My name is Matt and this is my blog. Pastor of Students and Education, Ultra-Fanatic (50K, 50, 24 & 72 Hour), Marathon Maniac, and Ironman (70.3).
I enjoy reading, writing, and thinking... I run. A lot. Like Forrest, beard and all. I like to eat waffles and drink coffee.... I love Jesus, His Church, and my wife.
Several, several months ago. Well, probably more like a few years ago, Michael Hyatt posted a blog that was very instrumental in my daily routine. The truth is, I don’t know anything about Mr. Hyatt and certainly hadn’t heard of him before that post…and for the life of me, I can’t remember how I found it in the first place. Nevertheless, I came across the blog and it really resonated with me.
You see, at the time I was just getting started on my weight loss journey. If I recall, I was juicing (that didn’t last long) and eating, walking, and I had recently begun riding a stationary bike. I was probably 248 or so by this point and, although I had taken the first steps towards running, I wasn’t a big fan at this point and it certainly wasn’t part of my daily routine.
Before I began my weight loss journey, my daily routine was rather simple. I woke up without an alarm, so typically around 5 or 6, and relocated to the recliner with a 20 ounce bottle of Dr Pepper, my bible, a book, and my journal. If I was to get up, it was probably only to get another Dr Pepper.
Day by day, I would read and journal through Scripture, read through 4 or 5 chapters in a book, and then get ready to go into the office. Once I made it to the office, my routine resembled that of my morning, except for the addition of some sermon prep, camp planning, or the occasional phone call.
Lunch was typically my first meal, especially since 1 or 2 Dr Peppers shouldn’t count. We’d typically go out either to Larry’s Pizza (an amazing buffet), On The Border, or Five Guys, before heading back to the office to replant myself in the study and continue my routine. The afternoon would continue on in the same manner outside of visits made to schools or meetings set up with some of our students.
Around 5 I would drive home and read a little or play with the dogs until Rebecca finished dinner. We’d eat (or she’d eat and I’d gorge) and then she would work on a scrapbook while I would play Call of Duty with a few fellow ministers spread out across the country through XBOX Live. 11 or so would roll around and I would begin to nod off during the last stages of our Zombie killing, so I’d bid them farewell and head to bed.
But There Are Three
In Hyatt’s blog, he mentioned a dragon that must be slayed each day before breakfast. Here’s a snippet:
- Read the Bible. I use this weapon to cut off the dragon’s middle head. I don’t know why it is so hard to defeat, but it is. A thousand and one distractions vie for my attention. That’s why I grab a cup of fresh tea, head to my favorite den chair, and begin reading at once.The Scriptures prime the pump and strengthen my resolve. If I can cut off the middle head of spiritual lethargy, the other two go down much easier.
- Engage in exercise. I use this weapon to cut off the dragon’s left head: physical lethargy. Sometimes, I think this is even more important than the middle head. Why? Because if I am not exercising regularly, it negatively impacts every other area of my life. It becomes more difficult to manage stress. I find that I just don’t have the energy to fight the other beasts I encounter.Currently, I am doing cardio four mornings a week for one hour and strength training two days a week for one hour. Weather permitting, I run outside. Otherwise, I am in the gym. Gail and I usually go together. It’s helpful to have an accountability partner.
- Listen to books. I use this weapon to cut off the dragon’s right head: intellectual lethargy. I learned a long time ago that “leaders read and readers lead.” By definition a leader (as opposed to a mere manager) stays out in front of his people. To lead, you have to set the pace. You have to be a thought leader.The problem I have is that it is difficult for me to sit still. I have a hard time finding a long enough stretch in the day to sit down and really read. I keep getting interrupted—or distracted.
I had been absolutely slaying the dragons of intellectual and spiritual lethargy…they didn’t stand a chance. But the one dragon that continues to tease and taunt me was the dragon of physical lethargy. As a guy who really tried to squeeze every minute of time out of the day, I resented the sheer thought of what exercising would take away from in regards to my reading, life, or day to day routine.
But Michael’s plan involved listening to books and I thought I could listen to my daily reading while I went out for a walk. This continued for awhile and, after purchasing an iPad, I eventually learned to slay the dragon of intellectual lethargy as I rode my bike with a conveniently placed stand on which the iPad could be placed.
I thought I was a genius! I could go out for a mile or two walk and could finish my bible reading and then sit on the bike for 15 minutes to finish some of the books I was working through. 30-45 minutes, sometimes more, sometimes less, and down went the dragon…all before breakfast.
Fast forward to today and I am still slaying my three-headed dragon before breakfast. My exercise has morphed into something probably used to get detainees at Guantanamo Bay to talk, but I still work to slay this thing every day.
Up at 3 or 4, I sip a cup of Green Tea while I slay the dragon of spiritual lethargy by reading my bible, writing, and praying. Then I head out to slay the dragon of physical lethargy with a run, but I no longer listen to anything but my own thoughts. My run usually takes around 1.5-2 hours during the week and then I’m home with a big cup of coffee to help me slay the dragon of intellectual lethargy…all before breakfast.
Once all of my dragons have been slayed appropriately, evidence of my use of the kitchen has been hidden, and I’m dressed for work, I head out to slay each day and can do so because this beast of a dragon is no longer breathing down my neck.
What About You?
Why don’t you take a look at Michael Hyatt’s post and consider how you could slay your dragon. It doesn’t have to be a 2 hour run or even a run at all. You could download a book or listen to your bible while you walk the dog or stroll with your morning coffee. I certainly encourage you to find a way to slay this beast and I’m willing to bet you’ll have a better outlook on your day having done so.
What in the…
How in the…
Where will we…
Can we even…
Who will be…
But didn’t we just…
It was 3 AM and I woke up to so many questions whirling around in my head. As I shared a few days ago, we got a call asking if we would be willing to do respite for a foster family of three children, three and younger. We said “yes” and began a flurry of cleaning, baby-proofing, and furniture moving.
The questions rolling around in my head were as serious as, “How will we fit three kids in either of our cars?” It naturally progressed to, “Do we rrrrreally have to buy minivan?” Some were as silly as, “What if they eat the dogs’ food?” And my favorite was, “What if they find and eat all of my candy corn stash?” Could you imagine?! The horror! But…I bet it’d be colorful! Nevertheless, I was awake and thought I could be a little productive and finish up a few odds and ends.
We each had some sacrifices during Operation: Munchkin Prep. For me that meant taking apart the drum-set, storing the Total Gym and dumbbells, and relocating all of my running gear to the bedroom. For Rebecca that meant moving her scrapbook stuffs to another room and all of her coats and extra clothes into her closet or under the bed so that the lil’ munchkins have a place for their clothes. Where once we each had our own room and a living room/library in which we could relax, now we have the two boys’ room, a girl’s room, and a living room/library/music studio/bike trainer/play room for everyone to enjoy.
Life as we’ve known it for the last 8 years is changing, and we wouldn’t change a thing. We are aware these lil’ ones may not be our forever kids, but they will be in our lives for now. Our hope is whether that ends up just being a few weekends and Christmas or forever, that they know we love them and will protect them.
Questions still remain, and, well, at the top of that list is still whether or not they’ll fit in our current cars and what to do if they can’t, but we don’t need an answer to that question now. We’ll make it work, certainly temporarily. But that’s kinda like faith, no? It’s the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." We’ve been given a great opportunity to step out on faith and see God at work in and through us.
Many of you that read my race reports or blog posts may not know that apart from eating waffles, drinking coffee, running, cycling, and regretfully swimming, I also have the privilege of serving a church in my hometown as the Pastor of Education and Students.
Inglewood Baptist is located at 1901 S. Carrier Parkway in Grand Prairie, Texas and it, along with many other churches this weekend, was forced to cancel its worship gathering due to the road and parking lot conditions. However, it’s 2013 and we put our under-caffeinated and cabin-fevered heads together and said, "What if we put something online for our church family?"
So, after a few hours of recording and editing, Aaron (Pastor of Administration and Worship) and I have uploaded an audio/video version of our worship gathering for the Second Lord’s Day of Advent. Below is a bit of an outline of what to expect and you can CLICK HERE (click the picture that says, “Listen Online”) to watch and follow along.
We trust that this post finds you warm in your home if you’re in the middle of the Icepocalypse and that you find it encouraging and edifying as you enjoy it with those around you.