There are two opposite extremes that we could take concerning our physical health:
First, we could focus all our energies on nutrition, exercise, sleep habits and so on, being totally gung-ho about having a healthy body… but not be too concerned with spending time and effort on the health of our spirits.
Or we could take the opposite extreme and argue that if we are going to die anyways, why not enjoy life while we are here and eat what we want and do what we want–even if that’s not necessarily very healthy.
Spiritual Health Over Physical
I want to start by saying that I believe spiritual health is FAR more important than physical health.
We can be in tip-top shape physically, but how is that going to help anybody if we are completely self-absorbed?
We can eat the best foods and exercise 3 -5 times a week, but if we are not developing our relationship with God and learning to love others, what lasting benefits will there be?
As it says in 1 Tim 4:8 (GWT), “Training the body helps a little, but godly living helps in every way. Godly living has the promise of life now and in the world to come.”
I’d rather be friends with a super-loving person who eats lots of hamburgers and french fries with pop regularly than with a judgmental, mean person who has impeccable health habits.
As we all know, beauty on the inside is so much more important than beauty on the outside.. and in the same way, the health of our souls has far more value over the health of our bodies.
Physical Health DOES Have Value
At the same time, if we don’t focus on our physical health as much as we should, our fruitfulness on this earth may be compromised.
In my own life I find it much easier to show the fruits of the Spirit… love, joy, peace, patience… when I am feeling good physically. Don’t you agree?
And wouldn’t you rather increase your chances to live healthier for longer–giving yourself more opportunities to influence others positively in this life?
After all, our bodies are actually not our own.
They really belong to God and are on loan to us. So we should, of course, try to take care of them and not give in to every whim.
That way we’ll be able to use our bodies to fulfill God’s best plans for us.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20(NIV) “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
The previous Bible verse is about sin, but I believe it can apply to healthy habits, as well.
What If You’re Not Very Healthy Right Now?
This is not to say you can’t do everything right, and still get sick.
There are people who are both super-healthy spiritually and also seem to have great physical health habits, but unfortunately have to go through physical illness or suffering.
If you have been sick or have trouble losing weight for any reason (even really bad health habits)–please don’t feel judged.
I know it can be discouraging when you’ve tried various things and nothing seems to work.
You need to know that your body–no matter what size or condition– is wonderfully made, and you are so loved, no matter what your health habits.
Sometimes we need to show grace to ourselves and others for not being perfectly healthy.
We Can Do It
But the truth is, for most of us, our health habits actually can make a TREMENDOUS difference in not only how we feel now, but especially how our health will be down the road
… and not that far down the road, either.
I don’t know about you–but I don’t want average health, with average chances of getting sick over time and average energy throughout the day.
I want excellent health, with excellent chances of living a long, healthy life, and excellent energy now.
But to do that, I’m going to have to have excellent health habits, not just average ones.
This doesn’t mean perfection … but aiming for excellence.
It means learning and growing in the area of health, and striving with baby steps to try new things and increase in healthy habits.
I’ve still got a long way to go, too, and I can’t say that I believe at this point that it’s never okay to eat the cookie offered by a friend at her party (I sure do), but the more we keep learning and trying to practice what we’ve learned, the healthier we’ll be.
As it says in 3 John 1:2 (NLT), “Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.”
How Do We Get There?
The great thing is, becoming healthy can actually be a YUMMY, FILLING, and FUN way to live!
You wouldn’t think so… good health is often associated with bland foods (and not much of it, to boot) and strenuous workouts.
Yes, there will probably be some growing pains as you seek to change habits that you’ve grown used to. And there are some things that might be beneficial, but not on your top-ten list for fun.
But the cool thing is, God made our taste buds for a reason, and He has also made healthy, yet delicious foods for us to enjoy.
All kinds of spices, for example, can both make our food taste amazing and build our immune systems at the same time.
And ripe, local fruit can be so delicious… ever had a mango while in Central America?
And did you know that cocoa is actually extremely healthy? Better add some more to your diet (perhaps minus the excess sugar) 🙂
And when it comes to exercise, there are so many fun activities we can be doing that can add to our own health that don’t have to be super-strenuous…
How about a regular walk with friends or a nice bike ride through a beautiful natural area?
Or maybe there’s a fun way to volunteer that would both use your gifts and add to your physical fitness?
We also need great ways to rest and relax that will add to our overall health…
a late afternoon on the beach or a bath with essential oils are some health habits that sound good to me!
In the next blog posts, I’ll include some of my favourite health-related websites and books, as well as some tips for building great health habits, one yummy baby step at a time.
I’ll also include some of my favourite super-delicious recipes that are more healthy to eat that not to (in my opinion). Healthy, yet scrumptious ice cream? Oh, yeah–there are tons of recipes for them!
For now, just know that whatever your health habits, you are extremely loved and treasured and beautiful to God exactly as you are.
And if you experience emotional or physical pain as a result of less-than-ideal health, I know God has great compassion for you and feels your struggles with you.
But for your own benefit, if you’d like to get on the road to better health, the good news is that it doesn’t always have to be super-hard or super-boring.
With one baby step after another, you’ll be eating loads of delicious food and enjoying fun or relaxing activities on your own and with family and friends.
It’ll feel so much more satisfying than a bag of chips in front of the TV all the time… and you’ll have such great long-term results!
By the Way…
If you have some physical health goals and would like some help reflecting on realistic and fun strategies for your life ,as well as get gentle accountability and encouragement on the road to better health, I’d love to help.
Disclaimer: I’m passionate about nutrition and natural living, but I am not a certified nutritionist, medical doctor, or practitioner of any kind, therefore I’m not licensed to counsel anyone in medical matters. Please seek out the advice of your trusted healthcare provider. This blog is for informative and entertainment purposes only.
What are your favourite fun and/or delicious health tips? I’d love to hear them in the comments.