Take Care of Yourself

When your body suffers, so does your ministry.

Oh my. I’m sitting in my basement office in my pj’s and when I prayed and asked God for guidance for this post, those words came to me. I suppose God wants me to write about the elephant here in my room.

I’ve been struggling with a physical issue for a few weeks, and I haven’t been able to write a blog post because it felt draining to me. Just being honest. Writing a blog post like this, well, it’s been hard because I open up here in the hopes of helping someone out there.

Being honest about what we’re going through can be hard. Letting others see us without our game faces (or makeup!) can be so revealing, so cringe-worthy. We want to appear to be strong and sleek and on top of things. Not weak, pudgy, and falling asleep on the couch before it gets dark.

And yet when we’re not feeling our best or we’re battling something attacking our bodies, we are not able to perform at our best.

I remember when I used to run a long time ago when my knees would allow it. If I ate a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream the night before, my morning run suffered.

Now if I don’t exercise, I struggle with brain fog and my entire body suffers. (I suppose I’ve been in denial thinking I can eat the way I used to when I was in my twenties and NOT exercise and nothing is going to change. Hello, reality!)

So it seems, if we don’t take care of ourselves, our ministry, our service to God and others suffer.

Your ministry might be spending time with your child and showing them God’s love through nature walks, volunteering at a food pantry, working long hours to put food on the table for your family, encouraging a friend, visiting someone who can’t venture out, writing stories of faith and hope, singing of God’s glory..the list can go on and on.

So, taking care of ourselves would not be a selfish act, but a way to honor God and to love others. And to be ready.

Be ready?

That’s right. When God calls us to expand our ministry or begin a new one, we’ll be excited and full of overall tingling anticipation—not drained at the very thought of doing ONE MORE THING.

You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?

Today, I’m taking the plunge into better health so my ministry won’t suffer and I can be ready. I’ve been here before and wandered off to My Own Way Lane where chocolate chips, potato chips, and bowls of frosting abound. But God is drawing me back. (Thank You, Lord!)

So what does this involve for me? Eating better (cue my grumpy toddler face), exercising (face contorted in pain), and a doctor’s visit (using wisdom here).

What about you? Are you willing to take care of yourself so your ministry can flourish and you can be ready when God calls?

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

(1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV.)

“Be prepared in season and out of season.”

(2 Timothy 4:2b NIV.)

Take Care of Your Body

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My mom yelled at me this morning while we were talking on the phone. Before you start feeling sorry for me, don’t. She was right. (See, Mom. I can admit when I’m wrong!)

Lately, I’ve been having problems with my feet. (Bear with me, I promise there’s a point in all of this.) My feet have been hurting like never before and yesterday they were bluish in color. The answer may be poor circulation, high cholesterol issues, or Raynaud’s syndrome, which would explain why I love my warm and fuzzy socks so much. (The crazy colors are just a wonderful bonus.)

But Mom reminded me that I need to take care of my feet because she had pampered them for years when I was a child; exercising them after I was born with windblown feet to set them right, rubbing lotion on them, pampering them with kisses and Band-Aids when I scraped and cut them. And I’m sure there were countless times of wiggling and tickling my little piggies simply out of love.

She insisted I need to buy a new pair of GOOD walking shoes. (Okay, so my husband has been telling me this, too.) But Mom was reprimanding me because she’d taken responsibility for my young feet, had loved and cared for them before I could. When I was toddling around and banging into things, Mom was there to comfort and care for those bumps and bruises.

And isn’t that just like God? God has been there for me, for YOU, from the very beginning. He knitted us together in our mother’s womb in a miraculous and wonderful way. He watched over us, lovingly whispered to us, and has kept us safe in ways we are oblivious to on this side of eternity.

But now that we’re older, what are we doing with those bodies He knitted together? Are we abusing them? Forbidding times of rest because our to-do list is unrolling and stretching out the door? Are we stuffing them full of garbage because we don’t have the time, we don’t make the time, to fix the healthy stuff so we grab what’s fast and easy? Or are we passing on exercise because we just don’t feel up to it? How can we when we’re surviving on imitation cheese slices and bananas? (Side note: That used to be my actual breakfast many years ago.)

Take this little post as God “yelling” at you today, my friend. Lovingly, He is yelling at you and me. (Don’t feel bad, this is the second time I’ve been yelled at today!) We need to take care of our bodies, these gifts He meticulously knitted and crafted. He planned and worked together how you and I were going to look, the feel of our skin, the radiance and the blend of colors in our eyes, the texture of our hair. And He designed our bodies to work in ways I can’t even begin to comprehend. What right do we have to take the miracle of our bodies and frown upon them, viciously abuse them, or just blatantly ignore their needs?

We don’t have the right when we realize: They are His vessels to use, too.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13 NIV.)

 “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT.)

“My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:11-12 NLT.)