Check the meters
Life is measured by inches---and pounds, laps, heartbeats, steps, calories, minutes, liters, bags, vials, gauges, and meters, to name a few. There are odometers, calipers, altimeters, moniters, glucometers, wind vanes, barometers, sextants, fathometers, and whole lists of specialty devices to help us keep up with vital statistics. They are good if they are checked regularly.
A trip to the medical doctor means stepping on the scales while the nurse holds my car keys, mobile phone, rings, watch, wallets, and other items that may drive the number up an ounce or two. Two vials of blood provide an A1C (three month average blood glucose level, desirably under 7.0), and the percentages of nutrients in my system. The nurse then asks about things that are hard to quantify---am I depressed? Sleeping regularly? Falling down? Medications? Exercise? She doesn't usually ask about my diet. The scales already told that story.
The point is that there are many measures of how we're doing in life. Some are numerical, a few are comparatives to other people in our age cohort, and some are statistical norms. Still, with a FitBit, glucometer, blood pressure machine, digital portal into my doctor's office patient file, pharmacy app for meds, and a blood sugar diary, their worth is only as good as my regularity in checking them. Oh, yes, and in striving to keep the numbers within acceptable ranges, defined by the guy in the white coat.
Rumor has it pastors as a group have health issues. Some old studies indicate sleep deprivation, limited exercise, carb load diets, long hours, worry, and questionable health monitoring as a partial list. If pastors and spiritual leaders are health risks, checking the meters on a regular basis is another of those discipline areas requiring some attention. After a stage four cancer scare a few years ago, and as an over-weight type two diabetic boomer, the meters of my life require constant monitoring. Here are a few personal adjustments that have helped me keep tabs on my physical, and therefore emotional well-being.
1. Research personal ways to check your own meters.
Like it or not, there are physical norms that can be used as guides in
establishing some physical boundaries. Height-weight proportions, body
fat measures, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and even recommended
sleep standards are available for personal use. Google them and get busy.
2. Schedule regular physical exams.
After extensive cancer surgery, chemo-therapy, and a long recovery process my
doctor wants to see me every three months. Monitoring my blood sugar is the
big deal now. Your age will also be a factor in doctor visits. Go ahead and get a
complete physical and let the doctor advise on future scheduling.
3. Keep tabs on your personal meters.
I purchased a FitBit Surge tracker to help me keep up with my daily routine. It
records steps, calories burned, stairs climbed, miles per day, sleep habits, and
will clock workouts, runs, spins, and other important health measures. The
OCD in me likes to reach daily goals.
4. Journal your work week on occasion and make note of your time.
This is a eye-opener for most of us. In this regard, record your times at the
office, doing pastoral care, study hours, staff meetings, and other duties
related to your calling. They add up quickly and can amplify health issues that
may alread be prevalent.
5. Schedule time with your wife and children, and some leisure time.
Ministry effectiveness long term will be best measured by the health of your
marriage and family. Last but not least there's the thing about loving others
as you love yourself. It's no license for self-absorption. But, if our self-care is
an indication of our care for others, the people in our circle may be in trouble.
Go here to read some strong biblical direction about your health. And, check the meters as often as possible.