2017: A New Year

goodbye-2016Target Audience: Evangelical Christians

Today marks the beginning of a new year. I will not bore you with New Year’s resolutions because like so many others, I make grand plans only to see them fizzle within weeks or months of making them. I think there is something rather egotistical about New Year’s resolutions anyway. 

While a quick postmortem of 2016 is appropriate, rehashing the highs and lows of last year really serves little benefit to anyone. Last year was probably no better or worse than anyone else’s 2016, except for Hillary Clinton. I think many would agree she had a much worse ride last year than many of us. Yes, she hit some highs too, but the crushing defeat she suffered in the presidential election will undoubtedly take some time from which to recover.

Unlike Hillary, my greatest moment of tumult occurred in the summer when I found myself homeless for the first time in my life, and I sincerely hope, the last. I was never on the street, although sleeping in my truck for a week gave me a rude awakening that any delusions of becoming a sixty-something hippie were just that: delusions. I landed in a motel, renting weekly for a month and a half before moving into my current digs with a friend of mine in Oakville. While the cost of living in Oakville is considerably higher than what I had prior to my flight from a previous stable, but unsuitable place of residence. I had been living in a renovated three bedroom bungalow in Etobicoke with six other people and a pit bull.

By the end of the year I was a member of a Healing Care group at my church. Now I have had a number of experiences with various kinds of healing in churches and approach all of them with a fairly well-earned skepticism. Too many are little more than amateur psychobabble groups that attempt to “fix” what is visual and obvious without dealing with the more painful issues that require much more work and dedication. The drive-thru healing groups which I have encountered in the past caused me to balk at this one. The material for this group, though, is based upon the experiences of a minister named Terry Wardle. I know very little about him, but from reading his book Draw Close to the Fire, he experienced a breakdown in his life. The book is about his journey from the pit of darkness and despair, to seeking God in the darkness of the pit, to realizing that until the Holy Spirit heals the deeper wounds in life, it is impossible to experience the fullness of the Christian experience. Unlike the drive-thru healing groups I have encountered in the past, this is a journey. The course is 16 weeks, but from the first session, the leaders made it clear that this is a much longer journey. At best, the material will help recalibrate my thinking and concepts of God and myself. Once that work has begun, I can then proceed to deal with the deep wounds, some as far back as childhood, others as recent as today or last week, with the help of the Holy Spirit. This is not magical “poof” healing. I doubt I will see any flashing lights or feel flames of fire burning away the chaff of abuse and hurt from long ago. There will be no bright light that blinds me from the abuses of the past. I doubt I will forget any of the pain I have suffered, but the Holy Spirit will, in His own time, heal me and help me to enjoy the intimate relationship with God He desires to have with me.

Moving forward into 2017, I do have some goals. These are not resolutions, but just things that I need to do in order to keep breathing into 2018.

Nothing is more critical than my weight. Last week, after my annual Christmas binge, although this year wasn’t as bad as some previous years, I tipped the scales at 370 pounds (168kg). I am 5’10” (178cm) for those in metric countries. Obviously, I am about 200 pounds (91kg) overweight. Personally, I like the sound of losing 91kg more than 200 pounds. At my present weight, I am unable to walk but very short distances and find standing to be extremely painful. Exercise is almost out of the question until I drop some weight. I have set up a spreadsheet on Google to track my food intake. I have been to Weight Watchers at least 8 times, and Overeaters Anonymous at least twice. I have tried a high protein, low carb diet, which worked for as long as I could handle it, but once the boredom of eating the same things over and over again became too great, I binged on chocolate cake and never could get back on track. I know how to lose weight. It isn’t rocket science, but it is a discipline that most people who are overweight find difficult, if not impossible to stick to for long periods of time. I seem to be able to drop 50 pounds almost by thinking about it, but once I begin to feel good, I become careless and start eating things that pack the weight on.

So 2017 has started. I am hoping that I can make significant changes to my life, not just my weight, but spiritually as well. I am hoping that by the end of 2017, I will be healthier and happier than I am today.

Happy New Year! 

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