Lying on the coach watching an episode of West Wing I’d seen 12 times, I took inventory of my life: I’d spent most of my week attending webinars on the Payroll Protection Plan, saying “hi” the 20-something dad pushing a stroller was as close to flirting as I’d been in six months, and my fat pants were tight. I fantasized about a life of hiking and writing, but I live in the flat lands of Illinois and hadn’t written a single non-church related thing in months. This was not what I wanted from my life.

I promised myself I’d spend the next morning writing for an hour, running 3 miles, doing some strength training, and walking my dog. Instead, I took my coffee to my armchair in the sunny window where I read and scrolled through social media. I could fantasize about the life I wanted, but I couldn’t do anything to make that life a reality.

But then I weighed myself. The number on the scale was proof I couldn’t ignore that I’d been over-indulging in booze and ice cream while sliding into a sedentary existence. Something woke up in my brain and I made a small shift. I started paying a bit more attention to what I ate. I turned to fruit for snacks instead of ice cream and let go of the nightly beer in front of the TV. I learned a little bit more about nutrition and tracked my calories. I started planning my meals. It made a difference. I lost weight, I have more energy, my mood lifted.

There’s more happening than just fitting into the pair of pants I haven’t been able to wear in two years. I am writing again and starting to plan a trip to go hiking. I’m crafting a life that fits me.

It’s easy to feel at the mercy of global events, we’re in the midst of a global pandemic with an idiot at the nation’s helm. In my work as a pastor there’s always more to do than time to do it. I’m really good at finding excuses to not live my most authentic life. By claiming my personal agency over what I eat, I’m claiming my agency over the rest of my life. Life doesn’t just happen to me.