Integrated and Diverse Pathways to Health
In January, I, along with my church, committed to a 20-day vegetarian diet, called the Daniel Fast – and with NO added sugars, preservatives, artificial flavors or colors, fried foods, white flour, dairy, and of course no meat, thus vegetarian, or alcohol. Such a lifestyle change changes everything – the way we think; how we shop and sometimes where we shop; and how we eat and prepare food.
The challenge was designed as a pathway for a lifestyle change. And in those few weeks, I lost the weight I’d been trying to lose for three years! Of course I became more consistent with my exercise routine and devoted more time to prayer, reading, mediation and reflection. I focused myself, mind, body and spirit on a healthier life and way of being. I was satisfied with my meals, had peace of mind and got results. It did require some planning and advance thought regarding meal planning, and reading labels to ensure I wasn’t filling myself with toxic ingredients, but it was a great learning process and experience at reclaiming my health and wellbeing. And note, it wasn’t the vegetarian diet alone that brought results.
As I learned, reclaiming health and wellbeing will need to involve a change in how we think about our health and wellbeing. Scripture supports the fact that our thinking influences our actions and behavior (Prov 23:6-7). We conceive things in our thought-life well before manifesting any observable action or behavior.
And while exercise and good eating habits are a great start, neither works well in isolation. We may plateau and not see the results we want if we focus on one or the other. The two work better together; however, any lasting, healthy lifestyle change needs to be accompanied by a quality decision to live and be healthy. And we keep working and pushing forward, fighting to reclaim, and sustain, the health that is ours by right.
A lasting lifestyle of health and wellbeing begins in the mind as a thought, then a choice followed by an action.
Once we are freely embracing thoughts of a healthy lifestyle, it will compel us to learn how to make those thoughts a reality. And that knowledge will help us to make informed choices about our health, which is bound to involve reading and comparing product labels, and becoming more selective about the products we consume and use on our bodies. And just as important, we begin to rid our minds of mental clutter and negativity so our minds can be in health as well.
It’s impossible to have a healthy body when any part of us is unhealthy, including our dental, mental and spiritual health.
Just as an unhealthy mind will make for an unhealthy body and/or spirit, the same is true for other parts of us. We are three-part-beings (mind, body and spirit), and any solutions we contrive for ourselves will need to be three-part as well. Otherwise, the part of us that is unhealthy, whether it’s teeth, ears, gums, throat or our soul, will infect the other parts of ourselves.
Good health, like the world we live in, is more effective when approached holistically through the integration of diverse pathways – the mind pathway (thoughts/emotions), the body pathway (any part of our physical body) and the spiritual pathway (spirit – the true essence of who we are). The best laid foundation for health (or any goal) begins with the first step in either of the three parts of ourselves, and once begun and established in one area, integrates the next, and the next – one step at a time. Find the right mix for your health solution within each of the areas.
NOTE: If you have a medical condition, consult with your doctor prior to making lifestyle changes, just to make sure you can do so safely with whatever else you have going on in your body.
God’s Will For Our Health
Our health is an invaluable asset to our lives. Our health is vital to our mortality, quality of life, livelihood, and even our peace, and is well worth any time and effort for us to proactively protect and invest in it.
When God created humankind, He deemed his creation “good” and blessed us (Gen. 1:27-28, AMP). Hence, we were intended to be a blessed people in good health and whole, having everything we needed to make us complete inside and out.
Brokenness and sickness entered into the world through sin and the fall of Adam and Eve. And, the only way to reclaim our health and to be made whole again is through faith in the work God did through Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection. Equally as important as the latter is our own personal choices.
It’s choices and things that we do on a regular basis that impacts us the most, working for or against our health. Therefore, it becomes imperative that we identify and learn about the things that affect our health and wellbeing. Some of which include food selection and preparation, environmental factors that impact the quality of the air we breathe, exercise/movement or the lack thereof, and stress.
Often through our daily choices, which can become engrained habits, we move ourselves closer to good health or further away from it. When we stray away from making good health choices, we setup ourselves and any children in our care as easy prey for all forms of chronic illnesses.
Since the food choices and eating habits of many parents and other adults are on display at mealtimes, children at an early age can easily be exposed to poor eating habits on a daily basis. And these learned habits can remain with them throughout their lifetime, for the good or to the detriment of their health. Our choices are important teaching tools for children and others in our sphere of influence.
A change in our individual and collective mindsets has the potential to revolutionize not only our health and wellbeing, but also our healthcare system and every system in this country and beyond!
Scriptures that affirm God’s will for our health:
3 John 1:2 (AMP): Beloved, I pray that in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health [physically], just as [I know] your soul prospers [spiritually].
Isaiah 53:4-6 (AMP):
But [in fact] He has borne our griefs, And He has carried our sorrows and pains; Yet we [ignorantly] assumed that He was stricken, Struck down by God and degraded and humiliated [by Him].
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was crushed for our wickedness [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]; The punishment [required] for our well-being fell on Him, And by His stripes (wounds) we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray, We have turned, each one, to his own way; But the Lord has caused the wickedness of us all [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing] To fall on Him [instead of us].