by Stephanie K Adams
Real Women Ministries
Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, …therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV
Day in and day out, our physical bodies take a beating. The overwhelming majority of us are lacking in sleep and overwhelmed with stress.
Our schedules keep us going from the time our feet hit the floor in the morning until our heads hit the pillow at night.
Go. Go. Go.
Whether we are stay-at-home moms or in the workplace, married or single, we keep a rapid pace of meeting the needs of everyone else – except ourselves.
We cannot continue at a frantic pace without stopping to take time to refill and refuel.
Although the first step in caring for ourselves should be spiritual care – spending time alone with God, we also can’t ignore the importance of taking care of our physical bodies.
I know you’re saying to yourself, “Is this chick crazy? Does she really think I have one second to do anything for myself?” I know you’re busy. I get it. I’m busy too.
But here’s the question: why do we do what we do? Really, why do we hustle from sun-up to sunset? Isn’t it because we love our family and want to care for them?
Well, here’s the deal, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t be able to care for our family.
And healthy eating, exercise, rest, and regular healthcare are vital to keeping us healthy and active.
Take your time with the material below – it is lengthy. If you need to read a section or two and then come back to it, do so. Let’s explore how we can be intentional to care for our physical needs.
What we put into our bodies is just as important as what we do with our bodies. If we want to have energy to keep up with our busy lives, we must ensure we are giving ourselves the correct fuel.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit I struggle in this area. I have been overweight my entire life. But really this isn’t so much a conversation about weight as it is about making sure what we put into our bodies is giving us the nutrition we need.
It’s so easy to pull through the drive-thru on the way to practice or rehearsals. Trust me, my car has seen more than it’s fair share of fast food windows. And, let’s be real…there are times when it’s fast food or nothing because we won’t even arrive at home until past bedtime.
However, these days should be the exception and not the rule.
Having a balanced diet will give us the fuel we need throughout the day to be active and keep us going to complete our must-do lists.
Although I said this isn’t a conversation about weight, the reality is when we feed our bodies the right foods – and exercise – there’s a pretty good chance we will shed a few pounds which helps us to be healthier and live a little better life so we can care for our family.
I’ll go ahead and confess – I. hate. exercise. I hate everything about it. Every. Thing. I don’t know who said it was fun or that my endorphins would kick in and I would get a ‘high’, but they lied. Straight up lied.
I don’t like to sweat. I don’t like to work hard. I don’t like to feel sore the next day. And I have yet to experience a ‘high’ – unless you consider getting lightheaded from panting, then in that case, yes.
What I do know is exercise is a must for me. Sure, I go through phases where I do better some weeks (ok, months) than others. And yes, my car still finds it’s way into a drive-thru. But, I’m trying. I’m making an intentional effort to be consistent at showing up in my life and that includes taking care of myself.
The key is to find something you love and then do that. For some it will be running marathons and doing intense obstacle races, or it may be hiking, biking, rock climbing, or sports. For others, like me, it might be working out in a gym or going for an fast-paced, uphill walk.
Whatever you enjoy, do it. Because if you enjoy it you will stick with it. And no matter what level of physical activity you do, be sure to take time for a walk through the local park with your kids. It’s never too early to teach them to care for their bodies, too.
Remember, our goal for this year is to leave a legacy and I can’t think of a better lesson to leave behind than teaching our kids to care for themselves so they, too, are equipped to care for others.
We cannot neglect our physical needs, especially when it comes to healthcare. Although in general we tend to be more pro-active with seeing a doctor for illness than men, we often allow busyness to keep up from routine exams.
The topic of monthly exams and yearly screenings cause us to cover our ears and put up blinders. As if ignoring their importance will make them seem less essential, less scary, and keep us from facing any unpleasant news.
We say we will make the call in a minute, which turns into the afternoon, which ends up after office hours, so then we promise to call tomorrow – always tomorrow.
Tomorrow isn’t promised. A lesson I learned the hard way.
Neglecting my self-exams and screenings because I was too busy to call – “I’ll just do one more chore and then call” – allowed an aggressive cancer to grow undiagnosed for months.
Fear also keeps many of us from receiving the care we need. When fear is rooted it allows neglect to grow.
It was true fear which kept me from continuing my self-exams after I initially discovered a small lump while on a weekend getaway. Fear fostered avoidance – avoidance that could have cost my life.
In the midst of a health crisis, the first thoughts turn toward our people, the ones we love the most. We realize how much we enjoy playing our part in their lives.
We are forced to admit caring for ourselves is vital to caring for others.
If we aren’t well, we are not able to take care of our family.
We can not always prevent illness or disease, but regular check-ups and ‘listening’ to our bodies is one way we can be intentional to care for ourselves.
So don’t let those self-exams and routine check-ups go by. Get out your calendar and schedule your appointments.
Remember, we don’t care for ourselves in order to be self-centered. We care for ourselves to be God-centered; filled and ready to care for the needs of others.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others
Philippians 2:4 (ESV)
After all that exercise, menu planning, cooking, cleaning, etc. are you tired? Worn out and exhausted? I bet you still have a ton of items left unchecked on your list, huh? So do I. Are you ready for some rest? Yeah, me, too! And guess what, we aren’t alone. Even God was ready for some r-e-s-t:
And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested
Genesis 2:2 (ESV)
Yes, I know there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get it all done before we become weary. And, I bet you’re like me, you begin to bargain with yourself that you will do just one more thing and then go to bed.
But if God needed to rest, then so do we!
Getting rest is important for our bodies. Although getting a full night’s sleep can be a struggle for many of us, we need time to recharge – it’s how we were created.
Most of us go to bed with the hope of falling fast asleep, but then the mind kicks into overdrive, reminding us of all the things we ‘can’t forget’ to add to tomorrow’s must-do list.
There are tons of suggestions on relaxing before bed, creating a calm environment, etc. But I would give you this: there comes a time when you just have to stop – unplug, let the to-do list go, and just shut down.
As you do, say a simple prayer and then rest in Him – ready to face the next day with a refreshed heart and renewed spirit.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28 (ESV)
Jesus, I am weary and worn out today. Help me to come to you, unload my burdens for you to carry, so you can give me rest. Amen.
We have discussed just a few ways to keep our bodies healthy and strong so we can care for others. I would love to hear your thoughts or other ideas. Share with me in the comments. I can’t wait to hear from you!
I share your feelings toward exercise completely! Pray I get back into a routine. These have been such good reminders and encouragements. Thanks!