Saturday, July 22, 2006

Life Change

I spent today with my three kids at a water park here in Phoenix not unlike water parks all over the country in that they 1)Are excessively uneconomical. 2)Have at least one water slide that goes fast enough to burn a layer of skin off of parts of my body touching the molded polycarbonate plastic on the way down (that’s really true!) and 3)Are filled with lots and lots of people of all different shapes and sizes that in all honesty should probably be wearing more clothes rather than less clothes in public. I am not a health nut and even if I was it would be bad form (sorry, I must have picked this up from my British friends… actually I only have one British friend… and I don’t think I’ve ever heard him say, “bad form”…) anyhow, it would be bad form for me to poke fun at people who are not ‘in shape’. Although I don’t advocate being ‘out of shape’ we all have issues and my thought here is going a different direction anyhow. I did a little research about health and dieting (,, or for that matter just google diets) and found something not surprising: Of the 50 million or so Americans who will go on a diet this year less than 5 percent will keep the weight off long-term. The results confirm what most of us already generally know: Diets are short-term. If you want long-term health it takes life change.
Can I just make a comment here? The same applies in all areas of life. If you want long-term financial health it takes life change. (i.e. saving, forgoing immediate gratification, avoiding debt, etc…). If you want long-term, healthy relationships it will take life change. (i.e. large volumes of forgiveness, strong listening skills, embracing healthy conflict not avoiding it, etc…).

And the point begs to be made… If you want long-term spiritual health it will take life change. Digest this for a moment…
A)Spiritual health is not achieved in 30 days. Some of you reading this are new believers. Yes, you are on the most incredible journey of your life and yes, right now you are feeling invincible. But the feeling will most likely fade. That’s all right. Feelings come and go. Your goal should be pursuing passion, trust, faith and belief not your feelings. (There’s a whole bunch I’d like to say about that but it’s too much for this entry. Email me if you’d like.)
B)Spiritual health is not achieved without a price. I don’t mean just the price of a journal and giving some of your income a way each week to a charitable organization. I mean it in the most intense sense. I think it was T.S. Elliot who said something like this (and regarding Elliot, #1you are more than welcome to correct me if I’m wrong on this being his quote and either way, #2 uh… he was really good.) “If you want to be someone you are not, you will have to go through the way you haven’t.” The reason you haven’t gone that ‘way’ is because it will cost you something and you know it.
C)Spiritual health is not fast, fun or easy. It’s full of joy, peace, hope, adventure and more. But I would never characterize it as fast (see point A), fun (see and live point B) or easy (combine A and B together and add a season or two of life). But why did you ever think it would be easy in the first place? Did some well-intentioned but shallow co-worker offer that idea? Did the big-haired-preacher lead you down that path? Did the voices in your own head tempt you? Regardless, it’s not true. I think the Apostle Paul had good reason to use the word “mystery” over twenty times in his letters. Spiritual health is not conquering all the questions, rather it’s celebrating the mystery.

So, don’t buy into the extravagant claims about diets or anything else for that matter. Changing your life is not pain-free. Be strong, make good habits, don’t fear, love without limits, persevere, be authentic and build patience by being around ‘lots and lots of people of all shapes and sizes’.

renovare, j

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