Let me set the stage for you by giving you some facts. Not looking for sympathy…just stating a reality. It’s a little bit heavy – but I am getting to the good part I promise.
1. I have a heart disease. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. I was diagnosed when I was about 30. It was a blessing I found out about it as I could have died at any point with no warning. I am under treatment and will be for the rest of my life. I was a pretty active guy up until this point and then everything came to a halt…except my eating. Which leads to fact #2.
2. I am overweight. I currently am at 235lbs. I have been as high as 240 about a year ago. When I met my wife in 1999, I weighed around 185! Because of my change in activity levels and my inability to change my dietary intake (not to mention my slowing metabolism)…I look like and feel like crap. No literally. I feel bad. I have no energy and a lot of the time I would just as soon lay in the bed than actually do anything. It has zapped my energy and motivation. But the effects have been even more sinister than that….
3. I have a liver disease too! Just collecting illnesses here! I have NASH. Basically hepatitis (a little worse than fatty liver) not due to alcohol consumption. There basically is no treatment for this. Once the damage is done it is done. You can only hope to slow your role by changing your lifestyle basically…and you see how serious I have taken that! All of these health issues have led to…
4. Depression. I actually have developed bi-polar tendencies. After years of feeling like crap and quite a bit of self-loathing, there has been a real, physical effect on my brain. I cycle through days of “soft” mania followed by a day or two…sometimes more…of the bottom falling out. My main symptoms are anger (for no good reason), lack of motivation, sense of always being overwhelmed, anxiety and a profound sadness that yes has progressed (although rarely) to the depth of suicidal thoughts. I am a Christian and a pastor and I understand how many think you can just throw a verse or two of scripture at it and it will go away but that has not been true for me. I have had to seek medication in the past just to give me some sense of balance so I can function but it is almost a constant battle. It is embarrassing (as people have seen me act in some weird ways) and downright hurtful (as I have had to watch my family put up with something you feel no control over)!
So in a nutshell….this is where I am. I certainly have some great positive things in my life and I am not ignoring them. I thank God for them regularly. But they are not the point of this blog. 😉 what I am aware of and have been for some time is that I have some major issues. They may not seem so to you…but they are to me. I need to change or my life is going to be a wee bit shorter than I would hope for. I want to see my kids grow up. I want to grow old with my wife. I want to feel better about myself. I want to change.
Recently I ran across a blog site called “Zen Habits” by Leo Babauta (zenhabits.net) Don’t crucify me just yet Christian friends…I have not converted to another faith. But this guy intrigued me as he had something of a similar story (with his own issues of course) and he decided to change his story! What’s even better is he wrote about it along the way and he continues to write about it.
I have been wrestling with my own issues for a while but I never had a solid plan of action on what to do about them. I had never run across something as practical as what I was seeing on this guy’s site. Everything I tend to run across is either simply diagnostic in nature (I.e. “This is why you suck”) but never helps you actually take positive steps to improve or it hooks you in and then tries to sell you a program tied to a book or what not! I finally found something that was practical and that was what I have needed to see. I needed to see someone who had decided to tackle these monster life issues but do it in a real, straightforward way and share it with the world. It was…well…inspiring.
So, I have decided to try something similar. I don’t want to simply make more “resolutions” or try some massive overnight overhaul of everything as I frankly don’t think that works for me as I have been there, done that. I want to make small, simple commitments to myself that gradually build into a larger picture of lifestyle change over time. I believe that to be sustainable.
So here is how I plan on doing it.
For the next year, I am going to make a new commitment to myself every week that will eventually lead me to making some major changes. I hope to be a different dude a year from now. I have already been brainstorming changes I would like to make…and I have 21 written down already. So I am good to go for at least 5 months or so! 🙂
I am also planning to document my journey on my blog. Why? Mainly for myself. I am using it for my own accountability. If I know I have to publicly answer, follow up and explain my commitments I will be more apt to stick with it. But also, maybe someone, someday, will actually read through my blog and be inspired to make some changes for themselves much like I was with Zen Habits. Who knows? Until then…. It’s time to do work! I will begin this coming Monday with my Week 1 commitment! I will publish a blog telling you about it and then let you know how it went in the next week’s blog. Pray for me as I begin this journey of spiritual and physical health and wholeness!
PS- I will be posting this on the site of the church I pastor (The Bridge) simply for practical reasons…I am too lazy to set up and design a whole new blog site right now. Maybe someday in the future I will make that change too!