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Archive for the tag “In sickness and in health”

The Better Life

While spending a few days with my Dad as he lay in a hospital bed, I thought of conversations we have had over the years. He slept most of the time so I had time to think. I got on my health kick about twelve years ago. He told me one time that he never wanted to live to 120 years so he was going to eat what he wanted to eat and do what he wanted to do. I told him I also didn’t want to live to be 120, but I wanted quality of life until the end no matter the age. There is a family history of diabetes and heart related diseases that I just don’t want to experience later in life. I have learned how to handle my health as best I can with what I been given. Quality over quantity!

I usually don’t write about health related topics on this blog. I save it for my Denise4Health newsletters that I send out once a month. But as I consider the Body of Christ these days, on average we are an unhealthy bunch. However, I am noticing a trend that seems to be going in a good direction. In the natural healthcare doctor’s office where I work, I have noticed a few patients come through to get help on their health journey. They have decided to try the natural route because the traditional route has failed them. I get it. I went the traditional route too before I saw the light!

Once in a while, we’ll get a patient that thinks all they need is a supplement and that will be all the work that is required of them. But it’s so much more than a supplement. It’s a lifestyle. It means changing a few destructive habits. As Christians, this should be easier for us. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us transform. However, we don’t put health in the same category as spiritual transformation. But I think health transformation is right in line with spiritual transformation. If the body isn’t healthy, the spirit and mind are not healthy. The stool (mind, body, spirit stool) collapses when one of the legs gives out. Each part of the stool is significant for complete transformation.

Many times, God has used my health to get my attention. When I needed rest, He put me in a place where I could rest. I had Rocky Mountain spotted fever back in the 80’s that knocked me down for quite a while. I had female troubles off and on for about twelve years. I have grown closer to God during those difficult times. I think when I am struggling the most is when I seek Him harder. Maybe that’s why He continues to send me down that health path. It would be nice if I could seek Him hard when things are going well for me.

God wants a better life for us than what we currently accept as normal. We settle for average. We settle for popping a pill and keep moving instead of seeking His best for our lives. We don’t slow down long enough to seek Him and His direction. Or maybe that’s just my way; maybe you’re different. When we become sick and tired of being sick and tired, I think that’s when we look for a better way. At least that was my case. I really do want God’s best for my life. If I have to make a few changes to get to that life, I will do it. Even now, if there are things that I am doing that are not the best for me, then I need to change my ways.

Andy Andrews said that to change we need to see “what’s in it for me” and “proof beyond a doubt” in order to make a change. We don’t have to hit rock bottom. We don’t have to wait until the last-minute. All we need to do to change is turn our minds to the thing we want to do and just do it. It’s a decision. It’s taking a step in that direction. One small step leads to another. We don’t have to make drastic changes, but make one thing different from what we’ve done before. Trade up to a better life. It can be done. One step at a time.

After ten days in a hospital bed, Dad was transferred to a rehab facility. They sat him at a table and put a meal before him. He ate it like he was starving (and he probably was). While he was in the hospital, he ate very little and was very lethargic. What a difference a little nutrition makes! He was much more alert and responsive after just one meal. I think he is in the right place for the right time. God still works on the health journey of a 90-year-old man. He can do it for you too. Seek His will for your life and find the better life!

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. You say, “Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food.” (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) But you can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:12-13 (NLT)

God’s Pursuit

Did you know that I am a certified health nut? Well, it’s officially called a health coach certification. It’s a long story of how I got to the school to attain the certification, but let’s just say God got my attention a few years before that time. You see, I haven’t been very healthy most of my life. I have been fighting battles with sickness since my early years. The catalyst to change was in 2006 when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I have a gluten trigger that will cause my body to attack my thyroid mistaking it for a foreign object. Everything changed when I learned of this disease and how I could heal by changing my life.

Sickness has been a theme throughout my life. In 1985, I came down with Rocky Mountain Spotted-Fever (RMSF). At that time of my life, I was living in the far lands; living with the pigs (reference Luke 15). My life back then was filled with wasted living – just looking for a good time, laughing about the hangovers after a night out with my friends. You would think after almost dying from RMSF, I would have woken up to the fact that this wasn’t God’s plan for me. But it took a couple more years before a revelation came that I needed to change my ways.

I struggled on and off with female troubles for a few years after the RMSF diagnosis. By the time the female issues were a full-blown sickness, I was living back at home with Mom and Dad. I lost my job and had nowhere else to go but back home. God gave me the opportunity to start over. I started back to church regularly and found out God was more interesting than I remembered from my childhood. However, I still wasn’t quite convinced that I needed to give Him everything. I still tried to live my life on my terms.

Everything changed in 1993 when I lost a close friend to an accidental free fall from a plane. Oh, she jumped with a parachute; but failed to open it at the proper time. She loved Jesus and all was good for her eternal place. But it rocked my world because I didn’t know that death could come so quickly to one so young. I understood in theory, but that was a wake-up call to me. It opened my eyes to death in a new way. I could have easily been the one in an accident and lost my life only to discover I wasn’t too sure of my eternal dwelling place. So I went all in to find out what it actually took to be assured that I was in God’s hands forever. I took steps to resolve the conflict that was warring in me but still couldn’t let Him have everything – yet.

It took another ten years or so before the female troubles were completely removed (surgery is a good thing for that). All that time, I was growing in the knowledge of God but failed to understand my body was the temple for the Holy Spirit. I was not respecting His temple. I didn’t know all that I know today. It took the diagnosis of Hashimoto’s to get my attention to give it all to God. Every part of my body is His and I should respect and honor Him by the way I treat His temple. When I finally understood that piece of His message, I started taking the steps to completely overhaul my health and define who God wants me to be: whole and healthy – mind, body and soul. And I gave it all to Him. (We’re still working on the body part. One day, the perishable will be replaced.)

I am grateful God has given me these chances to change. He has pursued me and never let me go. He could have easily chosen to let me continue to go downhill or stay in the pit of despair. But He didn’t. I have been told this past week that God is a personal God. I believe it because I have experienced His personal touch too many times to ignore that fact. He knows me and my struggles. Yet, He loves me personally – uniquely because I am His creation. He formed me with all my frailties in my mother’s womb. He thought of me before I was born. He actually had a secret me before He revealed me to my Mom. That’s pretty cool.

God thought of us all before we took our first breaths. He knows our hearts and our struggles within. And loves us anyway. He pursues us individually and uniquely. He is our personal God. And He is pursuing you today to find Him in your circumstance. He has used sickness to get my attention. How is He pursuing you?

If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.

Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. 2 Timothy 2:21-22 (NLT)

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