Health and general wellness has been on my mind these past few weeks as I’ve been in and out of the doctor’s office for various ailments. I finally realized that even though I’m young at 23, I’m not as young as I used to be when my body felt like it could handle anything.
I’ve had several broken bones, smashed fingers, sports injuries, and illnesses that doctors couldn’t quite figure out. Because I’ve always had a fast metabolism, I quickly learned I could eat whatever I wanted and gain little to no weight. That’s never been good news for my sweet tooth. I never had to count calories, and I never had to exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
But the habits I fell into when my body was younger and functioning better don’t cut it anymore. I still have a fast metabolism, but my stomach isn’t quite as tough. I can’t down as many cups of coffee per day as I could even two years ago in college. I notice a difference after eating certain fast foods, and it’s not a good one.
I need to drink more water now to feel hydrated than I realized before. I don’t necessarily feel well if I don’t exercise in an effort to be healthy or as a way to relieve stress. Perhaps the largest adjustment as a night owl is recognizing I need more sleep.
I’m learning to be a better caretaker of my body by trying to go to sleep at a decent hour most nights. I’ll go out for an occasional walk. I’m trying to intentionally cut back on caffeine and replace that with herbal tea or water.
Another major part of being a good caretaker of my body is praying for my health. When I’m healthy, I thank God. When I start to feel sick, I pursue God for healing. My pastor has been going through the book of Matthew in his sermons lately, and he’s preached on healing the last several weeks. It’s been helpful for me as I’ve struggled with health recently, and through my own prayers and the prayers of other people, my health is being restored.
In terms of being healthy, it’s helpful to remember we were created in the image of God and that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, ESV).
We should strive to maintain that temple as well as we can so that our bodies honor God. Recognizing that God dwells in me causes me to want to take better care of myself, regardless of the fact that my body isn’t getting any younger and is in fact starting to slow down. We are called to enjoy things in moderation. For example, Scripture urges us to enjoy food and wine but warns against gluttony and drunkenness.
I’m attempting to make healthier changes to my lifestyle before it becomes vital to my health. Having not felt well in recent weeks caused me to reconsider some of my lifestyle choices and desire to improve my health instead of waiting for it to get worse first.
What health changes have you made as you’ve gotten older? How are those changes intertwined with your spiritual life?