Monday, January 6, 2014

Chapter 6 Teaser: The Mind, Body and Spirit Connection

Biblical Big Idea #6: Matthew 22:37: “And Jesus Said, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”


Steps Taken:_________________

Miles Journeyed: ______________

Exercise Chosen: ______________

Spiritual Thoughts: _____________

Feelings: _____________________

Day Six: The Mind, Body and Spirit Connection

Research supports the notion that mind, body and spiritual health are all connected.  In fact, the World Health Organization’s definition of health is a state of “complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”  This definition has not changed since 1948.  As a Christian, I also believe, and a great deal research supports that spiritual wellbeing is also essential for physical and mental health.  When we are not “right” with our spirit, our bodies and minds can fail.  Spiritual illnesses can cause great mental pain and anguish.  Similarly, physical and mental infirmity can cause a strain on the spirit.  There are stories of people whose doctors could find nothing physically wrong with a patient and yet continued to fail in their well being because their spirit was so ill.


Conversely, strong mental, spiritual and/or physical health can help you overcome disease and illness of the mind or body when they are threatened.  Taking care of your mind, body and spirit is good for the mind, body and spirit.


When Jesus heals the paralytic in Luke 5: 17-26, Jesus first had to heal the man’s spirit before He could heal his body.  Jesus drove evil spirits from minds and souls in order to heal.  Jesus knew that these individuals must be reconciled with Him in order to attain the healing they sought.  Faith has healed many people.


If we look back on our discussion about the things we want to change about ourselves, the things (smoking, drinking, food, stress, etc) are our addictions and vices.  We often turn to these things before turning to God in order to cope.  We look for solace in food or alcohol or drugs in an attempt to manage our spiritual, mental, or physical distress, thereby compounding our problems.  Before we can become strong physically, we often need to address these addictions and seek help in putting them behind us.  Only then can we put God in their place.


I smoked back in college.  I was a nursing student and smoked.  If I could have had a big fat “idiot” plastered across my forehead, well, I had it, even if I did not see it.  The smoking started after a bad breakup, and as the stress of school and as the impending independence from my parents loomed, my smoking habit got worse.  It seemed like a harmless way to deal with the stress in my life.  I also felt very cool and mature.  Then I met my future husband and he was none-too-pleased with my nasty habit, so I started the journey to quit. I knew that, thanks to four years of nursing school, tobacco use is a terrible habit.  Even though I was not a heavy smoker, nor did I use it for an extended length of time, I found smoking incredibly addictive.  Although I quit smoking, I found the stress of a patient dying on the ward would send me back to sneaking a smoke on a break with the other nurses. Then I would feel guilty and try to hide it from my husband.  This was a short but vicious cycle until I thought about my three most important things.  This habit was keeping from my relationship with God.  I could have chosen to talk to God about my stress, my anxiety, my problems and my grief, but it was a lot easier for me to turn to a smoke.  It was terrible to my health and the fact I tried to hide it from my family was just plain wrong.  There was nothing about my habit that was supporting the three most important things in my life.


In order to finally quit smoking for good, I turned to God in prayer and prayed that he would give me the strength to overcome this habit.  I prayed that my desire for the nicotine would be banished.  I have never smoked since.  I feel no desire for cigarettes since that time.  I give thanks to God for the strength he gave me.  I have learned to replace my bad habits with healthier habits of prayer, physical exercise, and mental exercise.  And these healthy habits can replace many unhealthy habits if you arm yourselves with the tools of success.  We will talk more about additional tools to success as we go through the chapters.  But do not doubt that you can be successful.  I know you can and God knows you can.  Don’t be the one to say, “I can’t.”


You have the Christ Spark inside you.  What a precious thing we all carry!  As a mother, I think of my Christ Spark like the child I carried in my womb for nine months.  We all have this spark and we can joyfully nurture this spark and take care of its temple so that it can do marvelous things in the world.  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”  Jeremiah 1:5.  God has a purpose for every person.  And every purpose when fulfilled to the glory of God is a good thing.


Thoughts to Ponder:

1.                What is your purpose right now at this point in your life?

2.               Has your purpose changed?  Do you think it will change in the future?

3.               How does your purpose make you feel?

4.               Do you think you need to re-think your purpose to ensure the three most important things in your life are a part of it?