02 January, 2010

Wake Up Call

One of my best friends in this life, Neil Smith, had a heart attack yesterday while preaching. It was a very close call, and the doctors said that just a few more minutes and he would not be with us any more. I'm so thankful that there was a nurse in the congregation and they were able to get him help immediately. He has some surgery to face in the coming weeks but the prognosis is very good for him. For that, I'm so very thankful. I'd ask that you all keep him and his wife and girls in your prayers.

The news of Neil having this heart attack shook me hard. Neil is a few years younger than me, and to be truthful, he is much more conscious of his health than I am. He limits his caffeine, walks and is much more trim than I am. I was on my way home from Florida when I received the message that Park was being taken to the hospital by ambulance. We were in Paducah, KY and the remaining 400 miles home, not only was he on my mind and in my prayers, but I was reflecting on my own life. I started thinking about how a little over 4 years ago I had my own brush with heart trouble. God touched me in a miraculous way then, and I did make a few changes, and dropped more than 30 pounds after that. However, in the past couple of years, I've let old habits come back in, and I've gained back half the weight I'd lost. I'm out of shape, I'm tired and don't feel good much of the time. Add to that the fact that in 6 weeks I will turn 51 and I have come to the realization that it is time for me to make some life changes. I'm not talking New Year's resolutions that I throw off in a few days... it's time to change. I'm determined that I'm not going to be another statistic of ministers who died young. I'm not going on a crash diet, but I am going to change my diet. I know it is pretty unrealistic for me to say I will give up coffee, but it is time to cut my caffeine drastically. Most important of all, it is time for me to quit using pain as an excuse not to exercise, and I am going to begin to make some changes. I make a pledge to myself, not to others, but to me... that next year at this time I will be a transformed man in my physical body. I owe it to myself, my wife, my kids and family and my church. I pledge to take care of me. Those around me, I'm asking you... begging you! Hold me accountable. Don't dog me if I have one hot dog or slice of cheese cake, but lower the boom when you see me slipping! Deal?

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