How many times do you think you’ve heard the term “mind blown” in the past week? Month? Year? Perhaps you used it yourself not but 2 minutes ago to describe the crazy good burrito you just destroyed over lunch? Or that new sushi joint you discovered across town? Or in exasperation over the latest fidget spinner craze? I know that this generation tends to throw this phrase around far too much, but I think I came close to actually experiencing it this morning. My mind was *quite* blown…at least compared to how it usually feels about itself. That is to say, while I seem to elicit occasional praise and encouragement by impressing others, it’s been a while since I’ve been significantly impressed with or surprised by myself.
Let me go back a bit.
The last time I flew on an airplane was returning home from my parent’s house in D.C. this past Christmas. At that time my physical health was probably the poorest it’s ever been. I weighed 235lbs, which for some people might not seem like much, but the numbers didn’t matter to me as much as how I felt. I was miserable. I ate whatever I wanted, and I drank too much too often (not enough to get drunk, but enough to dull the pain of a hard season of life that a few close friends and family are aware of). I’m sure I’ll share more about that season sometime, but it’ll have to wait for now. Regardless, there came a point where the decision to change something was increasingly necessary. As a husband to an amazing wife, father to incredible children, and the son of a faithful heavenly Father, I knew I had far too many blessings in my life to give in to depression. It was time to start moving forward.
Back to today:
I mentioned “the last time I flew on an airplane” because as I write this, my family and I leave for a long anticipated vacation to Kona, HI for 12 days. We’ve been looking forward to this trip for what has been in the minds of our 3, 4, and 6 year old children: an absolute eternity. As I finished packing one of our suitcases I stepped onto the scale to check and see if it would accommodate the TSA requirement of 50lbs or less. If you’ve travelled with multiple small children before you know that every suitcase counts, so we had this thing packed as close to that number as we possibly could. Before I could bust out the calculator to differentiate the weight of the suitcase from my own bodyweight I couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing on the scale. As I held the suitcase in my arms the screen read 236.4lbs: almost exactly what I had weighed less than 6 months ago. I was literally holding the weight that I had lost in that period of time. I began stepping on and off the scale with and without the suitcase as many times as it took for me to convince myself of what had happened. From 236.4 to 189.4. I was holding a 47lb bag in my hands.
Anyone who knows me is probably wondering at this point how the heck I pulled that off? While that’s an impressive amount of weight to lose in a short period of time, I really can’t take much credit for it at all. My wife is one of the most disciplined and hard working people I know. When she began this new eating plan called “Trim Healthy Mama” (I’m stoked about the plan…not the name), I determined myself to be as committed to the lifestyle as she was. She had the misfortunate of getting pregnant almost as soon as she began the diet (sorry babe ;-)), but this made me want to stay faithful to this new way of eating all the more.
Now PLEASE KNOW…this is not about to be a sales pitch for “Trim Healthy Mama,” or a ploy to convince you to pursue eating according to their plan. If you want to talk about it that’s cool, but believe me--I have many things I’m infinitely more passionate about (the grace of Jesus that saves the lost, the strength of coffee that satisfies our souls, the power of expertly crafted metal-core breakdowns to lift our spirits, etc…). I’m only sharing this experience from my life as a sort of testament to what God himself has graciously begun on the inside of me.
It’s interesting how many biblical truths begin to come alive when you begin taking care of yourself. Galatians tells me that I will always harvest what I plant. When I live only to satisfy my own sinful nature I will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature, but when I live to please the Spirit I harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. I’ve been involved in full time ministry for the better part of a decade and I can tell you this: the battle to take back my soul and continually commit it to Jesus is as present today as it was when I first started. Life has its highs and lows, and serving God in ministry is absolutely no exception to the rule. But if I’m honest with myself, I’ve not always been faithful to plant and harvest in the right places. In the seasons of lows, I found myself turning to the lesser pleasures of this world as momentary distractions from the pain.
Giving in to the appetites of my own sinful nature began piling on all of this additional weight that He never intended for me, both emotionally and literally. By the grace of God, and with a little help from my wife, I’ve begun to see that being mindful in what I choose to eat can have tremendous effects on the rest of what flows from my life.
Here’s something else I didn’t expect to happen: as I began eating better food and ridding my diet of unnecessary garbage, I found that I had significantly more energy. So much so that I woke up one day with an overwhelming urge to go running (Wait, what? Running?! Who does that? Well I DO THAT NOW, THAT’S WHO!) I go running, and I clean more, and I have greater ambition to produce and create and get off of my butt and I can’t believe the difference in how I feel 50lbs later. I also can’t believe how little I accomplished before now.
This blog is a small part in the beginning of a new season in my life. I want to give back to my friends and family what they’ve always given me: encouragement to carry on and move forward. We need that from each other. Every testimony from my life, it doesn’t just belong to me. Many of you wouldn’t know it, but I’ve gotten to experience some pretty amazing things in these past several years—almost too many to recount when I really sit down and think about it—but perhaps that’s another reason why I’m here. As much as it might demand some deeper vulnerability and a bit of soul searching from time to time, I’m committed to the journey if you’ll just lend me a few moments in your day. It’s been a while since I’ve really written anything so some grace will be needed as I learn to express myself, but ultimately I trust we’ll both be better off because of it ;)
So may these entries bring you hope and build your faith. As weird as they might read at times, may they encourage you in the knowledge that if God can use a basket case like me then He can certainly use you too. I pray the Lord gives you the grace to let go of whatever weight is holding you back from living a fulfilled life. I pray that you one day are made aware of just how heavy that weight is, and that you run to the only One worthy of all of our attention in this world. May you at times be just as privileged as I’ve been to hold the weight of your past and see how far you’ve come. And may whatever comes of this result in you drawing closer and closer to the God who loves you enough to blow your mind from time to time.
Thanks for listening,
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14