Old habits die hard . . . except for the good ones.

A couple months back I wrote to you from the precipice. This note comes to you from the ravine beyond it.  You might have sensed I was at a low point in my last update and it’s true. One of the pitfalls of claiming your faith is the tendency to pretend you have it all together. If you show a moment of weakness, if you say “I need help,” then that might ‘affect your testimony.’ Which, of course, is Christianese for ‘What will the neighbors think? ’. It’s a more subtle form of pride rearing its ugly head. But the truth is it takes a fair amount of strength to admit weakness.

The insomnia left me for a little while, only to come back last week with a vengeance.  If I’m honest, my bible collected dust last week. If I’m honest, I spent more time worrying than praying. The sleepless nights were more toxic than ever and just like venom racing through my veins, my racing thoughts could not be contained. My mind dragged me places I never should have gone, exploring all the terrible what-if scenarios I never should have let myself explore. In those late hours of the night, my frenetic mind really can talk my exhausted self into believing that nobody loves me and that the world is going to end.  (Come to think of it, maybe that 21 May Judgment Day guy suffers from insomnia.) It’s more than miserable, it’s dangerous. The poison worked its way to each extremity of my life. With no sleep, I had little energy to put forth the effort to eat right, work productively, go to the gym, etc. Even the journaling that I love came to halt.

But after another tumultuous night of zero sleep, I declared yesterday to be rock bottom. No longer will I run from the fact that I haven’t been taking care of myself physically, emotionally, or spiritually in the past few weeks. So I’ve laid out my plan of attack. It’s time to pick up the disciplines and habits that I clung to as old friends up until my recent metaphorical snake bite. This morning when my alarm clock went off, I awoke from my (drug induced) slumber and set about the bible reading and journaling that have been the source of so much joy, comfort, and stability in years past. After work today I visited the gym at my new apartment complex. And tomorrow, I’m going to do it all again. I’ve also added one new habit to the mix, per the suggestion of Phil Wickham via a tweet:  scripture memorization. This is something I did freshman year, and it helped me through a difficult time. I know the long run will reveal the true results, but even after day one, things are looking up.

The timing of this re-embarkation on the path to health is noteworthy. It was this very day one year ago, 25 July 2010, that I began the journey that would lead me to physical health. One year and -90 lbs later, I begin again to adopt a lifestyle of discipline and self-control. I must take a moment here to pause and celebrate what God has done. One year ago today, I was facing an uphill climb. He helped me up that mountain. Surely he will help me up this one.

My year-long journey toward physical health taught me so much about spiritual health. Just like that journey required work, work, and more work, so will this one. Just like that journey meant a daily decision to choose good things over bad, so does the pursuit of spiritual health.  I’m lifting up my hands and saying, “I need help.” So in addition to my rededication to holistically healthy habits (alliteration FTW), I’m going to the doctor and looking into prescription sleep aids. I’m hoping not to need them long term, but I’ll do what it takes to take care of myself. It’s time to suck this venom out and administer the antidote. A year ago today I said, “God, I’ll put in the work. You handle the results.” Today I’m reclaiming that prayer.

Bathroom Mirror

First verse: Ephesians 4:29


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