Taking care…

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I remember a counseling professor, back in my grad school days, making the point that we are physical (as well as spiritual) beings… “So if you have a fever of 104, how’s your spiritual life?”  Our bodies and our minds are connected.  We’re not platonic ideals, we’re a complex mish mash of id and ego, temporal lobe and prefrontal cortex hopped up on hormones that are affected by what we eat, what we drink, when we sleep…  So just the way there’s no way to have a healthy spiritual life (or a life of the mind) when you’re hopped up on cocaine, there’s actually no way to have a healthy spiritual life without taking care of how you eat, sleep, and exercise.  This is especially true if you’re planning to do anything difficult in life…

If you plan on going on a vacation to a beach resort, you can stay up late, eat haphazardly, and feel fine.  If you feel tired you can always take a nap on the beach.  But if you’re planning on actually doing something…then you’ll need to be ready physically.  I’m not just talking about running a marathon (actually marathons are usually not healthy – you shouldn’t do it if you need to be doing something else that’s difficult as well), I’m talking about things we don’t think of as spiritual…

People who are trying to kick addictions often say, it’s important not to get too tired or too hungry or too-anything, because in those moments when you really need will-power to stay straight, you won’t be able to do it when you’re physically run-down.

Many spiritual battles get lost at this end.  In the moments when we really need to fight for patience, or fight to be loving, or fight to forgive or understand – or fight just to pray to ask for help – we’re easily defeated when we’re physically run down.  When we’re run-down we feel tired, we feel frustrated, psychologically our attention turns inward, we feel sorry for ourselves, we feel hopeless, we remember things that make us angry, it becomes hard to forgive…

This is true for everyone, but I think this is especially a problem I see among single people: you need to take care of yourself physically.  You need rest, and food, and balance.  It’s easy to lose that when you live alone, I know!  But now that you’re trying to get healthy spiritually, you need to get balance physically.  If you’re asking God the disciple’s question, “what do you want me to do today?”  Part of the answer is: take care of your body, eat well, sleep enough, play a bit, pray, and then do the work you need to do.

Related posts:

  1. I’ll take care of it…
  2. Taking care of things…
  3. A thought on thankfulness…
  4. Glory and Despair…
  5. Take care of the church…
  6. Useful routines…
  7. Living now, not later…
  8. a rhythm of work and play…

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