And if you learn to do this, this can translate into more self-disciplined behavior across the board. Unfortunately, it appears that the majority of us aren't willing to make the sacrifices required to get there. Mere information is not the answer. We simply don't want to do it. Most of us want to have the results but aren't willing to put in the hard work. Like with Greek, fitness is honestly "Use it or lose it."

Let me wrap this up by asking you two questions. First, are you happy with your current body? What is your reaction when you look in the mirror right now? And second, if you're not happy with your current body, would you consider changing your lifestyle to one that is perhaps more pleasing to the Father? Now let me be clear. I'm not asking you to adopt any specific diet program. I'm not asking you to join the gym. I'm not asking you to walk three times weekly. Here's what I am asking you to do. I'm inviting you to go to God in prayer sometime between now and New Year's Day and ask him to give you the motivation it will take to adopt a "new normal" when it comes to your health and fitness. Please don't try and drum it up by yourself. We're simply not strong enough in the flesh to do this. Remember the promise of Phil. 2:13. God not only gives us the ability to do what pleases him but the desire as well. So if you haven't already done so, ask God for the motivation to change. I believe he will grant you your request if you ask with simple faith. You see, none of us can do something long-term if we don't like what we're doing. You might be able to fake it for a month. You might be able to fake it for a few months. But as a lifetime, long-term solution? No chance. Deprivation-based diets never work long-term. That's why so many diets fail. What you need is to dismiss in your own mind this concept of "I can never change." And so I ask: what are your goals? Determine your goals between you and God. I invite you to make sure that whatever you're doing with your diet is what you're happy with as long as you can consistently eat that way for a lifetime. Longevity is the key. If you're looking for quick fixes, you're in a short term mindset. The way to get a handle on your health is to look for a way that will allow you to be consistent. The fact that I generally eat clean doesn't mean that I can't have a cheat meal. Why, the other day my family invited me to have lunch with them at a fast food establishment. Not only did I agree to go with them, I gladly ordered the tastiest (and unhealthiest) meal on the menu. It was so unhealthy that I had to sign a waiver with the management before they would let me eat it. You see, nobody can stick to a deprivation-based plan for a lifetime. The goal is not just looking to lose weight short term, but to live this way and look and feel good year round, 365 days a year. 

The Bible teaches that every good and perfect gift comes from God. Ask, and you will receive. You have not because you ask not. Again, I'm not asking you to do anything on your own at this point. I am simply inviting you to ask God to give you a gift -- the gift of making a lifelong commitment to being the healthiest person you can possibly be no matter what, to the glory of the God who created you. It doesn't have to be complicated guys. That's the whole thing I try to preach here on this website. Yes, I'm happy to show you what I do and even share with you where I'm struggling in life, be it in the health and fitness department or in terms of the way I handle grief, deal with loneliness, etc. But you gotta have that certain level of dedication we're talking about today. You gotta do some self-assessment to determine where you fall in terms of your desire to make progress in this area of your life. I do know that this is the time of year when many of us will start to reassess our health, to reassess how we look, and to want to start making changes. I can't help you make those changes, but I know Someone who can. You gotta start somewhere. Why not start there, today?

Alright guys, I'm outta here. Thanks so much for reading and have a wonderful day in the Lord.