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.

Week 10: Going from “got to” to “get to”

get to exercise_newsletter

I enjoy exercising to Michelle Spadafora’s Faithful Workouts. Several times a week I get up early so I can start my day with one of her videos.  They’re not long (25 minutes) and most people, regardless of your physical level, can do the exercises.  She mixes up cardio and strength training for an overall, total body workout.  I especially like her core exercises that focus on strengthening the abdominal, back and hip muscles.

Michelle also points out that even if you’re exercising reluctantly, think of it as a praise and worship activity and thank God for being healthy enough to exercise.  She encourages viewers to think of others who have physical limitations preventing them from exercising, or even simply walking.  When you think of that person, compare your current physical health to theirs. Be thankful that God has blessed you enough that you have physical strength to exercise.  Thank Him even if you’re only able to sit on the couch and do leg lifts and bicep curls.

Simply put, we need to change our thinking about exercise from an attitude of moaning and groaning, “Do I really gotta?” Have an attitude of “Thank you, God; You have blessed me enough that I get to exercise!”

Maybe you’re at the point now where you’re in pretty good shape.  You don’t think about exercise that much because you don’t feel you need to.  If you’re in this category, you need to reconsider your attitude toward exercise and view it as preventative maintenance.  If you have ever heard the phrase “use it or lose it,” it applies especially to your body when it comes to fitness.

Exercise is a way to get your body strong and keep it that way. If and when you are faced with medical issues, the severity and recovery time will probably be less than someone who has not stayed in shape.  It will also help to give you a better quality of life as you age. Who doesn’t want to be able to keep up with their children and grandchildren?  You don’t want to become easily winded, tired or unable to go on a nature hike with them.

The miracle of everyday health is just as great as any miracle we’ve read about in the Bible.  Consider the parting of the Red Sea, making a way for the Israelites to cross.  Remember the twelve hours of mid-day sun so Joshua could battle the Amorites.  Consider the iron axe head miraculously floating in water.  The difference is these things only happened rarely, but we have the benefits of a healthy, functioning body every day.  Even in elementary school we learned what an incredible miracle our bodies are.  Because of this, we should be motivated to consistently exercise because we “get to” take care of and keep in shape the miracle that is our body.

Nutritious eating is only part of being physically healthy.  If you still have not committed to an exercise schedule, make one today.  Remember to start off simply, choose forms of exercise that you like and make it a routine part of your day.  If you are exercising regularly, increase the amount of your workout time by just a few minutes.  Up the intensity just a bit to get more out of your workout.

I don’t want to give you the impression that I don’t have these struggles just like you do.  My writing is based on my own experiences with struggles, successes and failures.  I am vulnerable to the very same issues.  I have days, sometimes a couple of weeks, where I look for justification to get out of exercising that day.  I make up all sorts of excuses to binge on something I’m craving.  I have learned that the first step down a negative path starts as a thought.  If I stop it immediately and ask God for a right spirit and attitude toward exercise and food, and really give Him the control of those thoughts, I’ll make the healthy choice.

Most of the time I succeed, sometimes I don’t.  Lately the devil has been using a lot of circumstances (working 10 – 12 hour days, my little bit of free time is crammed full of other obligations, house cleaning, yard work, no down time at all) to chip away at my resolve to live a Godly, healthy lifestyle.  He’s tried to wear me down and wear me out so I’ll feel justified in running through the drive through for some fast food or not sticking to my exercise schedule.

The only way I have been able to stay on course is to one, stop those thoughts before they take root and give them to God.  Two, change my thinking and attitude.  Three, remember how good I feel after exercise and eating right, and how pleased God is with my obedience.  I’ll regret eating junk or not exercising; I’ll never regret pushing to make the right choice!

Make it a goal to change your thinking about exercise.  The next time you begin to groan and complain because you “gotta” exercise, don’t take your health for granted, praise God for what He has given you and that you “get to” exercise!

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