As Christians we have a mandate to bring the light of the “good news” to the world. We are charged with helping bring His kingdom to life. We have missions of service and people we care about.
And we can’t make progress on any of those fronts if we fall over dead one day because we didn’t take care of our health.
If your health isn’t where you want it to be, don’t despair. I pray you’ll find this post will help.
WORKING OUR ISSUES, BUT NOT OUR HEALTH ISSUES
A couple of years ago I starting noticing that I had Christian friends who were very committed to doing their “emotional work,” but they didn’t work on their health issues, even though they clearly needed to.
They were obese, or had barely-managed diabetes, or lived with chronic pain, or had some other issue that they really needed to bring their best self to handling. And yet they weren’t doing anything about it. I started asking some of them what that was. And what I discovered was …
The reason these Christian men weren’t pursuing better health was that they had given up on it.
1) They had come to believe that they weren’t going to get any traction on improving their health, no matter what they did…
And if that were true, why waste their time on diet and exercise?
2) They had concluded that health was possible, but in order to have it they’d have to embrace a life of depravation, discipline and joylessness…
And if that were true, why even bother if pursuing health was going to make their lives miserable?
These men weren’t doing their emotional work about their health because they had already accepted that it was pointless to try. Does that sound familiar to you?
So many Christians have given up on having better health.
And because we give up on better health…
- We aren’t able to pursue optimal health,
- We aren’t able to wholeheartedly seek and try out new remedies or approaches, and
- We aren’t able to follow through if a new approach doesn’t work instantly.
DON’T RUSH TO MAKE A NEW COMMITMENT
As you read this, please don’t rush to make some big new commitment about how you are going to start taking care of your health.
I say that because, before you can start really caring for your health, you have to start caring for the part of you that has given up on good health even being possible for you.
If you don’t care for that part of yourself—if you don’t handle your past discouragement and connect to a new source of wholehearted inspiration—perhaps you’ll be able to take some new action toward better health…but you’ll inevitably give up once you hit a bump on the road, and start having some difficulty.
TAKING WHOLEHEARTED ACTION
You can’t succeed at losing weight and creating better health by simply pushing harder against your own discouragement. You have to heal that discouragement so you can wholeheartedly move forward.
That means the most important thing you can do is to figure out how to wholeheartedly take inspired, consist action to improve your health.
And I mean wholeheartedly.
- I don’t want you to get better at “suffering through” living a healthy lifestyle.
- I don’t want you to get better at living a deprived life.
- I don’t want you to get better at consistently following a workout program that you hate, or eating a diet that you despise.
I want you to become a person from whom the most wholesome, healthy behaviors flow naturally.
That goal may seem unattainable right now. In fact, it might sound flat-out insane.
But it is possible.
And the first step in getting there is healing the part of you that has become discouraged about your health.
HEALING DISCOURAGEMENT ABOUT HEALTH
Here’s how to start:
1) Notice if you have given up on losing weight, improving some chronic condition, or creating better health.
2) Discover why you gave up. Perhaps…
- You’ve repeatedly tried and failed to lose weight and improve your health, or
- You’re so busy that adding in another project seems impossible, or
- You have no idea how to move forward on better health, even if you wanted to, or
- The very idea of letting go of foods or behaviors you rely on emotionally is intolerable, or
- Some combination of all of that, or
- something else.
3) Have compassion for the part of you that has given up. Let yourself see that you haven’t given up on health because you’re a shameful person. Let yourself see how you really do want better health, but you gave up because it seems impossible.
4) Go to God for mercy, compassion, and truth. Turn to your best sense of God’s love and blessing for you, with the question:
“God, how do you feel about me even when I’m so discouraged that I give up on having better health?”
Let yourself feel the love that God has for you, even in this broken, discouraged state.
5) Receive God’s love and be transformed. As this part of you is filled with God’s love, you’ll start to see that it’s not true that a healthy life means a life of depravation, discipline and joylessness. You’ll start to feel that there is a way forward to wholesome good health, even if you aren’t able to see it yet.
And, if you spend enough time in His love for you, even when you are discouraged, you’ll probably become empowered to start seeking for the way forward for you to have better health.
I believe that finding ways to wholeheartedly pursue and achieve excellent health is the next frontier for many Christians. To this end I’ve started a new blog at http://dmitrib.com, wholly to helping you work the emotional issues that might stop you from easily and wholeheartedly taking action to improve your health. Click through and begin to find new encouragement, today.
Do you not know that your body is a temple 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 body. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
– By Dmitri Bilgere
Dmitri is a Crucible leader, personal coach, and author of the book “Gateways to God.” He helps people overcome their discouragement about losing weight and creating better health so they can wholeheartedly take consistent action to create the body they desire. Get more help from him at http://dmitrib.com
Photo Credit: Dr. Abdullah Nasser (via Creative Commons)