Throughout my adult life, I’ve made it a priority to be fit in every area of my life. Of course this is easier said than done. Nonetheless, I’m up for the daily challenge and I’m quite determined! I may not be the skinniest girl on the block or the happiest person every second of the day, but I’ve learned to be content, confident and willing to make changes as needed.
Like many of you, I honestly work hard to maintain an appropriate balance of a healthy spirit, soul and body. Some days I’m victorious and other days I have to pry my body off the floor and encourage myself. Why? Because I matter! The well-being of my body, my spirit and my soul matters! Although it may seem like a million things are added to my plate daily, I’m only given one shot to live this life. I want to keep my entire being healthy, so I may live it to the fullest!
I love this quote I came across, written by the well-known author of The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren. He said, “God created it. Jesus died for it. The Spirit lives in it. I’d better take care of it.” If we can understand the value of our spirit, soul and body, I think we would treat it with better care. Often we put ourselves on the back burner until we find our spirit, soul and body so broken, sick or stressed out, we’re paralyzed and of no use to anyone. Then we wonder why we feel the way we do or question how did we allow ourselves to get so beaten. It’s a vicious cycle! We need to come to the place where we are no longer trying to make-up for our losses; but are proactive and living a healthy lifestyle within and out. We need to make the condition of our spirits, souls and bodies a priority! We need to maintain our whole-being! But how? How can we be fit in our spirit, soul, and body?
Our soul is made up of our mind (thoughts), will (desires) and emotions (feelings). If we find ourselves stressed out, an emotional wreck or longing for the wrong things, our soul is in need of attention. There are 5 basic steps we can take that will make the biggest difference in keeping our soul fit.
1. Choose to Be Happy. It really boils down to a choice! Yes, your spouse may have driven you crazy, the kids may be screaming and your house may be in a state of chaos, but all those things are temporary. Think about it! The house may be a mess but you know you’ll get around to cleaning it. The kids may be screaming but one day they’ll grow-up and the house will be quiet. Your spouse got on your last nerve, but you can’t imagine life without them. Hold back the complaining, put a smile on your face and laugh when the upheaval erupts. Why not? Worry, stress and anger will only hurt you. Keep your soul healthy. Avoid all the dangers that come with an unhealthy soul. Abraham Lincoln said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” So, let’s set our minds to be happy! Make it a personal goal. “Today and every day I choose to be happy; and I will not let the temporary little things get in the way of my happiness!”
2. Be Grateful. Having an attitude of gratitude is food for the soul and it feeds happiness to our hearts. Instead of dwelling on the negative, look at the positive. Mulling over our problems will not help us get to our answer faster. In fact, the negativity clouds our judgement and it attracts other pessimistic individuals. Ungratefulness can really put us in a rut! We can truly always, ALWAYS find something to be grateful for. Need a jump-start? Make a list of the things you are thankful for. It will help put life into the proper perspective.
3. Be a Peacemaker. There is no greater killer than strife. It leads to all kinds of corruption and it eats away at every part of your being. Proverbs 19:11 says, “A person’s insight gives him patience, and his virtue is to overlook an offense.” We can easily identify a person of wisdom by how they respond to offenses (Prov 20:3). They know when to disregard another’s remarks or when to respond. This doesn’t mean we’re “punching bags” or “door mats” to be trampled on, it means we don’t need to engage in every dispute. We can always reconcile the conflict at another time when both parties are not agitated. We can work for peace in our mind and avoid the temptation to enter into hate, anger or frustration. Those emotions will only bring decay to our soul and eventual poison to our body and spirit. Keep in mind this proverb: ” A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones” (14:30 nlt).
4. Forgive. Nothing will take a weight off your shoulders like letting go of the person(s) and thing(s) that have hurt you. I know its hard to do but whatever the wrong that was done to you, is not worth being a victim twice. More than likely, the person who hurt you has moved on and you’re still immersed in the pain. Like the saying: “bitterness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.” It’s only hurting you! Now forgiveness does not mean to forget, and start trusting the individual immediately, nor does it mean the person is “off the hook”. It simply means you’re letting go of the hurt feelings, and the thoughts of revenge, so your healing can begin. Nothing is worth the cost of your health! Forgive for your health’s sake.
5. Pay it Forward. There’s something special about giving. It’s a beautiful thing! To be in a position to give to someone else. It truly is a “Happiness Boost”! In fact, research by the American Psychological Association states “When it comes to the pursuit of happiness, popular culture encourages a focus on oneself. By contrast, substantial evidence suggests that what consistently makes people happy is focusing pro-socially on others.” I know I’ve been guilty of grabbing a sweet treat in effort to make me happy, but it’s amazing how blessing someone else can give me a lasting joy.
1. Drink water. We all know how crucial water is for our bodies. Still we can all use the reminder why it’s so important to drink water: it balances our bodily fluids, it helps control calorie intake, it energizes muscles, helps our skin glow, it improves kidney function, it helps maintain normal bowel movements, it detoxifies the body, it regulates our body temperature, it lubricates our joints and it assists with the delivery of nutrients to the body (provided by New Health Guide). Let’s avoid all the health risks, migraines and the irritability that comes along with the lack of water. Go grab your water bottle and refresh your body!
2. Exercise Regularly. I can’t say how many times I didn’t feel like working out, but I made myself anyways and felt incredible afterwards. There’s something about those endorphins that really put you in a good mood once you get them going. Furthermore, exercise is a remarkable anti-depression drug without all the side effects. Make exercise a priority! You will not be disappointed! Take one day at time, keep a goal in mind and measure your success. Collectively your small steps will become significant steps forward to a healthier you!
3. Know your numbers. To keep our body fit, it’s important we know our numbers: Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Blood Sugar and BMI (Body Mass Index). Knowing your numbers gives you a starting point in maintaining a healthy body. It will let you know whether or not you need to work on improving your body’s health or maintain it. Don’t be in the dark about the condition of your body’s health.
4. Eat Well. My husband sent me this amazing interview with Tom Brady’s (New England Patriot’s Quarterback) chef. Proving I need a transformation in my mind, I’m thinking if money or calories were not a problem, I’d probably maximize on my carbs! Yet Tom and his family do the opposite, they maximize on their greens! My jaw drops when I think about how many calories this athlete burns and he consistently fuels himself with less than 20% of meat and 80% of vegetables. He doesn’t consume any caffeine, dairy, or fruit. I’m amazed! If we can focus our meals on the fact they’re merely fuel for the functions of our bodily systems, perhaps we would feed our bodies the energy it needs and not the kind that adds no nutritional value.
5. Sleep. When both of my kids are asleep, my husband and I have tried to stay up as long as we could to get some much-needed time together or tasks done. Sadly, it always catches up to us. When we neglect sleep, we neglect the rejuvenation of our bodies. It’s as we sleep our bodies are restoring what we consumed throughout the day. If we sleep deprive our bodies, we hinder the brain from properly preparing for the next day. That is why we are more prone to get sick, make poor choices or even gain weight when we are sleep deficient. Get the rest your body needs. You matter! The tasks can wait another day.
Our spirit is our innermost part; it is the essence of who we really are. Although we may be judged by what our exterior looks like, our spirit displays our true self. In fact, it’s importance can easily outweigh the body or soul. This proverb puts it into perspective: “The will to live can get you through sickness, but no one can live with a broken spirit. (18:14 ncv). The condition of our spirit carries great weight. Even though we don’t hear much about the spirit of (wo)man in mainstream media or see it in our day-to-day activities, it’s vital to the proper functioning of our body and soul (mind, will and emotions). The question becomes: “How can we properly care for something we cannot see? We turn to the one who made it!
1. Spend Time in the Presence of God. There’s a great peace and a divine rejuvenation that encompasses us when we stand before the presence of our maker. Charles Stanley said, “We can be tired, weary and emotionally distraught, but after spending time alone with God, we find that He injects into our bodies energy, power and strength.” It’s an incredibly beautiful thing, how we transform in His presence. All worry fades away, stress is eliminated and an indescribable peace overtakes you. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” No doubt we pour into the other areas of our lives when we properly care for our spirit. Here are two ways that take us before God:
1. Thanksgiving and Worship. It is known thanksgiving, praise and worship unto God brings us into his courts (Ps 100:4). Attending a local church service is also a great way to get a spiritual vitamin C boost!
2. Prayer. Instead of immediately turning toward a family member or friend in a moment of chaos, offer up the problem to God in prayer. Let Him be your source of strength (Eph 6:10).
3. Dig into God’s Word. Although basking in the presence of God is wonderful, it’s important to hear from Him as well. One of the best ways is to read what He has said. In the Bible, we can find encouragement, wisdom, strength, teaching and much more. For example: Isaiah 40:13 says, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” It’s very encouraging to know placing our trust in our Maker can bring us the strength we need to face another day. It’s helpful knowing we are not alone. Get your dose of spiritual fitness by reading God’s word!
4. Share Your Faith. Sharing what you’ve experienced with someone else, is like exercising your body. It helps keep your faith strong and it provides an outlet. Furthermore, there’s an incredible amount of joy that fills your innermost being knowing, you’ve helped someone find an everlasting joy, peace and love in God. You truly become a hero, saving a friend from harshness of this world. Strengthen a friend today and give them a fresh start (Luke 22:32)!
I encourage you today to invest in yourself! Stay fit in your soul, body and spirit. Don’t neglect yourself from living a healthier life! You matter!
Angelita Chavez is a stay-at-home mom of two toddlers and a wife to her husband, Juan for seventeen years. When Angelita is not at NEM workouts/play dates at a park, she’s dancing around with her little ones at home. She loves traveling internationally with her family, sharing the love of Christ with others and planning events inspired by Pinterest. Read more of her blogs on family, faith and motherhood at: It All Began With Two.