Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pastor's Perspective - How to Make New Friends

Are you looking for a way to expand the circumference of your social circle? If so, read on.

Recently, by pure accident, I discovered a sure-fire way to make new friends. Pass-out in a jam-packed fitness club! In literally seconds, you’ll meet the most friendly, encouraging and helpful people around.

As many of you already know, two weeks ago I had an episode while working-out with my wife Michelle. I was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where I was observed and subjected to several tests. After giving many a good scare, I’m grateful to report that my heart is normal; however, my common sense needs an immediate transplant!

It was determined that severe dehydration and stress were the two bullies that turned my seemingly good fitness idea into 24 hours of needle jabs, IV pole restroom races, low sodium everything and embarrassing gowns. They also were a deafening siren to do life and ministry smarter. In other words, when you walk in a sports club wearing ear buds and roll out wearing an oxygen mask, its time to wake up and smell the French roast.

Back in my infamous ‘airline days’, I would make the following announcement: ‘In the unlikely event we’d lose cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will be released from the compartment above your head. Tug lightly on the mask to start oxygen flow, then, put the mask on your face, the band around your head, and breathe calmly. If you’re traveling with a child, please put the mask on yourself before assisting your child.’

What Eastern Airlines knew then, was something I had somehow forgotten over the years –you’ve got to take care of yourself first, before you can effectively help others.

As a 47-year-old pastor, I have committed the crime of overriding my common sense. I’ve internalized too much stress. I’ve failed to optimize delegation. I’ve attempted to maintain an unrealistic pace. I’ve neglected my body, by not eating properly, resting and exercising. All of these things are things I preach against.

So, I am out to prove that you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks! As an act of bearing fruit of repentance to God for my negligence, and to honor His gifts of my family, congregation and calling, I’ve dedicated myself to immediate modifications. Through better time management and prioritization, I’m now remembering to put the mask on myself and challenging you to do likewise.

The bottom-line is, God, my family and my congregation deserve a better, healthier, more relaxed and balanced version of me. With God’s grace and the understanding of his people, that person is on the way. Please pray for me, that I could adopt and maintain this smarter lifestyle.

In closing, if at the club you see a perspiring guy on the elliptical machine wearing a floppy hat, dark shades and fake 70’s moustache, that’s me still feeling a bit crunchy about things. Although I creatively made many new friends that morning, I kind of hope they forget about me and the new exercise I invented – ‘The Slump & Sleep’. Do me a favor and just sneak up next to me and quietly ask – “Hey Steve, are you drinking your water?” From now on I’ll have it with me!


Krissy Phillips said...

I can't tell you how much I appreciate this excerpt! Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my family that I forget about myself. It's something I'm sure we all do from time to time, but this has reminded me to do what's best for me so I can be a better mom and wife.
Thanks for the insight!
-Krissy P.
P.S. Camelbacks rock!

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