This is not a blog about religion. At least I never intended it to be.
But the more I have written, the more I have realized that it is impossible to separate my faith from what I know to be true about this crazy healthy life.
When I began my quest to get healthy, I was mostly focused on external appearances. I wanted to lose weight and look great in a bathing suit. It was a self-centered approach to fitness that ebbed and flowed–a constant struggle that left me feeling like I could never quite measure up. No matter how hard I tried, I could not sustain pursuits that were all about me.
After I had kids, however, I found new reasons to get healthy, that were more focused on serving God’s purposes for my life. My focus shifted from pursuing my needs, to the meeting the needs of my children. I wanted to be able to pick them up and carry them, when they grew tired of walking to the zoo. I wanted to have enough energy to play games with them after school. I hoped to be someone they admired. And I especially wanted to live long enough to meet their children.
Ten years later, I still feel all of these things, and I am keenly aware of the tremendous responsibility that has been entrusted to me. I want to be a great Mom to them, so I have to put the oxygen mask on myself first. In order to do this, I have to get right with God spiritually, as well as physically and emotionally.
To do that, I spend at least 60 minutes each day investing in the body that He created for me. It doesn’t have to happen all at once–it can be broken into smaller time commitments–but an hour each day is what He needs from me, to help me fulfill my purpose in life.
Here are the daily disciplines that have helped me sustain a healthy lifestyle, while juggling family and a career:
1. Exercise (30 minutes)
Corinthians reminds us that we are not our own, and we are to “Glorify God in your body.” Our bodies are gifts from God, and should be treated as such. Just as diamonds are created through heat and pressure, we must also use resistance to become the treasure that God wants us to be. Thirty minutes of vigorous, resistance-based exercise each day is necessary, for us to be our best for God. For me, this means yoga, but it might mean something different for you. I don’t think it matters what we call it, as long as we intentionally connect with our physical body, for the purpose of building strength and overcoming resistance, every single day.
2. Nourish (20 minutes)
God gave us everything we need to fuel our bodies when He created the earth, yet we eat more packaged foods, than the kinds that come straight from the farm to the table. The foods God created are rich in phytonutrients, amino acids, and minerals that our bodies need to remain in good health, and should be the foundation of our diet. These foods also take more time to prepare, but this is the sacrifice we must make, to be in good health. Taking time to prepare and enjoy food from the earth glorifies God.
3. Meditate (5 minutes)
Psalm 46 tells us “Be still and know that I am God.” It is essential to put ourselves in “time out” once a day, so that we can reconcile with who God is, what He has done, and what He is capable of. Meditation is the act of surrendering our mind, body and spirit, so He can fill us up with His purposes. This can be as simple as closing our eyes, and quieting our mind, or we can meditate on specific concepts from scripture (heaven, love, or peace, for example). This practice is best done sitting on the floor, but can also be practiced laying on the ground, with our arms at our sides, and palms facing up (as long as you don’t let it turn into a Scooby Nap).
4. Pray (5 minutes)
Pray throughout the day, with the intention of seeking His guidance. Get in the habit of praying upon waking, before meals, and at bedtime, as well as any other times that you want to connect with Him. Simple prayers work just as well as complex prayers…God knows our hearts, and does not need fancy words or explanations. This practice is supported in Romans: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” We renew our minds by considering what God needs from us, asking Him for support, and practicing gratitude, in the form of prayer, throughout the day.
5. Practice discernment (takes no time at all)
Erma Bombeck once said, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I have not a single bit of talent left, and I could say, I used everything You gave me.” We must ask ourselves every day, “What is happening around me, and what does God want me to do with it?” When we practice awareness, we create more opportunities to use our talents for God’s purposes, and draw closer to Him in the process.
What do you think? We can talk about it, if you’d like. Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or send me a private message through the Facebook page for My Crazy Healthy Life.