A while back I bought a new diet book, a serious one: The Mayo Clinic Diet. I knew this was was more about developing a healthy lifestyle than about a "get thin quick" method. I think it was around Lent last year, so I felt somewhat virtuous just buying the book. I duly noted (in an intellectual sort of way) that the 5 new habits and breaking old habits at the beginning of the book was similar to the Lenten disciplines of giving up something for Lent and taking up a discipline.
I read the first few pages.
I saw the companion journal in the store, and thought about buying it several times. But I didn't.
I did try to walk more often in the spring and summer. In my mind I thought I was going to eat healthier and snack less. But the heel pain cut into my walking time some, and I don't really have a back-up exercise.
A little later I realized that to keep track of some of the things in the journal, I would actually have to record my weight from day to day. I didn't own a scale, so I bought one.
I didn't take it out of the box until a couple of weeks ago.
Last week I bought the journal. I haven't started using it yet.
A couple of weeks ago I went to the doctor. We were talking about my plantar faschaitis and about my family history of cholesterol. She said something about the risk of being "pre-diabetic". There is no diabetes in my family. This would totally be based on my lifestyle choices.
I've got two pedometers. I'm trying to find one of them. I have successfully pushed away a couple of desserts. And I'm working on exercise, with mixed results, so far. I lost a couple of pounds. I gained it back. That's so discouraging.
I've tried not to think of the "warning" aspect of repentance. I like to remind people that what we are turning toward is as important as what we are turning away from. I still think that's true, and that I won't be able to stick to an exercise and diet plan with only the words "pre-diabetic" in my ears.
But there are times when it is necessary to expose the unhealthy, self-centered, unjust, delusional roads we travel on. There are times we need to step on the scale, or go to the doctor, and hear that part of the truth.
I think the challenge for me right now is to figure out exactly what I am turning toward, when I turn away from the dessert and the snacks and sitting on the coach.
Can I keep plugging along even when I get on the scale and discover that it didn't go the right way this time? Can I keep on a discipline even though I fail sometimes? Can I get up and try again, and adjust when something doesn't work?
In a way, it's not such a different question than the the ones that confront me as a pastor, in my ministry. Sometimes, in my ministry, I'll confess, the scale doesn't tilt in the right direction. Sometimes when I reflect I think that I may need to change my habits, not only for my own health, but for the health and the future of my congregation.
Right now I'm evaluating both my personal health, and what habits I need to have and to develop to be an effective pastor. Some things will probably remain the same, and some things will probably change. The question in both areas is this:
"Can I keep on a discipline even though I fail sometimes? Can I get up and try again, and adjust when something doesn't work?"