Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Healthy Priorities

Healthy Things To Do
(My “To Do” List)

It is very difficult in these hectic times to pay attention to our own health. It is ironic that in stressful times, it is often our health that suffers first, and our wall of security tumbles down around us. It would be nice to have someone invent a magic pill we could all take that would quickly restore our bodies to perfect health, allowing us to manage and maintain everything else in our fragile lives. I can see the infomercial now, with some guy with an Australian accent pleading with the viewing public to buy his magic potion and never have to worry about exercising again. This would make millions, if it were only true, but it’s not. That’s why we need to pay very close attention to our mindset when it comes to prioritizing and analyzing our lives on a daily basis.

One of the ways to begin doing this is to put “first things first.” God would be the first thing on my list. Taking care of His requests on our lives is by far the most important thing for me to think about. As a Christian, I go to God for help in creating my “to do” list. When I do this, all the other things seem to fall into place much easier. This can be a difficult task for people, given the fact that the day just seems too short for all of the tasks at hand. Think about it this way; put God first, then you open up a means of communication for getting His help in stacking up all the other things in your life. When you forget to do this, you are left on your own to prioritize all the meaningful obligations that take up your waking hours. I, personally, could use a little help, and I go to God for that. Prayer is a wonderful tool of communication we have in asking God for help, talking to God for advice, or just simply telling him how our stressful, out of control, life is coming along. He is a great listener, regardless of the issue, day or night. When we realize that it is His will, not ours, which is played out each day, then we find it easier to talk to Him about it.

Having said that, we now move on to the other priorities that seem to compete for the ration of time left in our lives that need to be on our daily “to do” lists. We now have things such as family, work, finances and our health that are very important, if not crucial, to our daily routine. The big question remains; how do we set our priorities? In my opinion, if we have started in the right place, then we can build on that place. If God is at the top of your list, then you have a huge block on which to stack all of the other competing issues that you deal with.

As a Christian, I am taught that your family should be a very important component of your life, second only to God. When a person realizes this, his or her priorities are set around a strong foundation of God and family. God’s Word has great instructions on this, we just need to understand and heed them more often. Paying close attention to the needs of our mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and other extended family will take up a huge part of our daily “to do” list. These obligations are mentioned in God’s Word several times so this should tell us something. I get a great feeling of where my priorities should be by spending time in God’s Word on a daily basis. This helps me sort out all of the other things grasping for time in my hectic schedule. But how can we be prepared to take on all of this if we don’t plan properly. This is where the healthy mind and body come into play.

Most of us, self included, do not spend enough time preparing for the “battle.” We simply get out of bed, get dressed, deal with our morning routines, go to work, back home to deal with more routine, then before we pass out from having done so much, we go to bed only to get up and do it all over again. We often go through the same mundane routine only to find out years later we are in the same place, doing the same things, hoping for the same things, looking for the same things. We are God’s soldiers and servants, part of His family that He wants to use to “recruit” other soldiers and servants for His purposes. One of the most important things we can do is to prepare our minds and bodies for the battle. God has a purpose for each and every one of us. We need to be fully prepared to serve this purpose in this lifetime. I feel that being “all I can be” both physically and mentally will enable me to be my best for God. This is why I place my health near the top of my list of “things to do” each day. This includes both mind and body. As for the mind part, I make it a point to read, meditate, get the proper amount of sleep, and other issues that impact my mind.

As for the body part, I make sure that I allow time for exercise. This is why I run, lift weights, do household chores, walk my dog (pseudo horse) or allow him to walk me, and other physical activities aimed at improving my lifestyle. It does not take much to have an impact. Numerous experts state that if a person walks at a brisk pace 20 minutes a day for 3-4 days each week, they will see improvement in their cardiovascular health. This means that the body has improved as well as the mind. Your mind needs blood to work properly, and if you are improving blood flow, you are improving your mind. As we get older, this becomes more and more important to our daily routine. Some experts claim that this is why Alzheimer ’s disease is more prominent these days. It is a reflection of how the sedentary lifestyle is affecting us in our later years. Although it can’t be prevented, it can be pushed back, and your quality of life can be extended long into the later years.

In the Bible, Jesus often teaches in parables. This is just God’s way of forcing us to think for ourselves, to exercise our minds in order to get the real message. The Bible has a great deal of parables, proverbs and psalms all aimed at making the reader figure it out for themselves. I’m sure that if we were living in the days of Jesus, we would be far too lazy to do this. We seem to have the attitude of demanding the clear, concise version without all of the illustrations and hidden meanings. This is just God’s way of forcing us to do mental calisthenics.

When you prepare your body for the battle, all of the parts fall into place, allowing you to be in a far better place when you need to do your list of priorities. I use my time exercising as a time spent with God. I like to listen to music when running, so I have a great collection of contemporary Christian music to listen to as I log the miles. There are times when I feel the need to pray as I run, talking to God in conversation. I get the funny looks and stares as I do this, but I’m not paying any attention to them. This is when I’m letting God know my issues and listening for His advice.

We all have far too many “to do’s” in our far too busy lives. When we look for help with all of this, we just need to look and seek out His face and get help from the source of everything in our World. God has all the answers, all the priorities, all the “to do’s” figured out for us. We just need to be prepared to deal with the answer He gives.

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