A lot of people want to be healthy and ask how to lose weight the healthy way, but what is healthy? The definition of health is the general condition of the mind or body referring to both dependability and vitality (1), Other definitions include the functioning state of the physical, mental, social, and spiritual (2). When you really think about being healthy you may agree that you need to integrate the mind, body and spirit. While reading the bible, you see examples of God caring for individuals entire lives, not just physical or spiritual, making a holistic approach to your life even more important. When realizing all the aspects that need to be addressed to lead a completely healthy lifestyle it can be a bit of a balancing act, which really means you need to be even more diligent about keeping things prioritized. I did a little exercise where I prioritized: mind, soul, church, friends, diet, exercise, family, church, finances, job, and skills. I encourage you to do this exercise too and think about what would make a healthy balanced life for you.
These are all areas that are important that need to be balanced in my life. (feel free to make adjustments to the list for example you may want to put your spouse or children on the list). In order to find the right balance you need to realize what needs to be the focus and what happens as an overflow of addressing the the other aspects of your Healthy Christian Lifestyle. For me my list is:
I put God as my number one because my relationship with Him, and my time spend with Him is so tremendously valuable and I know that He has every part of my life in His hands and cares for me completely. This connection is how I have self-worth and is critical for me to live a healthy life. I put soul as number two because it is my connection with God. My relationship with Him is my number one priority. My soul is how I stay rooted in God, have peace, love and joy in my life. My soul needs to be constantly and consciously feed. When I start having unhealthy thoughts or habits it is typically because I am neglecting my first two priorities.
Next I put family, I love them and I need them to stay healthy and sane. It is a good reset when I can see them and talk to them. They are a high priority, and I know they want the best for me and are great encouragement and will be with my through everything. Close behind are friends, who are a great support system and allow me to see different perspectives on life in general. I love that friends have very different strengths, but still have similarities going on which makes doing life with a community important. It puts me in a different place to pray for and encourage my friends. I love the connection and bonds developed. Both family and friends keep me from getting in the trap of only thinking about myself, our nature makes it so easy to get caught up with our life and no one else. "After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church." (Ephesians 5:29) I know I am not going to really neglect my body, but those relationships are more fragile and add a different dimension to my life. I am not saying I do not workout to see your friends more, but it a point to do both. I know some people would have these flipped but or right now the physical aspects are a natural part of my life that I need to be more conscious of prioritizing friends and family.
Although not as important as friends and family, my diet and exercise are still in the extremely high priority zone. I put diet then exercise, because food has a huge effect, it effects the organs in my body at a different level, then my workouts right now. When I eat desserts or processed foods that I typically do not eat I can tell the difference. My workouts not only make my body feel good and strong, it also builds my confidence. I know when these two areas are neglected I do not operate to the same capacity. I also feel like my gifts and talents are so interconnected here that it has an even bigger carryover mentally and spiritually.
Next is my mind, the mind is so hard to separate out, but getting adequate sleep and minimizing anxieties while stayign mentally sharp are all very important but there relation to the other aspects makes it less of something on a to do list but a natural result of living in a community, having a strong relationship with God and taking care of my body. Additionally, I am more than happy to give up some sleep and be a little mentally sluggish for important people in my life, and yes I am the crazy person who wants a 24 hour gym to give up some sleep to workout (I am crazy, but God loves me).
Close behind I listed skills, this is something I still feel like I need to address and take time on, but ultimately it is pretty far behind these other areas although I still know it is important for me to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle and to grow into the version of myself that God sees.
For the rest of my list everything else is really coming from an overflow. When the other areas are in check ministry, church, job and finances are just a result and not something that is really as high of a priority as I thought. I still am very dedicated to my church and job, but for my overall healthy Christian lifestyle these are not close to number one. For me, I try to read a bible chapter every morning on my walk into work, yes I would get to work faster if I did not read, but reading my bible is one little thing I do for my soul. I know that the ups and downs in all these areas, but in the grand scheme of things are nothing compared to my relationship with God and His saving gracious gift is more than enough.
Now that you hopefully made your list, you have already done the first step in living a healthy life, defining your priorities. Next, you can think about what your list says about the choices you would make based on what is important in certain situations. Some situations could be, thinking about if you are deciding between doing a workout or staying overtime, going out to eat with friends or answering emails, reading the bible or going to sleep a little earlier (yes, sometimes sleep wins no matter what you want to do. We are humans. The disciplines fell asleep on Jesus and He loved them). Overall being healthy is about maintaining balance and not neglecting areas of your life. Everything should be operating together in your life with your priorities to help guide you in the choices you make. It is important to remember to be living an intentional healthy life is challenging, but it does not go on rewarded. Not only do you personally get to experience a more healthy life, but your life impacts others, think about how you want others to be shaped by how your life.
Hope you enjoy this post!