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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Seven Deadly Challenges at the Weight Room

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird

How is your work-out working out for you these days?  Studies show that many people who start at the gym with every good intention are nowhere to be found within a few months.  Why is it that so many well-intended people drop out and disappear from fitness?  My hunch is that people drop out from going to the gym for similar reasons that they drop out from going to church.  They may find the times inconvenient, the child care inadequate, the music too loud, too soft, too slow, or too fast, the temperature too hot or too cold, the people too cold or intrusive, the instructor/pastor too busy or controlling.

Virtually everyone that I know nowadays believes in the value of keeping physically fit.  It has been drilled into us by our doctors, teachers, media, and family.  Yet so many of us fall short of our personal health goals.  I sense that a lot of people have transferred their guilt about not attending church enough to a new guilt about not attending the weight room enough.  Guilt, shame, and fear paralyze us in our unhealthy procrastination and avoidance of physical and spiritual growth.  Guilt, shame and fear feed our addictions and unhealthy life choices.  I have known people who felt so guilty about not attending the gym or church that they have overeaten, over-drank, and over-indulged.  More guilt is not the solution to our health issues.

So how can we be set free from our spiritual and physical couch-potato tendencies?  Dr. Gil Stieglitz  says that a great way to get healthy is to memorize the seven deadly sins and then daily measure our current behaviour by those seven criteria.  The first deadly sin/challenge is Pride, which Dr. Gil defines as ‘feelings of superiority, self-absorption, and lack of teachability.’  Sometimes people don’t make it to the gym or church because we have become self-satisfied and unwilling to grow.

The second deadly sin is Envy which Dr. Gil defines as ‘the desire for what belongs to others’.  I have been guilty of that sin many times at the gym.  Why is it taking me so long to get in shape physically or spiritually when others around me seem so healthy?  Sometimes the puny size of my weights or my prayer life can tempt me to not bother to try.

The third deadly sin is Anger which Dr. Gil defines as ‘being blocked from a goal, irritated, seething’.  The person we usually feel most angry at is ourselves, angry that we are not losing weight quickly enough, not improving fast enough, angry that it is taking so long to become Christ-like and loving.  You may have heard the angry comment that the church or gym is full of hypocrites, to which I say ‘there is always room for one more hypocrite’.

The fourth deadly sin is Lust, which is far more than just sexual.  It is really about the need to have it all our way immediately.  Many of us give up on the gym and church, because it is taking too long to achieve our goals.  We want it all right now!  Getting healthy takes time!

 

The fifth deadly sin is Sloth which Dr. Gil defines as ‘laziness, working with a minimum effort, procrastination’.  Going to Church or the gym requires effort, time, and money.  It is often tempting to give in to our feelings of tiredness, discouragement and fear.  Why bother to try?  The Tempter wants us to be physically and spiritually healthy, as long we do it next month, not this month.

The sixth deadly sin is Gluttony which Dr. Gil defines as ‘overindulgence, addiction, seeking comfort’.  Many people feel so embarrassed about their body or soul that they won’t even try.  It’s just too painful.

The seventh deadly sin is Greed which Dr. Gil defines as ‘longing after money and things’.  Greedy people will refuse to go to church or the gym, claiming that ‘all the church/gym wants is your money’.  In fact the gym and church are there for our health, and our health is worth every penny that we invest.  What use is wealth without health?  See you at God’s Gym!

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

 -previously published in the North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Breaking the Suicide Addiction

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Did you know that suicide has become the No. 2 killer of teenagers in North America?  Suicide is a taboo subject that no one wants to talk about.  It may frighten us; yet it has to be faced.  In North America the suicide rate for male teens aged 15 to 19 has increased to 3 times the 1967 rate (2 ½ times increase for females).

So what can we do about teen suicide?  How can we get the help to teens who really need it?  Well, first of all, we need to know what the causes of suicide are.  Why do people do it?  Experts say that there are five main causes of suicide:

Severe feelings of guilt and hostility towards others

Punishing others through suicide

Emotional illness (35% of suicides involve severe depression and temporary insanity)

Physical illness such as cancer (40% of men who commit suicide and 20% of women)

Losses such as death of loved ones, or financial ruin

Camus, the famous philosopher, once said that there is but one philosophic problem and that is suicide.  It revolves around life’s apparent meaninglessness, despair, and absurdity.

I think Camus has a point.  You see, life sometimes can feel very unfair, very abusive, and very cruel.  Life can often destroy your dreams, and make you wish that you’d never been born.  For some people, they never feel any suicide temptation.  Some others feel it very infrequently.  There are others who feel these emotions on a regular basis.  They may have never acted on those feelings, but the feelings still haunt them.

Every time those feelings come, it becomes a major struggle to once again choose life and renounce the powers of death.  The suicide temptation is often an addiction.  Anything becomes an addiction when it controls our lives, when no matter how much we dislike the activity, we seem to return to it again and again.  I believe that Jesus Christ, through counseling and prayer, can break the power of any addiction.  But it’s not easy.  There’s no such thing as a quickie cure.

The root of addiction is none other than fear and guilt.  All addictions, whether to suicide or whatever, are fed by bondage to fear and guilt.  The more fearful we become, the guiltier we become, the greater control the addiction to suicide gets over us.

The cycle may go like this.  Say you’ve had a very depressing week, your teacher flunked you, your parents grounded you, your girlfriend dropped you, your baseball coach cut you, and your car died on you.  In the midst of this depression, you may begin to feel; “What’s the use?  I wish I wasn’t alive”.

Suicide addiction can easily set in at this point.  First of all, you feel guilty that you just felt that way.  Secondly, you may feel fear that those feelings will become worse.  So you just try to avoid these suicide feelings and shut them out of your mind.  But it doesn’t work and you just feel more guilty.  Winning over temptation by mental avoidance never works.

Another thing that increases the suicide addiction is that when we feel guilty about these feelings, we’re too embarrassed to have God around.  We feel too unclean, too unspiritual; so without fully realizing it, we ask God to leave the room and wait outside until the temptation is over.

This, of course, makes us feel even more rejected and guilty.  Then we feel abandoned by God just when we need him.  The old saying, “If you don’t feel close to God, guess who moved?” is still true.  But we tend to say to ourselves; If God abandons me when I really need him, why bother to fight it.  I’m not worth it.  Why resist it?”

So then we take the other step of self-abandonment.  We abandon ourselves to the hopelessness of wallowing in our suicide feelings, and to an ever-increasing vicious cycle of fear and guilt.

How then does Jesus break the addiction of suicide?  Jesus breaks the addiction by breaking the power of guilt and fear.  By dying on the cross as the forsaken one, as the abandoned one, He exchanges His cleanness for our uncleanness.  He was abandoned and forsaken so that we need never feel abandoned or forsaken.  You may remember that He died on the cross, saying ” My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus became grieved and distressed, saying “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death”.  In Gethsemane and on the cross, he took our agony, our guilt, our depression, our fear, so that we don’t have to be stuck with that garbage any more.

The Bible says that Jesus has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).  That means that Jesus allowed Himself to feel the awful pull to death and suicide, and then he broke its power on the Cross.  In an allegorical sense, you could say that Jesus “committed suicide” on the cross so that we don’t have to.

As a result you don’t need to punish yourself anymore.  Jesus took your punishment.  You don’t need to condemn yourself anymore. “Now there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1).  You don’t need to be consumed with fear any more. “Perfect Love casts out all fear.” (I John 4:18)

Some of you reading this may be secretly struggling with suicide feelings.  Some of you feel very guilty and fearful about it.  I challenge you to give these feelings to Jesus and accept his offer of forgiveness.

I challenge you to seek professional counseling and really give Christ a chance to do some long-term personal healing. “Choose life that you may live in the love of the Lord.”

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 USD/CDN

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca