A few days at a higher altitude reminded me how fragile (and fickle) my body can be. Oxygen-debt headache. Unsatisfying sleep on a foreign bed. Nosebleeds due to dry air. Huffing and puffing with simple exertion. A frozen nose and a sunburned face.
I recently came across this statement: Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live. (How true. I can change addresses, but I’m stuck with this body for the duration!)
In Paul’s letters to the church in Corinth, he portrayed our bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19), and described holding treasure in earthen vessels (2 Cor. 4:7). He was talking about the life-transforming and eternal power of God dwelling inside us and changing us from the inside out.
Consider this for a moment. My body is an “Earth suit” housing the essence of who I am and all that I was created to be. If my body is weak, sick, and poorly-maintained, then I am limited in what I can honestly accomplish in reaching my full potential and advancing the Kingdom of God. If I’m healthy and strong, I am able to do more things with less effort and have the flexibility to change directions. (Caution: But if I become too obsessed with my appearance and body, my effectiveness is also crippled because I’ve become self-centered.)
If this pale, sometimes-flabby body is my home for the duration of life on planet Earth, what kind of maintenance does it require to function at maximum efficiency? Proper nutrition. Hydration. Cardio-vascular exercise. Resistance training. Regular check-ups and screenings. Quality sleep. Stress-reduction techniques.
I know that regular maintenance doesn’t eliminate all problems, but it certainly goes a long way. And as I near the end of the first year in my 40’s, I’m paying more attention to my health.
Should the Lord tarry, I have a lot more years in this Earth suit and I’d like it to hold up for as long it can!
What about you? Do you consider healthy living and exercise necessary maintenance or painful, guilt-laden obligations? What habits have you developed?