by Dr. Toni Tennent – Katy Church Health Ministries Leader
How many times have you asked a question to which you already have the answer? We all do it! The pursuit of happiness remains one of the most elusive things to mankind. Why is that? Happiness is not about what we get out of life. It is about who we become in life. When we embark on a journey to become a better version of ourselves, happiness will join us. Personal development is the key. We should work harder on ourselves than we do anything else. How can we do that? By first getting back to basics. The Bible remains the absolute best textbook for ideas, experiences, and success equations for leading a better, more productive life. Most, if not all of us, already own a Bible. We already have the answers to many of life’s questions.
There are three important components of personal development: physical, spiritual, and mental. This article will focus on physical health. Physical and spiritual health are intertwined. If one is affected, both will feel the impact. First Corinthians 6:19-20 states, “Or do you not know that your body is the TEMPLE of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” A temple is a place we go the distance to take good care of. Are we treating our bodies like a temple? If we needed any further confirmation as to why we should, consider this. The body is the physical support system so the mind can dream and the heart believe all things are possible. It is the body that goes to work to accomplish the dream.
Let’s be honest! Most of us don’t invest the time to figure out what works for us personally. We listen to others tell us what is good for us and we try to make that recommendation fit. No two bodies are exactly alike. Therefore, there is no universal healthy diet. Not every exercise is appropriate for everyone either. Understand what works for your body. Taking time to make sure of the important things applies also to physical health. If we are content doing what is convenient, then we must also be content with the inconvenience of less than optimal health. Pay now or pay later. Either way we are going to pay.
The body is meant to work. Physical work is essential to good health. Regular exercise must be a part of our health plan. So is getting enough rest. Both are equally important. We are created with an internal clock, the circadian rhythm. Different physiological functions take place at different times of the day. During sleep is when the body heals itself. If we are not getting restful sleep at the time of day our internal clocks dictate, we are sabotaging our own health. Many of us have circadian rhythm dysfunctions. We go to sleep at hours which are at odds with our internal clocks. Hypertension, diabetes, cognitive impairments, headaches, chronic fatigue, chronic pain are just a few symptoms of sleep deprivation and circadian rhythm dysfunction.
If we have trouble getting to bed on time because we have so much work to do, then we must modify our schedules. Instead of trying to find time to fit everything in, schedule things that can reasonably fit into the time you have. We all get 24 hours. At 11:59 p.m. it is over. There is no “finding” time. Some people manage to fit a buffet into their 24 hours. Some don’t get past the appetizer. Most don’t have a schedule at all. They start the day with a mental list of things to do. They eventually get pushed to the next day because other things come up. That becomes their habit. They are not getting enough sleep and many important things are not getting done. For things to change, we must change. If we are to succeed, we must be the thermostat and not the thermometer. We must set the temperature and not respond to the environment.
Most of us can give a blow by blow account of temple service. We can describe the layout of the temple up to the Most Holy Place. Yet, we know almost nothing about our own temples. We willingly and voluntarily abdicate that responsibility to health “professionals.” We should all be the experts on our own temples. Practice prevention. Often, we lament that there is so much opposing information out there about what health advice to follow. Follow none of them! Read both views and draw your own conclusion. The Bible also gives us perspectives on favorable and unfavorable situations. We read both and decide which to follow. Whatever path we take must be the product of our own decision.