Get in the Fight

Warrior 4

After daily Mass recently, I was struck when seeing a young adult guy walking and talking with some gals. Initially I was encouraged to see young people seeking an encounter with Christ at Mass, but then the boy caught my attention. He was dressed in skinny jeans, hipster loafers and had a swirling Bieber-esk hair style. While this look is not all that surprising to see in the Millennial generation of men, his delicate gestures and soft voice continued to strike a nerve. I finally placed my finger on what the rub was, this young man encompassed an image of what the world- including us Catholics- expect Christian men to be…soft, sensitive…nice guys.

If being a Christian is merely synonymous with being nice, then what’s the point? Anyone who uses their blinker to change lanes or opens a door for a lady is a “nice guy”. Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, the one who demonstrated such immense power that he walked on water, healed the deaf, blind, and dumb with a word, and conquered death by rising from a tomb, didn’t come so as to just teach us to be nice.

Many of us men have reduced our faith to just that…being a nice guy. Whether it was the felt art projects we completed in Sunday school or images of the “safe environment” Jesus hung in our churches (see image below), true masculinity, which Jesus came to redeem, has been lost in many ways. Philip Yancey describes how we have watered down Christianity in his book, The Evidence of Jesus’ Claims. He says “How would telling people to be nice to one another get a man crucified? What government would crucify Mister Rogers or Captain Kangaroo?”

happiness-vogelstein

St. Paul even describes this stumbling block to first century Christians when he said

“For if someone comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you seem to endure it quite well” (2 Corinthians 11:4).

If we haven’t encountered the authentic Jesus, then we tend to make up our own version of Him and then simply file Christianity away under this false image. Unlike what the world holds out, Jesus wasn’t just some soft, nice guy. He is God-incarnate, the creator of the heavens and the earth. It’s easy to see how radical he was when we study the Gospels. People either loved him, laying down their own lives for his sake, or they hated him and crucified him. There is no in between. A nice guy wouldn’t have been remembered, much less killed. Jesus is not just an ordinary nice guy, and neither are his disciples expected to be!

Sacred Scripture paints for us a different picture of what is expected of disciples than the nice guy (as long as you keep it to yourself) type of Christianity that is purported today in our culture.

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

I’ve read this scripture passage and heard it numerous times and I’ve always assumed that it meant that the church would be persecuted while on earth but she would ultimately prevail. A closer look at these words however reveal something totally different.

Gates are used to keep people or aggressors out, you don’t fight or advance on an enemy with your gate closed! What God is saying in this passage is that the church, which is you and me, will overtake the gates of hell on our way to taking back His world in our participation in the redemption of it.

Reading this passage correctly was like putting on glasses for the first time and being able to see. We are not supposed to hunker down in our skinny jeans with soft hands and even softer wills, hoping big bad Satan doesn’t get us. Rather we are meant to storm the beaches of hell and take the world back for Christ and the gates the netherworld cannot withstand our assault.

We are soldiers, more specifically the Church traditionally describes those on earth as the Church Militant. It’s about time we men take that title seriously. We should train as soldiers, with the same intensity as soldiers going into a hostile war zone; ordering our will, intellect, and body. Because that’s exactly what we’ve been called to do, fight. It’s about time brothers we show the world what real Christian men do. Let us reclaim our authentic God-given manhood and in doing so reclaim the family, society, and the whole human race.

Jesus, through His Church, gave us a battle plan for this mission:

Corporal Works of Mercy:

  1. Feed the Hungry
  2. Give Drink to the Thirsty
  3. Shelter the Homeless
  4. Visit the Sick
  5. Visit the Prisoners
  6. Bury the Dead
  7. Give Alms to the Poor

Spiritual Works of Mercy

  1. Counsel the Doubtful
  2. Instruct the Ignorant
  3. Admonish the Sinner
  4. Comfort the Sorrowful
  5. Forgive Injuries
  6. Bear Wrongs Patiently
  7. Pray for the Living and the Dead

The Secret to Winning the CrossFit Games

secret to winning crossfit gamesMat Fraser was recently crowned the “Fittest Man on Earth” as a result of winning the 2016 CrossFit games. And while his physical accomplishments are nothing short of extraordinary that’s not what I want to write about today.

Instead, I wanted to share what Fraser recently said when he was asked, “What’s one thing you do daily to improve your fitness?” Fraser could have talked about his workouts, or his Paleo diet, or the supplements he takes. He didn’t. Instead, Fraser replied:

Honestly, I just make sure that I have a smile on my face when I walk in the gym. I never train unhappy. I just don’t find that I’m able to push myself as hard if I’m at all unhappy, upset, or angry. When I go into a workout happy, with a smile on my face, I’m willing to suffer a bit more, I’m willing to dig a little deeper, push a little harder.

So, from a fitness perspective, it seems we may all want to focus on our attitude before working out. I know, for sure, I love working out with my kids and my workouts are normally fantastic when they’re around to encourage me (as I encourage them in return).

But what about other aspects of our lives? Does smiling and being happy matter?

In his timeless classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People” Dale Carnegie taught the importance, and power, of smiling.

He explained that actions speak louder than words and one of the most powerful actions any of us can make is to smile. Carnegie explains that a smile says, “I like you. You make me happy. I’m glad to see you.”

Carnegie goes on to explain that even if you don’t feel like smiling, you should force yourself to smile. You should act as if you were already happy, and that will tend to actually make you happy… or at least make you happier.

Psychologist William James once said that, “Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together…. thus the sovereign voluntary path to cheerfulness is to sit up cheerfully and to act and speak as if cheerfulness was already there.”

Finally, from a spiritual perspective I also believe having a positive attitude can be extremely beneficial.

It’s very easy to beat yourself up when things don’t go exactly as planned. And if we ever fall into sin despair can quickly overwhelm us… even after reconciliation.

I truly believe the devil loves it when we despair. He loves it when we’re unhappy. He loves it when we beat ourselves up.

I also believe the devil hates it when we’re in the state of grace with smiles on our faces.

So, my challenge for myself, and for you, is to ensure we’re in a constant state of grace. If we’re not we need to get to confession as fast as possible and remedy this. Then, once we’re clean and full of grace, we should do our very best to smile and be happy and thankful for the blessings in our lives (i.e. Faith, family, food, shelter, etc.).

Put another way… we should smile when waking up. We should smile when greeting people, especially our loved ones and friends. We should even smile as we prepare to suffer well through a workout!

A glad heart lights up the face, but an anguished heart breaks the spirit. The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on folly. All the days of the poor are evil, but a good heart is a continual feast. Prov 15:13-15

Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!

Become a Saint – Eat Clean

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He who loses his life for my sake will find it (Matthew 10:39).

This quote from the book of Matthew describes one of the quintessential paradoxes of the Christian life. If we are to discover life, a life that is infused with real hope, joy, and peace then we must surrender everything, which include our desires, success, and failures. This truth has been proven by the life of Christ and then re-produced repeatedly for us to see through the lives of the saints. These people were able to become completely detached from the things offered by this world while at the same time proclaim the goodness of creation and become truly alive and able to appreciate and enjoy these gifts in their fullness. While this deep theological truth may seem distant to most of us, we can begin to participate in it by becoming intentional about our lives, beginning with the daily decision of what to eat.

How can this decision help us become saints?

The physical and spiritual life of a person have many parallels and St. John Paul II taught us in his work about the “Theology of the Body” that “the body, in fact, and it alone, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine” (General Audience 2/20/80). So there is a critical interplay between the physical and spiritual life of each person. With this frame of reference we can begin to dig into parts of our physical life and discover greater spiritual realities and how they converge.

Eating a clean diet isn’t easy, especially in the sugar and fat laden American food markets. Most of the good stuff found in the middle isles of the grocery stores are packed with additives and sugar that pamper our palette and quickly transition to addictive cravings. So one way we can participate in the great Christian paradox of losing our life in order to find it is by losing our cravings for salty, sweet, scrumptious treats in order to find our life that is healthy and balanced.

In Deuteronomy 30:19, God says to his people “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live”. The most disturbing part of this passage is that our handle on freedom has gone so sideways that God has to implore us to choose life rather than death. In this same way, by making healthy food choices, we can practice and participate in God’s desire for us to live full lives. Just imagine during your next trip to the grocery store hearing a booming voice proclaim; I set before you, broccoli and Ghirardelli chocolate, swiss chard and Doritos; therefore choose broccoli!

The Choice is Yours

So while it is true that we can intentionally begin to bend our will towards the good by making clean eating choices, the analogy falls monumentally short of the life that Christ promises us if we choose to surrender to Him for His sake. Healthy eating decisions may curb disease to a certain extent and slow degeneration, but it can’t fulfill us like walking in Our Lord’s footsteps can. However, the struggle to align our will, our decisions, with the good (a.k.a. God), is essential in making progress towards a radical life of love and can begin with simple decisions like carrots or cake. Which do you choose?

Talking Exodus on Catholic Radio

Talking Exodus on Catholic RadioMike and I were extremely honored to be back on the GRN Alive radio show to talk about our Exodus experience.  The radio show is hosted by our fellow Brother in Christ Dave Palmer who, as it turns out, recently started his own Exodus journey!

Click the play button below to hear the interview. You can also download a copy of the audio file by clicking here.

To learn more about Exodus be sure to visit the Exodus 90 website.

Wasting Time – 3 Ways to Wellness Success

By Mike ShortStop Wasting TimeThis week our family celebrated our fourth son’s fifth birthday. This was a monumental event for us because he wasn’t even supposed to make it to his first, so we were told.

Dominic was born with an extremely rare genetic disorder called Genitopatellar Syndrome. The life expectancy for kids born with this syndrome is usually only weeks. The reality that he could leave us at any moment has been looming over my wife and I for the past 5 years, causing great stress and anxiety.

We’ve been slowly realizing recently that our constant state of readiness to respond to a life threatening emergency has taken its toll on us, our family, and our marriage. Our eyes were opened to realize we’ve forgotten the joy of life by waiting on death.

While there have been numerous occasions in which we have had to rapidly come to Dominic’s aid to perform life-saving measures over his short lifetime, these instances haven’t been what has weighed us down for so long. After all, the training we’ve each received for our individual jobs have afforded us calm, steady hands and a keen sense of situational awareness that has kept him alive numerous times.

It’s not the storm that weighs heavy on our hearts, but the calm before the storm that is suffocating. It’s the time of waiting for the next emergency to spring up in which we’ve discovered the joy has been robbed from us. We’ve been sadly wasting time worrying about death instead of looking for opportunities to live.

I bring this experience to light because in many other ways, in all of our lives, we waste time worrying about things that are out of our control and rather dwell in a place that is full of fear and anxiety thus missing opportunities to really live. We all can become cut off from the sweet breath of life with the distractions we are so fond of, which do nothing more than rob us of God’s quiet, still voice.

Most of us would agree that our proper priorities as Catholic men should be God, Family, Work… in that order. I would suggest a subset of these priorities include Spiritual wellness, which fits under our primary responsibility towards God, and Bodily wellness which is a sub-category under our commitment to our family. Both are imperative to have healthy lives and are to be properly ordered so that we can express the full potential that God designed specifically for you and me.

When these priorities become disordered, or we allow other distractions to take precedence, we can easily become disillusioned and can flip these priorities so they are 1. Work/Play, 2. Family 3. God. We thus fail to make progress in the important realm of spiritual and bodily wellness.

In order to focus on one aspect of our wellness, here are a few steps we can take to overcome these obstacles and begin an intentional step towards bodily wellness which your family needs from you.

Begin with the End in Mind

Just like other goal oriented lessons which you have probably come across, it is effective to reverse engineer your problem and begin with the end in mind. Imagine what the fit version of yourself looks like. What size pants do you wear, how much do you bench press or deadlift? What kind of diet do you fuel your body with? Utilizing this vision, or where you want to end up, will help you deconstruct that guy and build him up through an incremental and intentional wellness plan.

Quit making Excuses… Serve!

Apathy, anxiety and excuses have become the norm for many of us trudging through this life. One way to overcome this obstacle and begin to improve our bodily strength, coordination and conditioning is by offering these small sufferings for another. It usually takes suffering and pouring ourselves out for another to break out from selfish inclinations that suffocate our good intentions to get back into shape.

I suggest that when we decide to do a work out, even if it is as simple as 10 squats, 10 push-ups and 10 crunches, offering it for someone who is sick, poor or a person close to us like our wives, can have a profound impact on our motivation to not only start the workout but finish it strong.

Find a Battle Buddy

As I explain in my article titled “Battle Buddy” reaching goals like increasing our fitness capacity or eating clean is made more attainable if you embark on the journey with a friend. Try and find another guy to begin your fitness journey with.

You don’t necessarily have to meet up to work out together, although this really provides a great deal of motivation, merely texting each other what workout you did and if you completed one goes a long way in keeping the momentum up to meet your personal wellness goals.

Although getting in better shape sounds like a good idea and can become almost a romantic ideal, much like Christ’s command to pick up your cross and follow him may sound almost poetic, it is not easy in practice. It takes great effort and primarily a decision to begin. I encourage you to use these steps so that you can begin to find opportunities to live rather than wait to die.

I can do better

I can do betterHenry Ford, the great American Pioneer, once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”  As it turns out, a recent scientific study involving more than 44,000 people seems to back this quote up.

The study, which you can read here if you’re into scientific research, attempted to determine which sort of motivational techniques improved the performance of people playing an online video game.

Yes, I know… I also wish they would have chosen something other than a video game… but, even still, the results were quite interesting.

They learned that the greatest improvement came when people simply thought to themselves, “I can do better” or “I can react quicker” or when the people imagined themselves playing the game and beating their best score.

The study also found that watching a short motivational video, featuring four-time Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Johnson, also improved performance.

So what can we learn from this sort of study and, more importantly, how can it relate to our spiritual and physical lives? I’d like to propose a few ideas.

Believe in Yourself

First of all this study validates something I’ve always believed and have done my best to preach to myself and to my family, especially my kids… namely that if you don’t believe in yourself you’re almost certainly going to fail.

Perhaps you have a goal to pray a certain amount each day even though you’ve never done it before. In this case, the best thing you can do is believe you’ll make it happen by creating a plan of action (along with some back-up plans in case the first plan falls through) and then being intentional about sticking to that plan.  Just don’t second guess your ability to make it happen before even attempting it!

I’ve always challenged my kids to believe they can do well in any area of their life. Whether it’s performing well in an athletic endeavor, or taking the big test, or even serving during Mass I’ve always asked them to believe they’ll do well (assuming they’ve put the work in of course… but more on this later).

Visualize Success

Next, when these video game players visualized themselves beating their best score their performance almost always improved.

So the next time you’re anxious about that big presentation, or that strict pull-up you’ve desperately been trying to get, or even doing one of the readings in front of your massive parish… take some time to visualize things going well. And I truly mean visualize it. Visualize what you’ll see, hear, and feel while performing the task… then visualize how you’ll feel and handle the situation once things go as planned.

Even better… the next time you’re spending some quality time with our Lord ask Him to help you with this visualization process. After all, He’s always with each of us… so who could be better to ask for help? I also believe it’s prudent to ask for the grace and courage to handle any potential adversity if that’s ultimately what you experience.  In other words, let His will be done… not ours!

Parati Semper

Finally, while believing in yourself and visualizing success are indeed excellent things to do… it goes without saying that lasting success only comes when opportunity meets preparation.

So, to be sure, I don’t want anyone to think they can “believe” or “visualize” their way to success without putting in the hard work success of any kind almost always requires. This is one of the many reasons I love the Troops of St. George motto, “Parati Semper” which means to be prepared always.

But, when do put the work in, and believe in ourselves, while taking the time visualize success ahead of time there aren’t many things we can’t accomplish… especially when we ask our Lord and our Lady to assist us along the way!

Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!

Update

I wanted to follow this original post with a quick update… today I attempted handstand push-ups for the first time.  Well, I’ve attempted them before since my girls do them all the time. But I was always too overweight and weak to hold myself up.

So this morning, during a CrossFit class at a local box, I gave them another try.  I was nervous since I had no idea if I could do it.  My coach for this session made it look so easy (like our own Mike Short does).

So I gave it a try and sort of flipped myself up against the wall only to lose my balance and fall right back down.  I then thought about this article I penned a few days earlier.  I told myself I could do it.  I then closed my eyes and literally saw myself doing it.  I imagined I was watching a video of myself on my iPhone.

After this few seconds of mental preparation – and few more tips on hand placement from my coach – I went for it and nailed it.

Now, was my form perfect?  No.  But I am really close and full of confidence that with more intentional practice I’ll be popping these bad boys off with ease.

The lesson?  Don’t ever underestimate yourself!

Real Power

Fireworks Final 3

As I stood near the dock of the lake this past Fourth of July, I delighted in watching my 8 and 10 year old boys as they ran up to me over and over with a firecracker in hand frantically inquiring, “Can I light it, can I light it?” Their excitement was overwhelming as they worked up more and more courage each time they lit the small explosive and then darted off in one direction or the other to get a safe distance away, so they could witness the bright and noisy chain of events that they had set into motion.

While certainly boys aren’t the only ones who get a kick out of igniting fireworks to celebrate the founding of our country, I noticed in a particular way, or maybe the Holy Spirit allowed me to see in a unique way, the desire that boys have in seeking power. Explosives, even fireworks, are a quick and destructive force which demand respect from the observer, a sense of awe because there is real power at work.

Boys Will Be Boys

This boyhood attraction to real power even wells up in men during the holiday festivities. We can’t help but love to blow crap up! As a SWAT operator this dance with great power is felt each time I set an explosive charge on a door. While I am trained to analyze the target, considering possible barricades, obstructions, or other hazards, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that every time the explosive chain is set in motion with its instant and decisive force, a loud “Woohoo, did you see that!!” is exclaimed, even if it can only be heard in my head.

Men seek real power and we yearn to take it unto ourselves or cooperate in its creation in various ways. Whether it is firing large caliber guns, running a front end loader, or flying a massive 747 plane, there is just something that real power draws out of men. Unfortunately, this gravitation towards power can often go sideways in men as we seek power to control others or put ourselves on a pedestal. However, this isn’t the power that satisfies, and honestly neither are explosives or front end loaders.

Real Power Comes From God

God is the author of power and his unique fingerprint is all over creation. Whether you see it in the volatile power of a volcano, or the unpredictable torrent of a tsunami, He created real power and wants to share something of His power with us. He wants to fulfill men’s great desire for true power which he himself imprinted into our very being because that is the only thing that will help us to overcome our inclinations for selfishness and sin. I don’t need another program or way of self-medicating my problems. I need real power.

How does God, the creator of the highest peaks and lowest valley’s on earth, as well as the billions of stars, want to dispense his power to you and to me? The Holy Eucharist, and the Sacraments of the Catholic Church. While you and I have trouble perceiving this power, it doesn’t change the fact that it is real.

We can see how this power was perceived by the Saints like Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who was an ordinary dude like you and me until he encountered Christ’s real power. He was a soldier who loved women and was very concerned with his looks early on in his life. He had a botched surgery on his leg during a war and was so embarrassed by the way that his leg looked he had the doctor re-break it so he would still look attractive to dames. While stuck in bed recovering he was brought books about the Life of Christ and of the Saints. Since he had nothing else to read he dove in and he saw in Jesus and the Saints real power.

He went on to encounter the power of Christ in the Eucharist and thenceforth changed the world. He developed his order called the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, which has changed the lives of millions of souls.

We are all called to be saints but we have to be open to receiving and perceiving God’s great power that He wants desperately to give us. As St. Catherine of Siena powerfully put it

Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.

How to Reduce Muscle Soreness (And Much More!)

How to Reduce Muscle Soreness with MagnesiumI’ve written about some of my favorite supplements before but one mineral I’ve not written about is magnesium. I’d like to remedy that in this article!

As it turns out, magnesium participates in more than 300 hormone reactions… some researchers have concluded it just may be one of the most important minerals of all.

Unfortunately, studies have also shown that 50% of the people living in the US and Europe are magnesium deficient. There are many reasons for this including eating too much processed food, poor soil quality, and drinking too many beers!

Magnesium Benefits

Now, I can tell you, for sure, that focusing on magnesium consumption and supplementation has made a major impact on me.

The biggest benefit I’ve seen is related to muscle soreness. I’m REALLY getting after it now with my workouts… and if I don’t use magnesium spray (more on this later in the article) my muscles are far sorer. In fact, we recently ran out of magnesium oil spray for a week and my muscle soreness went through the roof!

So, after every cold shower I now spray homemade magnesium oil all over my arms, chest, stomach, and legs. It does sting a bit the first few times you use it… think of it as an excellent way to suffer well!

And while reducing muscle soreness is a big plus for me… magnesium has many other benefits including:

  • Gives rigidity AND flexibility to your bones
  • Increases bioavailability of calcium
  • Regulates and normalizes blood pressure
  • Prevents and reverses kidney stone formation
  • Promotes restful sleep
  • Helps prevent congestive heart failure
  • Eases muscle cramps and spasms
  • Lowers serum cholesterol levels and triglycerides
  • Decreases insulin resistance
  • Can prevent artherosclerosis and stroke
  • End cluster and migraine headaches
  • Enhances circulation
  • Relieves fibromyalgia and chronic pain
  • Treats asthma and emphysema
  • Helps make proteins
  • Encourages proper elimination

Signs You May Be Magnesium Deficit

The challenge with magnesium is it’s hard to test for since less than 1% of magnesium is in our blood. Luckily, there are several symptoms that can aid in determining whether you’re deficit or not including:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety, hyperactivity, restlessness
  • Constipation
  • Muscle spasms, twitches, soreness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Back aches
  • Headaches
  • Chest tightness and difficulty breathing
  • Heart palpitations
  • High blood pressure
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Osteoporosis

What to Eat

83772157_thumbnailRight… so magnesium is important stuff indeed. The next question is how to go about getting the recommended daily intake of 400 mg.

Here are some of the best magnesium rich foods to consume… including, wait for it, dark chocolate!

  • 1 cup of Spinach (157 mg)
  • 1 cup of Chard (154 mg)
  • 1 square of Dark chocolate (95 mg)
  • 1/8 cup Pumpkin seeds (92 mg)
  • 1 cup of Almonds (80mg)
  • ½ cup of Black Beans (60 mg)
  • 1 medium Avocado (58 mg)
  • 1 cup of Yogurt (50 mg)
  • ½ cup of Figs (50 mg)
  • 1 medium banana (32 mg)

How to Supplement

So, the good news is one, well made, Intentional Salad may get you close to where you need to do… but, as I’ve mentioned a few times, I’m personally supplementing with magnesium oil spray.

Here’s how my beautiful wife makes it based on her favorite blogger’s recipe!

  • 1/2 cup Magnesium Bath Flakes
  • 1/2 cup water (can be distilled which will last longer… we use it so fast we just use filtered tap water)
  • A glass bowl
  • A spray bottle

Simply boil the water and mix the flakes in… let it a cool a bit and pour it into the spray bottle. I always shake it good before I use it each time… but not sure how necessary this is.

So, I’d strongly encourage you to reflect on whether you may be magnesium deficient and, if you are, take the needed steps to get back on track.

Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!

Summer Fun

Summer FunHaving just returned from a weeklong family vacation, like many of us do this time of year, it’s time for a detox. While away with my family, we had a festive week in which we celebrated being together in a new place without the normal stresses of life pulling us this way and that.

As with any good feast we filled our plates high with breaded delicacies and fried treats to go along with the various chocolate covered whatever’s and finally chased it down with a refreshing IPA or nicely blended red wine.

I wasn’t all that worried about eating clean while I was away with my family because it wasn’t the point. The reason of our gathering to eat together was just that… to be together… wasting time. While certainly my body, especially my gut, protested the drastic change of diet, it was enjoyable making memories with our kids as we ate whatever, whenever.

Now for the detox part. During our long drive back home I found myself craving a salad, something, anything with nutrients, but instead found myself plunging my fist into the bag of Funions or poppin’ Rolos like they were Advil for my fat hangover. I started to realize as we began to see the Ft. Worth sky line that when my feet touched ground on a place I call planet earth, I would need to get back in the fight… and it wouldn’t be easy.

Mark Sisson describes in his article, “8 Reason Why You Act Against Your Own Better Judgement” how foods like the ones I indulged in for a week straight can be tough to curb. Whether you describe the road I chose to go down as opioid receptors gone wild, umami taste buds on crack, a weeklong slumber party daze, or just plain fun with the family, the cravings were there.

I was surprised at how quickly I could slip back into old nutrition habits and how my body craved all of those salty, sweet, carbohydrate rich foods so quickly. When my feet did hit the ground I had to begin becoming intentional again. As I began to make the right dietary choices it once again became easier and easier each time I was faced with an eat/don’t eat decision.

In this same way, moral habits can easily slide down the proverbial tube if we let off the gas and slip into our familiar gear of mediocrity. While this slacking has much greater consequences, it works in the same way. We like sin… like a fat kid loves cake.

Face it, we’re all broken and if we don’t surrender our lives to the One who has killed death and sin, we quickly become addicted to it just like that scrumptious pastry sitting in front of us. It’s a slow numbing of the senses filled with excuses and self-pity, but we’ve all gone there and will go there again unless we stay vigilant.

I hope that you all have memorable summer vacations and are able to make time to spend with the ones you love. Just keep in mind that all of the work that you put in so far in becoming intentional must not be wasted just to go back to your old self. Remember Pope Benedict’s clarion call to all of us:

The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness!