Do it again (back to church)

Several weeks ago, I had to visit the doctor for a biennial physical to maintain certifications on my driver’s license.

Let’s be honest, even in the best of circumstances, medical physicals are not experiences that most of us enjoy. They are exercises in humility as we get up close and personal with various medical professionals. You walk into the doctor’s office embracing the awkwardness that is to come. My recent trip was no different, only the awkward hit much earlier than usual.

Upon entering the inner sanctum of the office, a kind nurse invited me to stand against the wall so she could measure my height. I dutifully obliged, and she called out a number. I was taken aback as the number she said was a full 2 inches shorter than normal. I calmly encouraged her to check again, which she did, only to repeat the same disappointing number, adding, “It doesn’t really matter.” I assured her it mattered to me.

We moved from there to a scale so she could record my weight. She looked at the numbers on the machine and called out a number that was several pounds heavier than expected. Again, I encouraged her to check again. She did and informed me that she had in fact read it wrong. I was actually 2 pounds heavier.

I dropped my head in defeat as I climbed off of the scale. In a failed attempt to encourage me, the kind nurse said, “It’s OK, sir. Men of your age often have these sort of issues.” Worst. Physical. Ever. In a matter of minutes, I was told I was short, fat and old.

While I have subsequently been measured and restored to my full height (Praise the Lord!), the revelations of that day were not all wrong. I was/am indisputably several pounds over my ideal weight. My unflattering physical examination forced me to face the truth and jump-started the process of trying to shed pounds gained through months of semi-hibernation as I avoided the cold and wet of winter. It is time to get moving and get back in shape for bathing suit season.

My chosen means of exercise is running. It’s always a challenge to establish new patterns of activity after months of blissful indifference. In the first few weeks, I find it difficult to summon the energy or make the time to get ready and get out there one time a week.

There is seemingly no end to the excuses I make to not do what I know is good for me… “I’m too tired.” “I’m too busy.” “The kids have events I need to attend.” “I really need to catch up on episodes of ‘Yellowstone.’” And the list goes on and on and on.

I personally find, however, that turning the corner is easier than one might expect. It’s quite simply and painfully obvious, actually. In order to create a new pattern, I need to repeat the desired action. I have to do it again.

On average, Easter is the best attended Sunday church service of the year. Families around the world get up, get dressed and make their way to church together. Invariably, people will tell me how they’ve been meaning to get back to attending on the regular and then, like me with running, insert their chosen rationale for missing in the previous months. They then tell me of their intentions to get back in the habit in the weeks ahead.

Do you know what the worst attended Sunday of the year is, though? The Sunday after Easter. Often, even the most faithful of attendees fall off of the proverbial wagon that Sunday.

This year, I want to encourage you to buck the trend. I want to encourage you to go back to church again this Sunday. Make a plan today to get up, get your family ready and get to church, even if it isn’t my church, though you’d be most welcomed.

Find the energy and determination to do it again and again and again. Because just as we could probably all use a little more exercise, we could absolutely use a little more Jesus. With that in mind, I need to go for a run.

The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at Send comments to [email protected].