Taking Care of Yourself
by Poppy Smith
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I feel sorry for flight attendants. They give out vital information at the beginning of every flight yet most of us who fly frequently pay little attention. Every piece of their advice is invaluable, but one in particular is highly practical: When the oxygen mask drops from above your head, take care of yourself first!
But that’s so selfish, you might think. Surely I should be watching out for everyone around me? Yes—that’s great, but if you’re passing out because of no oxygen, soon others will be taking care of you.
This same principle applies to life. We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139) and God expects us to value and take care of His incredible creation. That means making sure that our physical body, emotions, intellect , and the spiritual connection we have with Him, are all kept in good condition to the best of our ability.
Physical Health: Every woman’s magazine has articles about taking care of your body. “Do this six times a week and you’ll lose ten pounds,” they declare. Stretch. Walk. Jog. Get your annual physical. Don’t forget to floss! The advice is all encompassing, but have you ever thought why you need to take care of your physical frame? Not so you will look twenty-five forever, but because God has given you this vehicle through which to enjoy life AND to serve Him.
Taking care of your body is a God thing! Plus your body houses the Holy Spirit (l Cor. 6:19-20). It is a gift to be cherished and, where needed, disciplined so you have power over it, not the other way around! Ask yourself: Do I expect my body to just keep going without any attention—or is it overdue for some focused TLC? When will you schedule what’s needed?
Intellectual Health: A mind is a terrible thing to waste because it too, is a gift from God. He gave you your smarts, your capabilities, your quickness to catch on and learn for many reasons: so you can delight in knowing Him through a transformed mind, delight in using your capabilities to do good, and delight in the sense of fulfillment that comes when you use your God-given talents (Rom. 12:2).
Pursuing education and using your intellect honors God no matter what area of work you are in. When you’re a thinker, a reader, a learner, God can speak to your friends, family and culture through your well-thought out beliefs and values. Ask yourself: When did I last sit in a class that taught me something about my faith—or my work, or some other interest? When did I last read a book about God, one that expanded my understanding of who He is and that challenged me to a new level of following Christ? Don’t settle for a mental rut—glorify God with the brains He gave you. For suggestions of books that will help stretch your mind, check out Want to Grow ?
Emotional Health: Do you cry easily? Lose your cool frequently? Feel down, discouraged, depressed? Ever thought about what’s up? In several Psalms, David told God how miserable he was. He wasn’t ashamed to acknowledge things weren’t always wonderful in his life. He talked about being in distress, his eyes weak with sorrow, his life consumed by anguish. He cried out to God asking how long before he had relief but he also asked himself some important questions. In Psalm 42:5-6, he looked inward, seeking some answers—what’s the matter with me? Why am I so upset? These are important questions to ask yourself when you recognize your emotional reactions are out of sync with the situation. Often they are rooted in long forgotten experiences.
Emotions are powerful—they bring great joy and delight, but they can also wreck your life. Being emotionally healthy takes honesty with ourselves first of all. Hiding from what is going on in us only leads to more distress. Stuffing and pretending is not the way God wants us to live. He says, “Come to me and I will give you rest” (Matt.11:28). Have you done that? Have you taken your hurt, grief, anger, fear, or any other powerful emotion to the Lord and simply told Him what is going on? He will draw you close, assure you of His love no matter how you are feeling, and direct you towards help and healing.
Spiritual Health: David’s honest acknowledgement of his emotions allowed spiritual vibrancy to flow into his life, but he never stopped there. He turned to God in every situation and in every emotional state. God wasn’t some remote concept to him, some fear-inducing Being to be appeased. David cozied up to God because he trusted Him and knew he was loved. He was totally confident that all he needed for whatever he was facing would be provided by the All-Sufficient One.
Knowing God’s heart and loving Him from the depth of your heart is what spiritual health is all about. It isn’t about keeping rules, or making sure you fit someone’s idea of a “spiritual woman”. It’s about a relationship that throbs with love and desire to please the One you love. When that’s the core of your life, you’ll want to do what pleases Him. How spiritually healthy are you?
Copyright 2009 - Poppy Smith. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2009 - Poppy Smith. All rights reserved.
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