Re-Evaluating My Time (What’s Different?, Part 2 of 5)

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First off, I want to apologize for my lack of updates recently. It has been a crazy few months! As you can see from the photo above, Kirsten and I have been all over the place ūüôā I will be posting a bit on the trip that we were able to take and some of the highlights later, but with the bit of time I have left today, I wanted to talk about something that has been a huge part of my weight loss: time.

This series is a short series on five things that have really helped me in my weight loss journey. I can honestly say that I have tried to lose weight numerous times before and have fallen short quickly (after a lack of results or physical pain that I was feeling). This series, titled ‘what’s different’ is my attempt to answer that question for you all to hopefully spur on those who are on a similar journey. This week I want to talk quickly about time.

Time is a funny Thing…¬†

When I started thinking about weight loss, one of the biggest excuses that came to my mind was: I don’t have enough time! Going to the gym can take over an hour (at least), cooking healthy food can take a while, logging food into myfitnesspal is a bit of a time waster…. And to top it off, getting unhealthy food from McDonalds is so convenient…

The issue of time doesn’t just account in moments of convenience.. time is an issue in GENERAL because weight loss takes so long. Getting to the weight I need to be at is something that will take a lot of time and, to be honest, it’s something that I am not sure I am always willing to wait for.

Once I realized that I was thinking in this way I realized that my view of time was really hindering me from living a healthy lifestyle.. Something needed to change.

We Make Time for What we Want to Make Time For…¬†

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I’ll be honest here. It did not take me very long to realize that I actually DID have time in my day. As soon as I started exercising, logging food, and trying to stop eating out of convienence the shows on my PVR piled up and the time wasters that I had indulged in *cough* clash of clans *cough* (among other games etc.) stopped taking up so much of my days. Don’t get me wrong, I still watch TV and play games, but it’s after the other things are done!

One of the hardest things I’ve had to do was look at my priorities. I made a list of my values and priorities, the things that I cared about. I then had to carefully discern, from that list, what was actually a value and what was an ‘ideal’ (something that I didn’t actually value because it was not something that I invested any time into). When weight loss and health becomes a priority and the excuse of ‘I don’t have enough time for this’ is exposed… this is able to happen because those things have moved from ideal values to actual values.

Let’s use today for example. I have to be at the House of prayer in 2 hours, but I haven’t gone to the gym today. I’ve structured my whole day so I could get all of my work done in order to go to the gym before HoPE. Will I be rushed, probably, but I value and prioritize this now.

I want to encourage you to ask yourself the hard questions – do I actually value weight loss and healthy eating? How can I make these things a priority in my life.

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Conquering Objections… (What’s Different? Series Part 1 of 5)

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I took the photo above this morning at the gym. I am holding a 45 lb. weight.. that is roughly the amount¬†of weight that I have lost in the last 3 months. It’s pretty crazy to think about the reality that I was carrying around this much weight all of the time!

So What has Changed? 

As I shared in my last blog post, weight loss has been something that I have tried to do time and time again. I have often failed very quickly after mustering up some motivation… but this time, something is different. I wanted to address that quickly in my blog posts for the next little while. Hopefully this will resonate for some of you!

1. I realized that I was catering to objections rather than truths: In a counselling session, my counselor and I were talking about why I didn’t want to lose weight, what some of the ‘objections’ that I had to losing weight were… “I don’t have the time to excercise,”¬†“food is an idol and I don’t want to give up certain foods or the freedom of eating what I want, when I want,” “I don’t have the emotional energy to lose weight,” “I don’t deserve to be skinny (as if my being overweight was some sort of equalizer for my lack of self esteem…”¬†to be honest, the list goes on.

What my counselor had me do next was weird.. she had me walk up and down the stairs outside of her office. After doing so, I returned to her office and she asked me a question: “What was easier, writing down the objections or walking up and down the stairs?” I said to her “walking up and down the stairs,” she said “then why do you keep living in all of those objections rather than just doing something¬†about it and¬†exercising?” I didn’t have an answer.

What I learned on that day was that I had been catering to objections rather than truth.

As I understand them, objections are lies or excuses in my mind (either subconscious¬†or conscious)¬†that ‘object’ to making positive and healthy choices… the problem is that I was giving these objections so much power.

The Bible actually talks about this a bit in Romans 7.. Check it out:

18¬†For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19¬†For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20¬†Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. –Romans 7:18-20

So, our Spirit’s desire to walk in wholeness and health while our flesh desires to act on things that are not healthy. Our flesh objects to our Spirit’s. But the good news is that we are not live under subjection to our flesh, we are to live under subjection to Spirit.

9¬†But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10¬†But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit[i] is life because of righteousness.11¬†If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ[j]from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.¬†–Romans 8:9-11

God’s Spirit lives in ME and gives me the power to overcome the objections of my flesh and live healthy: the way that HE intends me to live! As soon as I learned that the excuses I was making were actually holding me back from being healthy, I realized that these objections needed to (and can) be put in their place! Part of overcoming these objections has been a daily request for the Holy Spirit to give me strength when my flesh wants to make an unwise choice. As you can see, the results have been amazing!

Questions to consider:¬†What ‘objections’ do you face when you think about your own journey to wholeness and health? What lies may be fuelling those objections? What would it look to silence those objections and ‘go up and down the stairs.’

Sharing my Journey

Throughout my entire life, one of the biggest struggles that I have consistently faced has been maintaining a healthy weight. I have always had a passion for sports, but I would have to admit¬†that I have never had an ‘athletic’ build or even a healthy BMI. What I’ve realized recently is that I have been using my body type as an excuse not to eat healthy and not to excercise. This, along with many other excuses, needed to be thrown to the wayside – I needed to get serious.

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After hitting a home run in little league. Growing up loved sports, but that didn’t always equate to eating well.

Before I start with this blog, I want to give you all a little bit of my story in regards to my weight as well as why i am choosing to start this blog… feel free to read on if you want! In the future, I will want my posts to be much less about myself, but I want each of you who may be following to understand where I am coming from.

A Lifelong Struggle

From when I was really young, I can always remember being larger than the other kids in my grade. This lent itself to a very poor image of myself and, frankly, quite a low self esteem. I always compensated for this, though, by pouring myself into athletics. My size gave me an advantage in some sports while in others I felt that I needed to work much harder to excel, but this is something I could always push myself to do.

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In the summer of 2003, I fell off a 50-70 foot cliff (I will be sharing more on this story in the future, but for now, I want to simply mention it in order to tie it into my weight struggle). To make a long story very short, I was miraculously healed. Not only did God save my life, He rapidly healed my 14 broken bones! I was in the hospital, in total, for only about 7 weeks and my recovery time only lasted a few months. God is so good! Anyways, I don’t know if any of you have experienced broken bones before, but one of the things that occurs during this time is muscle atrophy. Because of the nature of my injuries, muscles all over my body were atrophied and I lost a lot of weight in a very unhealthy manner. My doctors told me I needed to start gaining weight back, but I did so in such an unhealthy way – through eating.

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About 4 Weeks after the Accident
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High School Graduation June 2005

I gained back all of my weight and more.. In fact, until I graduated high school in 2005, I did not really stop gaining weight. It was a daily struggle for me and I can honestly say that it was something I hated about myself and had no control over. Miraculously, after my graduation, I found some sort of motivation and was able to lose a bunch of weight. In fact, between January 2005 (grad) and Januray 2006 (1/2 way through my first year of Bible College), I lost a ton of weight. I went from being a size 40 XL to a size 34 M, I felt good, I was running a lot… it was a great feeling… But it came crashing to an end. I started experiencing knee pain at this time and this became an excuse to¬†stop exercising. I would learn later that I have arthritis in my left knee as a result of my accident. At the time, this revelation crushed me. I turned to food for comfort and stopped exercising.

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This is about the Lightest I’ve ever been…

Needless to say, ever since then, I have been putting on weight. I have gone through a few seasons (weeks or months) of intentional good choices and shedding a few pounds… but overall I have not made healthy choices in regards to my eating or exercise. The consequences showed in numerous ways – I outgrew many outfits, I would eat to the point of embarrassment at social gatherings, and I was generally not comfortable in my own skin. All of this while serving as a pastor.

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Me at the peak of my weight.

A New Season

One of the intentional steps that I chose to take in terms of getting serious about my weight loss was seeing a counselor. This was one of the best decisions that Kirsten and I have ever made! I will be sharing a lot of the things that I have learned from my sessions in the blogs that follow. Please know that a lot of what is going on has happened as God has done some emotional healing in me through counseling.

On Valentines Day, 2015, I was hanging out with my family in Onoway, Alberta. I was talking to one of my cousins there about what I was feeling in regards to my weight and the two of us decided that we wanted to get serious about change. Directly prior to this I had a very embarrassing experience. I was dropping Kirsten off at No Frills and, because I was dropping her off at the door, I was blocking traffic slightly. This infuriated a man and he followed me in his car to where I went to park while waiting for her. He yelled expletives at me about how selfish I was for blocking traffic… when I responded by simply saying “I was just dropping my wife off at the door,” he yelled at me – “well that’s how fat people get fat, because they are lazy, you lazy fat… (you get the picture).” I do not know what was going through this guy’s head that he would lash out at me like this (I’ve forgiven him and chosen to think that there was something else going on that he was simply taking out on me)… but I do know that something shifted in me on that day. The reality of the situation dawned on me – I am overweight and it is obviously noticable… my weight is something that I cannot hide.

Following that encounter and my decision to become accountable with my cousin’s husband, things have changed drastically. I would say that on this Valentine’s Day I was weighing over 300 lbs. (I do not know exactly how much because I was too ashamed to step on a scale, all I know is that after losing weight already I weighed in in the high 290’s). This morning I stood on the scale just under 260. I have lost 40 lbs. so far and have a picture below to show about 1/2 of the weight loss thus far.

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The Purpose of this Blog

I have found that, in the past, when I’ve lost weight, I have done so with a motivation of seeking the approval of others. My friends and family would comment on how I am looking and they would say ‘you look good’ and this would motivate me to continue. The motivation and approval of others, though, is not a sustainable enough motivation for me to lose weight. This is why, up to this point, I have not posted much publicly about my weight loss besides a few ‘dietbet updates’ on any forum other than ‘Myfitnesspal.’ I did not want my weight loss at this time to be about looking good in the eyes of others. What I have found, though, is even with a very limited public¬†forum, many people have shared with me that my journey has inspired them and they have asked what I’m doing or what’s going on for me.

This blog is for those people (and anyone else looking for Biblical encouragement in regards  to healthy weight loss or a healthy life in general). God has taken me through quite the journey in regards to my weight loss. He has had to dismantle negative beliefs that I have about Him and about myself, He has had to show me that food is not a god even though I was treating it as such. He has had to show me that gratitude for my body and love my body are absoluetly essential in becoming like Him and, most of all, He has had to show me that every time I say no to an unhealthy food and yes to an exercise, that is an act of worship to God.

I am going to use this blog to share with you all what has kept me going, how I have overcome some of the difficulties, and, ultimately, how I have seen God at work through my own weight loss process in hopes to inspire you all in your own journies. Please follow, share with friends, and feel free to comment. I look forward to sharing my life with some of you because I believe that God has allowed me to go through some of the things that I have gone through so that I can be a blessing to others. Thanks for reading, and hopefully I can ‘fill in some of the blanks’ in the posts that follow.

Launching Missional Communities

Hello friends, I know I promised a video, and there will be one coming soon, but I wanted to give everyone a bit of an update about what is going to be launching in September.

The Foundation for Missional Communities

There has been a lot of talk and positive momentum in our group around the idea of ‘missional community…’ ¬†but as I talk to people it sounds like there have been a lot of different ideas about what these are and what it’s going to look like, so I want to post this blog to help clarify what it is going to look like for us. To start off, missional community is being done in many different ways and in many different contexts. Because of this, the missional communities that we will be launching may look very different from other missional communities (MC’s) that you may hear about.

Jeff Vanderstelt, from Soma Communities in Tacoma, defines Missional community as:

A family of missionary servants who make disciples who make disciples

I like this definition as it speaks not only to the identity of those involved (family of missionary (sent) servants) as well as their purpose (making disciples who make disciples). Two of the commissions that Jesus made to His disciples specifically had to do with this notion of Making disciples:

Then Jesus came to them and said,¬†‚ÄúAll authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.¬†Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,¬†baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,¬†and teaching¬†them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with youalways, to the very end of the age.‚ÄĚ –Matthew 28:19-20

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;¬†and you will be my witnesses¬†in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria,¬†and to the ends of the earth.‚ÄĚ –Acts 1:8

The plan of God all along was that Jesus would leave after His time on the Earth, baptize (fill) his followers with the Holy Spirit, so that they would continue to make disciples (followers of Jesus) that make disciples. The word ‘witness’ in Acts is essentially understood as an ‘ambassador’ or ‘representative…’ to the point where the authoritative power of that person is transferred to the ‘witness.’ This is what we are called to as believers – to be literal representations of Jesus Christ on the Earth. In speaking of the mission (purpose) of the Church, Michael Frost simply defined this as:

Proclaiming and demonstrating the kingdom of God and the restoration of all things

Not only is this the mission of the church, I believe this is our mission as disciples who make disciples. As the Church, we need to proclaim (tell) and demonstrate (practice) the kingdom life. We need to do both. Not only are we called to serve the world with the love of Christ, we are called to invite them into the kingdom life, how life should be as a committed follower of Jesus. The above truths are absolutely foundational to missional community. In fact, Jeff Vanderstelt writes:

The missional community is the best context in which this can happen. Disciples are made and developed:

  1. through life on life, where there is visibility and accessibility
  2. in community, where they can practice the one anothers, and
  3. on mission where they learn how to proclaim the gospel and make disciples.

The purpose of Missional communities at McKernan is to create a context for which young adults can be a part of a family (community) in which disciple making is foundational to their identity. My hope is that each missional community would really start to feel like family on mission together (both to a common focus of mission as well as a specific area of mission (workplace, school, etc.). A really practical way to think about this is a covenant small group with a mission statement.

  • Covenant: Each member of the missional community is committing to be a part of this community for a period of time. Weekly gatherings are not a fun choice if their is nothing else to do, members decide that this is where they want to invest their time.
  • Small Group: Missional¬†communities¬†will be about 8-12 people each…
  • Mission Statement: While each missional community is going to have a unified mission statement (a group of disciple makers), each MC is also going to have a specific area of mission together, specifically preaching the gospel and demonstrating the kingdom in their shared context.

The idea is that our missional communities will become communities that love God, each other, and the world so much and in such a visible way that non-believers will see this and want to join us in seeing God’s kingdom come (and ultimately become disciples who make themselves).

So What is this Going to Look Like?

I have spent a lot of time wrestling with this question. McKernan is in an¬†interesting¬†place because of our proximity to the University of Alberta. Because of this, we have a LOT of students, which has made our young adult ministry almost reboot every year. As I was thinking about applying what I’ve¬†written¬†to our context there were a few things that were really important to me:

  • This is not a movement or a fad – it’s a way of life that many of us are committing to (it’s bigger than C&C)
  • The new model for C&C ministry would be sustainable year to year as well as postured for¬†multiplication
  • New students would be able to plug in slowly if they choose (they don’t need to be committed to a weekly gathering as soon as they arrive.. there are still events that would facilitate and encourage newcomers to attend (without feeling on the outside))
  • C&C would have events in which non-Christians would feel welcome and belonging
  • Students in transition (out of C&C) would still be able to connect to the community in a meaningful way

With all of this in mind, and a lot of conversations with the core group at McKernan, the other leaders, and my mentors, here’s what I am thinking for C&C this year:

  • We would like to launch 4 missional communities with 3 leaders in each community
  • Each community will be based in a place, this place will be where they will focus their group mission
  • Each member of the community will (along with other members of the community) have their own mission (disciple making focus) along with the shared mission focus of the community (because many of us live all over the city, it is impossible for us to form communities solely based on where people live. While we still want our communities geographically focussed, we understand that someone who lives outside of the¬†neighbourhood¬†of McKernan may not have a heart for McKernan (or have McKernan a place that is commonly a part of their daily rhythm)).
  • The 4¬†geographical¬†areas our communities will be based out of are: McKernan & surrounding¬†neighbourhoods, University of Alberta, Garneau & Strathcona, and Whyte Ave from 109 st. to Calgary Trail.
  • Missional communities will meet weekly and go through a curriculum on seeing God’s kingdom come in our context
  • Each group will have one pastoral leader, one administrative leader, and one connecting leader
  • Each leader will have a co-leader that they are discipling, in hopes that next year we could multiply our groups
  • We will do 3 large events per month: Converge during the first Saturday, one large group fun event, and one serve night.
  • Group fun events and serve nights (A night where missional communities focus on their group mission in a way that we can invite the whole C&C group and others from the church) will be planned by a different missional community each month.
  • We will be seeking partnerships with organizations who will help us look at how we can see God’s kingdom come within our areas of mission in the areas of homelessness as well as social justice (both local and world-wide).

I think that’s all I have for sure so far. A lot will happen in August as we figure out who is leading what group and start to get people plugged in so in September we can really get the groups established (once the groups are established each one will have a lot of freedom as far as how they are shaped, when they meet, what their focus of mission is within their context etc.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask, I’m so excited about this!

Revelation, Thoughts & Stories