Everyone believes in change, as long as it involves someone else. Each New Year in January, many of us make New Year’s Resolutions about how we are going to change.
During the recent Christmas season, we have often tended to overeat and underexercise. When January 1st comes around, our gyms are temporarily flooded with new recruits, often lasting until Feb 1st when our muscles begin to ache. So many New Year’s Resolutions die on the altar of good intentions. We mean to lose weight, to become healthy, to eat heart-smart. But life seems to take over and swallow up our best efforts.
What would it look like to genuinely do a new thing in the New Year? What does lasting change really look like? Much change in our culture is merely reactive and temporary. When our society becomes anxious and regressive, we embrace quick fixes, either centralizing or decentralizing our businesses, our schools, our community societies, our political institutions. Quick-fix changes usually make things worse, and rarely last. Lasting change needs to be thoughtful, intentional, and prayerful.
Part of lasting change for me was the result of being ‘reared ended’ by a taxi twelve years ago. I started going for various treatments to loosen up my neck and shoulders, but nothing seemed to really last. The neck spasms and headaches had a nasty habit of sapping a lot of my energy needed for work and family. Finally Dr. Paul Wiggins, while adjusting my aching back, said to me: ‘You need a personal trainer’. My immediate reaction was to try to graciously change the subject. Paul however is very persistent in a kindly way, and the next thing I knew, I was meeting with a personal trainer for six sessions, paid for by our auto insurance company. The personal trainer helped me push through my ignorance, fear and procrastination.
Going to the gym two to three times a week for the past twelve years is part of my ‘walking the walk’ in personal fitness. I often felt like giving up. I have been involved in many sports and exercise programs over the years. Sooner or later I usually would push it too far and too fast, and injure myself. Once injured and ‘humbled’, I often thought twice before ‘getting back in the ring’. Thanks to those sessions with my personal trainer, I have finally learned how to pace myself. As a result, I rarely injure myself since getting serious about going to the gym. I have learnt that the secret to virtually all the gym equipment is going ‘one step at a time’. Patience, while not my strongest characteristic, is definitely a virtue in the weight room!
There are so many wonderful gyms through the North Vancouver Recreation Commission. Most often, my favorite time to work out is at 8am in the morning right after I drop my wife off at work. Because the weight room is right next door to where she works, I don’t have to force myself to drive to the gym. I am already right there. My wife is such a gift to me in keeping healthy. She really cares for me and loves me deeply. She is the one who originally encouraged me to start going to the gym, to eat healthy food, and to start taking vitamins. Thank God for health-conscious wives. As a result of regularly going to the gym, I feel healthier and younger now than a decade ago, having lost twenty pounds in the process, going from 180 to 160 pounds.
The Good Book says “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19). Thanks to Dr Paul Wiggins, the personal trainer and my wife, God has done a new thing in my personal fitness. How would you like God to do a new thing in your life in this New Year? My prayer for each of us reading this article is that each of us will have a breakthrough in this new year. May God do a new thing this year in each of us physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Doing a New Thing (click to listen to Isaiah 43)
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-an article previously published in the Deep Cove Crier
-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada
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