In this article, pastor Stuart Davidson transparently shares the journey he’s been on to achieve a huge physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual transformation.
It has nearly been one year since one of the most important days of my life.
On October 3rd, 2019, I had gastric sleeve surgery.
My physical health was out of control. My weight was ballooning. I was on numerous medications for blood pressure and cholesterol. I had been diagnosed pre-diabetic and my doctor told me that if I was lucky, I might make it out of my 40’s without having a heart attack or stroke. Simply put, I had all but stopped taking care of myself.
I had no self-control when it came to food which the Bible calls sin, gluttony to be specific. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to exercise. Sadly exercise left me feeling so sore and hurting that it took me days to recover. During that recovery period, I would not exercise but I would eat.
Because of my physical shape and a genetic predisposition, I battled depression. If I’m being honest, depression has been a constant companion of mine since my early college days. Since my late 30’s, I have battled crippling anxiety. No one but my wife and my parents knows this about me, but today you do. Because of depression and anxiety, I ate even more. Because I was dealing with the severity of depression/anxiety, I was on medication.
The Transformation Begins
After coming to a realization that I needed help, I embarked on a new journey to better health. I had finally had enough of feeling the way that I felt. This journey would better me mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. So, on October 3rd, I had the surgery. That surgery set into motion losing weight. A physical transformation. You might call it forced portion control.
After losing a few pounds, I started running. I have always loved to run but before the surgery, my feet, hips, knees, and back would hurt for days. No more. I started running a half-mile. Then graduated to a mile, then 1.5 miles, and then 2. I went from running maybe 5 miles a week to over 80 miles a week today. The surgery was the start but the real work came after surgery.
Some people think just having this surgery is a quick fix. They are wrong. There is nothing quick or easy about it. For the better part of a year, I have been in counseling. That’s right. Therapy. Yep, I am a preacher in therapy. That is the mental, spiritual, emotional transformation. I still go to regular counseling today. It is good for me and honestly, I think that everyone should find someone that they can talk to, pray with, and engage to become better. Not only has this transformation been good for my body, but it has also been good for my soul and spirit.
The reason that I am posting this is that several people have asked me about this transformation. I have never been embarrassed to talk about it but I have been remiss to discuss it in such a public way.
So why today? I guess I want to be transparent. I think that it is time that we try to stop being so perfect like we have it all figured out. I think that it is time to tear down the image that preachers are not really people like everyone else. We have flaws. We are imperfect. Yes, we absolutely screw up. Well, I suppose that I should speak for myself. I screw up. I’m a screw-up. Redeemed but fall short daily.
So maybe that is the type of preacher you are looking for. Maybe that is the sort of church you’d like to come to. A church where no one is perfect but where everyone is on a journey. A journey to grow closer to God and a journey to become better.
If you are struggling with depression. Good news, so am I.
If you are embarrassed that you have had to go to therapy, counseling, or ask for help…don’t be. If you ever need someone to talk to, pray with, or just listen, give me a shout. If you think that my experience can somehow help you, give me a shout.
I will say this, don’t quit. Even when people come down on you, say negative things about you, and hurt you, don’t give up. The road won’t always be easy but it is a road worth traveling.
God bless you. You are loved.
Stuart Davidson is the pastor of Eastern Shore Baptist Church in Daphne, Alabama. This post was originally shared as a Facebook post but has been reformatted for publishing. If you’d like to be featured on the Dogwood Journal, submit your story here!