What do you think of when you hear the word “healthy”?
Some people define health using a scale, some people define it as a body type, others define it by different standards including mental alertness, physical strength or being in a solid community. I’ve seen a lot of friends and family starting to take consideration of their physical health lately and it is great to see people trying to take care of their bodies by getting the right nutrients and enough water every day! Part of me has always been intrigued by the health nuts who love yoga, drink cucumber water and never eat bread… but part of me just doesn’t want to strive for that at all because, well, to put it plainly I really enjoy ice cream, muffins and pizza. For a while, my ideal goal for health has been to become someone who is strong physically, mentally and emotionally. Unfortunately, for most of the summer I’ve been feeling tired and unwell. I diagnosed myself with allergies, acid re-flux, stress, too much work, not enough sleep and a lack of joy. But these many things that were “wrong with me” were actually just symptoms and not the real sickness.
This week I discovered what the root of all of my weakness has been and it wasn’t physical (although I did lose some muscle while not working out over the last month), it wasn’t mental (although my brain hasn’t been as sharp since school ended) and it wasn’t emotional (even though I have been a roller coaster lately whenever anything makes me sad or doesn’t go my way). It was the one aspect of my life that should have the highest priority but yet I hadn’t considered it to be the cause of my problems. You see, my spiritual health has been left on major back burner lately (so far back, it might have fallen off of the stove if not for God’s steadfastness). It was a classic case of misplacing my affections, getting bogged down in counterfeit priorities and refusing to do anything to change it. With that said, once I was made aware of the problem, I’ve slowly been able to start adjusting. Yes, it means getting up earlier and putting other things to the side. But it also means SO much more joy, freedom and peace throughout my days and weeks when I can start each day with my Savior.
Because the topic of health has been E V E R Y W H E R E lately and because Xavier and I are half health-nut-wanna-be’s and half foodies, I thought it would be fun to periodically write about health and the little things we are doing to try to pursue overall health. But before I could write out any of my opinions on good meals, easy workout plans, healthy food consumption, the best vitamins and supplements or wise life-style choices, I had to start with what has been the only source of true healing in my life: Jesus Christ.
I am fighting a deadly disease every single day. It is the number one killer of the human race and it has been for thousands of years. In fact, it is the only killer of the human race. It will eventually claim my life here on earth and the lives of every single person I know. I was born with it and, much like cancer, it wants to consume every cell, every bone, every inch of my body and soul. There is no cure for my body, death is certain. But, thanks be to God! My soul has been fully healed and is being constantly protected from the disease that is fighting to regain a foothold in my life. This disease is sin.
Some people like to pretend that sin doesn’t exist… they say that the bad things that happen in life are accidents and that good things are coincidences. They like to imagine that everyone goes to heaven when they die – regardless of what they choose to believe here on earth and they like to tell themselves that everyone is mostly good. These lies are a result of the disease of sin corrupting people’s minds. I used to have a corrupted mind, the effects of the damage that sin had on me are still evident. Sometimes I still sink back into old ways, I become afraid of what people think of me and I start to desire approval and affection from humans. I want a perfect life and get mad when I can’t have it. My body continues to break down as the signs of living in a sinful world get stronger. But my soul is protected and cannot be lost to the sickness… I want to be DONE caring what people think. I’m ready to be done trying to fit in so that I don’t step on toes. I just want to embrace the joy Christ has given me by healing my soul and live in a way that is brimming with fullness and love for other people. I want to put my desires in the garbage can and just accept what God gives me an any given day – knowing that He has my future best interest in mind. He knows that I am most content and full when I am focused on Him alone.
If you aren’t healthy in your spirit, the only way to be fully cured is to trust Jesus with your whole life. No amount of diets, health kicks, supplements, working out, earthly doctors or surgeries will heal the separation from God that sin creates. This is where my perspective of health has to start in order for me to have any sort of right thinking about anything else. You can’t heal the outside of people and hope that the inside automatically gets fixed. I love learning new tips and tricks for a healthy body, but they are just for living here on earth. True joy can’t come from hard abs or a diet.
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”