Friday, February 06, 2015

Spiritual Health Reality Check

Most of you are aware that I have recently taken on some pretty big health changes. A little over a year and a half ago I made the decision to get healthy. I started to eat better. I cut out junk food, fast food, most processed foods and most starchy foods. I started eating less at a time and eating more often. I ate more fruits and vegetables, fewer calorie dense foods and drank more water.

After I dropped about 30 pounds, I started walking ... every day. On most days it was around two miles. On many days it was more. I walked in the rain. I walked in the cold. If it was too bad, I rode a stationary bike. For about six months, I exercised with very few days off.

I knew that to get from being very overweight and in poor physical condition to being more healthy was going to take three main things; changing my diet, getting some physical activity and time.

I managed to lose 54 pounds in a year, 60 in the 54 weeks before my 54th birthday.

I'm sharing the high points of my physical journey to better health because I think the the same process needs to take place in a spiritual health journey. When I take the time to make an honest assessment of my spiritual health, it looks a lot like my physical health once looked -- overweight and badly out of shape.

To change my spiritual intake, I'm going to have to cut out a lot of junk food. I've already managed to reduce exposure to some negativity in the way of people interaction, but there is so much more that needs to be cut out. I've been spending a lot less time of Facebook where there is a pretty constant stream of rants, lies and childlike whining. I've pretty much quit watching any "news" stations that all seem to have their own warped ideas of how and what they report as news. In many ways, I've become less informed about the things that are going on in the political sphere, the economic world and even the lives of many of the people I know. In truth, these things have very little to do with my day to day life. I have little or no power to change them. They have little to no impact on how I will live today. And worrying about them, gossiping about them, getting other people to worry about them serves no good purpose, whatsoever.

It's just junk food for the mind and soul. It's the kind of stuff that fills you up so that you are unable to enjoy the good wholesome, encouraging stuff that you need for a healthy attitude and healthy spirit. Filling up on that crap all day and then expecting to be spiritually "healthy" because you've managed to read a few chapters in your Bible is like pigging out on donuts for breakfast, burgers and fries for lunch, snacking on chips, cookies, and twinkies (do they still make those?) all day and then feeling all healthy because you have a salad for dinner.

We know that it doesn't work that way physically (we keep doing it anyway), why don't we see that it doesn't work that way spiritually. Not only is there a need to fill up on good conversation and interaction with like-minded people, but there is an even greater need to stop filling up on the toxic conversations and interactions that are killing your spiritual growth.

And as much as we need to change our spiritual diet, we also (desperately) need to get some spiritual exercise! We need to -- uh oh, get this -- practice what we preach! We need to DO something!

I know that there are people of different faith backgrounds that read this, but for the moment I'm going to address those that share the same Christian beliefs that I have.

Being a (spiritually) healthy Christian is going to take more than going to church on Sunday. It's going to take more than reading your bible every day. It's going to take more than preaching about going to church and reading your bible. And it's going to take more than only hanging around the church with other spiritually unhealthy believers.

I think that it's time for me to get some spiritual exercise.

Like with establishing a habit of physical exercise (I've started, stopped and restarted numerous times), it's going to take some time.

Changing my spiritual diet is going to mean getting good nutrition from reading the Bible and other good, spiritually nutritious books as well as cutting out the toxic junk that tries to make its way onto my spiritual plate.
Getting some spiritual exercise is going to mean that I will have to have some interaction with people and bring them the Good News that God loves them and Jesus died for them. This will take more than just preaching at them; it will take building relationships with them and teaching them the ways of my Lord and Savior (making disciples).

And like with the physical part, good spiritual health is going to take some time.

Be patient with me, my friends.
I'm working it.

John <><

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