diet, exercise, and so much more (living beyond half truths)

You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand. – Psalm 16:11

to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. – John 1:12

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Luke 6:38

If you read this blog often you already know that I tend to be “all over the place” with my posts. As a rule I try to pour everything through the filter labeled “inspiration”, along with some encouragement for our journey as intentional disciples; but, day to day, I sometimes get distracted by photography, or my grandchildren, or my dog (Max Retriever), or music, or food.

Of course the point is that all the details of a life well lived have something to do with faith, and there is nothing that sits outside of the realm of being – one of my favorite phrasings – “A follower of the Way.”

So today, preparing to facilitate discussion at the Wednesday evening men’s group I attend, the title of the book we’re studying is – naturally – on my mind. The book is “Half Truths,” by Methodist pastor Adam Hamilton.

The essential premise of the study is that people often grab onto ideas (cultural/political preferences, folklore, biases, prejudices…) that are not biblical, yet they turn them into articles of faith by association, cloaking them with the authority of scripture and thereby promoting a false narrative that does harm to the truth about God.

Our favorite half truths:

But half truths are not limited to the world of faith and religion, they are omnipresent in day-to-day life.

One that I’ve been thinking about is a half truth that props up one of the biggest industries in North America.

  • “This new diet will absolutely take away that 25-pounds you need to lose.”
  • Or, “Eating your way to a new, healthy, you.”
  • And this one I read today, “Follow this diet, and you’ll slim down and still feel satisfied.”

This experience of COVID-19 has led to a – widely reported – average of two pounds per month weight gain for our already weight-challenged population (noticed how I didn’t say anything judgy, like “overweight”). This means that the average American has gained, to date, close to 30 unwanted pounds!

– last week’s steps

But it wasn’t diet alone that did this. It has been – at a minimum – diet and lack of exercise.

And it won’t be diet alone that will get anyone on the road to better health again. It has to be better food choices plus moving around more.

Well, three things actually: 1) better food choices, 2) exercise, and 3) some form of accountability. The accountability part simply means encouragement when it comes to staying on track.

For me, this translates to consistent portion control along with telling Rebekah exactly what portion I am serving (because she is a careful eater, too), plus wearing a Fitbit device that tells me exactly how much I have moved and also how much I need to move. Intention, information, and collaboration.

The whole truth:

The whole truth, however, is more extensive still. If I want to be a whole person, living like I mean it, embracing the abundance Jesus invites us to experience, then I need to be more intentional when it comes to more than just healthy eating and healthy movement, I need to feed my soul and exercise my faith too.

Hence the scripture references that opened this column.

– with my personal trainer, Max

Life is this most amazing gift! If this pandemic has reminded us of anything I hope and pray it is the often neglected truth that we have all been imagined, designed, created, and given life in order to – as the Westminster Shorter Catechism suggests, “Love God and enjoy God forever!”

So enjoy this life by embracing what is possible and celebrating along the way.

In love, and because of love – DEREK


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