“Beloved, I pray that in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health [physically], just as [I know] your soul prospers [spiritually].” – 3 John 1:2 AMP
What an amazing passage of Scripture. I believe that God wants to touch EVERY area of our lives. He is not just a spiritual Savior that will one day deliver us at death into glory. He cares about our physical, emotional, relational, financial AND spiritual well-being today.
So why are so many of us walking around sick and tired of being sick and tired? Well some of it has to do with the impact of sin on our world, but some of it might have to do with our lifestyle choices. Here are four areas that can cause us to live beneath our God given potential -
- Exercise – Most of us don’t get near the amount of movement that our bodies were created for. Think of how much our lives have changed in the last couple hundred years. We built our own houses from trees we cut down by hand and ate food that we hunted, gathered or grew. Every day required hours of physical activity just to live. I’m not advocating that we go off the grid but we do need to find ways to move more. I’ve heard people tell me that they walk 5 miles a day at work. That is certainly better than sitting behind a desk but just to put that into perspective the average turtle walks at just over 1 mph and can ‘run’ at 3-4 mph. So in an 8 hours shift the turtle is leaving you in the dust. My suggestion is that you find something you enjoy doing and sweat for at least 30 minutes a day.
- Food – Much of what we eat isn’t actually food. It’s highly processed frankenfood that is basically devoid of any nutritional value. You can’t put garbage in the magnificent machine that God created and expect it to perform at peak levels. Drink more water, eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins. Shop primarily from the perimeter of the supermarket. Plan your meals ahead of time and avoid the dreaded drive thru. Full disclosure – This is one of the areas I am working on to do better!
- Rest – Did you know that many pro athletes sleep 10+ hours per day when training? They know that sleep is necessary for optimum health. We are chronically sleep deprived and it affects us more than just physically. If you wake up tired on a regular basis and need coffee/energy drinks to keep you going throughout the day you need more sleep. Now God may not sleep but even he set aside a day a week to rest! Make it a priority. Try setting an alarm to go to bed, monitor your caffeine intake and how it affects you, limit screen use in the evenings and turn your phone off at night!
- Stress – Speaking of phones I have a love/hate relationship with mine. It allows us to stay connected with family and friends and increases productivity but it also makes it really easy to take work home with you. People expect to be able to get a hold of you 24/7/365. That isn’t reasonable. That bears repeating. It is not reasonable to work 7 days a week. You need downtime. Find something that helps you de-stress. Exercise, sew, read, fish, whatever helps you relax and schedule time to do it. Caring for your soul isn’t selfish. It’s hard to effectively help others if your life is a wreck. Listen to what Jesus said –
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
Is it possible that we are carrying and caring about burdens that God hasn’t called us to?
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” - Matthew 6:31-33 NIV
One last passage I want to share with you to lighten your load.
“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8 NIV
So if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired don’t despair. There is ALWAYS hope in Jesus. My suggestion is that you find one small thing in each of these areas to change and start there. Don’t sign up to run a 5K this weekend, go vegan, turn off the internet and throw your phone away. My guess is the wheels would come off that bus in less than a week. Maybe park farther away when you shop, pack a salad for lunch two days a week, go to sleep 30 minutes earlier, do something you enjoy and spend some time with God each day. You’ll be amazed at how little changes can make a big difference.
I love you, God loves you and we both want to see you THRIVE.