Trending buzzwords

buzzwords, healthy lifestyle

On the current health scene, there are a lot of buzzwords and phrases designed to catch our attention.  Lately, I seem to be reading a lot about living a “balanced” lifestyle.  This phrase is really attractive to us, because what it’s actually implying is that you can kinda/sorta have your cake and eat it too when it comes to healthy living, you just can’t have your cake as often as you want it.  Balance, or moderation, is the key.

While it is a very alluring concept that we can have a healthy lifestyle and still have ice cream and bacon on occasion, the word “balanced” began to echo over and over in my brain.  Like an annoying, persistent mosquito buzzing around my ear, it began to seriously irritate me.  As a big believer that balance is essential for a healthy lifestyle, I wondered why this was suddenly bugging (pardon the intended pun!) me.  As I made my breakfast a couple of mornings ago, a thought came to me that hit the proverbial nail on the head.

As Christians, is it a balanced life we seek, or a centered life?

As I pondered this question, it dawned on me why the buzz phrase “balanced lifestyle” was not sitting well with me.  When it comes to healthy lifestyles alone, yes, we want balance.  But balance gives me the mental image of a pie chart, with each piece cut neatly into wedges, but each piece is separate and distinct.

To live with joy, peace and purpose, we don’t need to live with our lives with sections compartmentalized into appropriate sized pieces according to their importance.  We need to live our lives with our faith at the center of all we do.  I picture it not like a pie chart, but as a wagon wheel with a center circle.  God is in the center of that circle, and what we do throughout the day are the spokes that come off of the center.  Everything that we do is attached to God, and should be about giving Him the glory.

Even the very reason we take care of our health through good nutrition and exercise should be about giving God the glory.  When He is at the center of this part of our lives, exercising and eating healthy are tools to give Him the glory, each a spoke radiating from the center of our life wheel.

For instance, when I encounter people I haven’t seen in quite a while, the first question I get after the comment of how different I look is, “How did you lose so much weight?  I want your secret!”  My usual reply that it’s simple, I just follow a balanced, healthy lifestyle and exercise regularly.  Sometimes this reply cause an abrupt end to the conversation – some people only want to hear about the “magic” cure, the drink, the potion, the pill.  But sometimes, it opens the door and gives me the opportunity to say, “I have tried so many fad diets and other ways to make healthy lifestyle changes and failed miserably.  But this time, I asked for God’s help and put Him at the center.  He gave me not only the desire to be healthy, but the strength to become healthy!”

Honestly, this sometimes shocks people into stuttering as they try to think of a reply.  However, sometimes it seems to be just what this person needed to hear, and a whole new opportunity for witnessing opens up!

If nothing else from this Reflections sticks with you, I want you to get this – God wants not just a part of you, but ALL of you.  It’s only when you surrender completely to His love that you can be free from the distractions that hinder you from allowing God to be the God of your entire being.  It’s what will allow you to have a positive, lasting change, and move you from the frustrating cycle of yoyo dieting or any other unhealthy habit (food, alcohol, drugs, etc.) that has control of your life.   When you allow God into absolutely, positively every little bit of your life, you will be changes.  You will be blessed and you will live in such a way that others will be drawn to you and want what you have.

If you’re ready to live with Jesus at the center of your life and the motivation for everything you do, how do you go about it?

First, when you wake up, before you get out of bed, before you check Facebook for the latest messages or turn on the television for the weather report, let Jesus know you’re ready to serve Him.  Thank Him for the gift of the new day He has given you and tell Him you are ready for Him to send you into the world to serve Him.  Ask Him to fill you with His love so that it overflows onto others throughout the day.  Let every daily task become an opportunity to serve Jesus.

Imagine what could happen in our world if all Christians made the decision every morning to live their lives with their faith in God as the center of all we do!

Scripture:

Romans 6:13 – Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness.

Prayer:

Father God, I thank you for Your amazing love, so amazing that You care about every part of my day.  Nothing that happens to me is insignificant to You.  I know that without You I can accomplish nothing; with You nothing is impossible for me today.  Today I put aside anything that I am holding back from You and am ready to serve You on all levels, with all of my being, in everything that I do.  I love You, Lord!  In Your Son’s most precious and holy name I pray, Amen.

Do you have a purpose?

purpose_newsletter

Have you ever taken a look at the self-help aisle in the bookstore?  It is full of rows and rows of books on how to improve yourself in physical, spiritual and emotional ways.  The topics also include ways to find direction in your life and discover your purpose here on this earth.

For example, take Rick Warren’s book, “The Purpose Drive Life.”  Over 30 million copies were sold, so discovering our life purpose is something most people are passionate about.  We want our lives to matter; we want to make our mark in this world instead of just drifting through.

Did you know that even before you were born, God had a plan uniquely for you, a purpose in creating you?  Consider Jeremiah 1:5:

I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.  Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

What God is telling us in these verses is that not only did he uniquely make you, He chose to make you.  He didn’t need you, He wanted you.  God, who spoke this universe into existence, not only wanted you, He had a purpose for creating you.  So when you ask the question, “What is my purpose in life, and what has God planned in advance for me to do?” the answer is surprisingly simple, and is the same for all Christians.

Simply put, our purpose is to glorify God.  God tells us in Isaiah 43:7 that we were created for His glory, and in 1 Corinthians 10:31 that everything we do, including eating and drinking, should be done for the glory of God.  He has given you gifts that are exclusive to you and has ways planned for you to use those gifts.

How we live out our purpose and use our gifts will look differently from one person to the next.  We shouldn’t compare our gifts to others, and we shouldn’t think are gifts are any better or lesser than another person’s.  Each gift, whether perceived by the secular world as great are small, are all equally important in God’s eyes.  In 1 Corinthians 12, we are encouraged to be content with and thankful for our uniqueness; we are all an important part of the body of Christ.

As with last week’s Reflections, you’re probably wondering what on earth this topic has to do with your physical health.  To answer that question, I’m going to ask you one:  If you do not do anything to improve your health, can it limit how you serve God?

There are many reasons why we should take care of our bodies, but at the top of the list should be that we will be fit to serve whenever and however God calls us.  In Romans 6:13 Paul tells us “ . . . use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.”  He has great things planned for you.  You need to exercise and eat healthy so that when God calls you to a particular task you can respond with, “Here am I, send me.”

This past week, a friend of mine lost her 25-year-old daughter in a car accident.  If any good news can come from this, it is in the fact that her daughter was a child of God and instantly went from this world into her Father’s arms in heaven.  However, it has caused me to do a lot of introspective thinking.

  1. We are not promised tomorrow. If we live each day as if it were our last, and put 100 percent of our effort into living out our faith in our daily walk with Him, what kind of legacy could we leave behind that would make a difference for the cause of Christ?
  2. There are no such things as coincidences. Many people talk about destiny or fate as if we have no control over the future.  One thing we are responsible to God for is how we live our lives, and how we live our lives can be controlled, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.  No matter how good or bad things get, we can still love God and live for Him.  Largely, our future is the result of how we live today and the decisions we make today.
  3. If we invest our lives in Christ, no matter what the future holds, we will be secure.

Many of us, present company included, tend to not take our health as seriously as we should.  We procrastinate and say, “I’ll begin my journey to better health and start taking care of my physical body tomorrow.”  My friends, we are only here for a short time, like the steam rising from your coffee cup.  It rises, lengthens, and then in a second disappears into the air.  Don’t wait until tomorrow to begin taking care of yourself and living a healthy life.  One way to become motivated to take care of your body is to think about how you can really serve God and show His love to others if you are healthy and full of energy.

I want to also ask you to think about God’s purpose for your life and write down some short-term personal goals in areas where you need to grow.  For instance, spiritually, spend time each morning in conversation with God.  Begin your day with Him.  Personally, eat a nutritionally-balanced diet and exercise at least five days per week.  These are just examples, but write them down, talk them over with God and adjust as He leads.

Spend time with God and ask Him how you can best use your life as a way to give Him glory.  There is absolutely nothing that can beat the feeling of knowing you are fulfilling His purpose for you, and that He is smiling down on you!

Scripture:

Ephesians 2:10:  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Prayer:

Father God, right now I take a minute to thank You for the unique way You created me.  Show me how I can best use my life to give You the glory and show your love to others.  Give me the strength to give every part of my life for You, both physically and spiritually.  In Your Son’s most precious name I pray, Amen.