On a recent visit to a friend, rather than do the usual round of tours, we had elected to do a little hike. I was thinking "little" hike. My friend was thinking a little "hike." We started out at a good pace, and I was doing just fine. Suddenly, the path incline became very steep. My friend took this part of the path like a person taking the stairs two at a time. On the other hand, my breaths got shorter, my face got redder, sweat was dripping off me. I could not even talk I was gasping so much. My friend looked back at me and called, "Do you need a little rest?" Legs and lungs on fire, I barely nodded.
I was just plain embarrassed as we paused. She is older than I, but was at least twenty years younger in her fitness. She had barely cracked a sweat.
I love fast food - pizza, in particular. Staying up late, yessiree. Coffee in the morning to get going. Eating veggies was a goal on my development plan on year. Those habits that were fun when I was younger are now mocking me! I looked at her, and I looked at myself. Someone needed to change.
My life is not so much about taking hikes, as it is about running a marathon. Not a literal marathon, the pace of life in my role demands the best of my faculties. The older I have become, the more necessary it is to pay attention to my capacity to fulfill God's call on my life.
For sure, as the saying goes, "everyone is born with an expiration date." God has numbered our days and put them in His book. Problem is, we don't know the number! It could be big or small--
that part is not up to us. Making the most of the days we have is about maintaining our personal capacity to do the will of God.
Could I actually miss out on what God might have in mind for me because I was not in a position to live it out? I know that God would redeem the opportunity in some way, but I don't want to miss what He has for me by not taking care of the life He has given me.
That means paying attention to health in four areas:
• What kind of fuel am I giving my body? No one would put water in the gas tank of a car, unless they wanted to destroy it!
• What's the quality of my sleep? If you are trying to get by on just a few hours of sleep, you're short-changing your body. It needs those sleeping hours to recover, regenerate, and even process your learning.
• What kind of exercise are you getting? Some is better than none, but consistency really helps. The older I've gotten, exercise makes a difference in sleep quality, not to mention emotional well-being.
• What kind of fellowship are you having with loved ones and friends?
• When is the last time you laughed or played?
• In addition to the Lord, who shows you grace in your weak and broken places?
• Are you continuing to learn new things?
• Are you giving your brain a work out?
• What are you focusing on? What are you preoccupied with? These pathways get more entrenched the more we practice them (Phil 4:8-9)
• How's your relationship with the Lord? Do you recognize His voice?
• What are you and He talking about?
• Are you experiencing His Presence and power in your daily life?
Honestly, you know this stuff. So do I. But getting it to go from our heads into actual practice is the challenge. Lately, I've been observing that these areas are very interdependent. Our physical state affects our emotions, and vice versa. Our spiritual life can affect our physical health. Having the capacity to meet the demands of life requires health in all of them. More and more, research shows the connection between stress and physical/emotional/relational fallout.
I had an aha! moment a few days ago while looking at Proverbs 3:5-8. In verse 7-8, it says, "Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones."
When we try to figure stuff out on our own without coming to God first, we can experience the stress and pressure of having to be in control of our lives and circumstances. Being in control of our own lives is stressful. We're basically taking God's place by assuming the role of Creator, rather than creature. Stress is a predictable result, and guess what! The minerals that your body begins to dump when you're under stress-- calcium, magnesium, and others-- are exactly what your bones need to be healthy.
When we keep the Lord foremost in our minds and hearts, we are able to live in peace, relaxing in the truth that He's got it all under control. Our bodies, emotions, and relationships all know and show the difference.
So for healthy living all around, start with the Person who makes the ultimate difference in all areas of life. The Lord will make your paths straight. He will fulfill what concerns you. He has you written on the palm of His hand. He will give you grace to live out His mission. It is after all His plan.
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On any given day you might find Andrea in a meeting, on a plane, or in some part of the world where she meets amazing people and sees just a few of the awesome ways that God is working. She serves as the Global VP for Leadership Development and HR with Campus Crusade for Christ. When she’s home, she enjoy books, time with friends and occasionally gets to the beach. You can find her on twitter at @AndreaBuczynski and blogging at abreflections.
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