THIS SERIES: CREATE SPACE FOR LIFE
Let’s face it, modern life is unhealthy. We may have all manner of convenience food literally at our disposal, the latest labour-saving devices, and multi vehicles parked outside our houses – the stuff of dreams, 50 years ago. We may be smoking less, living longer (with the help of medication), and have better dental health, but the western world is showing alarming increases in ailments such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity, not only in the adult population, but in children too. And—in the midst of all this plenty—3 million people in the UK suffer from malnutrition, and 1 in 40 from scurvy!
As we imbibe chemicals by the packetful, and flick through tv channels from our sofas, it’s a good idea to reflect on what our particular lifestyles are doing to our bodies—and because we don’t live our lives in compartments—our souls and spirits?
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit,
who is in you, whom you have received from God?
You are not your own; you were bought at a price.
Therefore honour God with your bodies.
[1 Corinthians 6:19-20]
If your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, then maybe it’s time that temple also had a spring clean?
Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water.
[Exodus 23: 25]
Biblical blessing is about empowerment to prosper—and that’s just what we need our food to do for us.
This is not just about developing healthy eating patterns, as important as they are; the Bible is a great proponent of feasting. ‘Real’ food can include a weekly feast as well as holidays and festivals; the heart of a true feast is worship; and as we celebrate, we can expect an encounter with the Provider of it all.
However, one of the problems many people encounter with feasting is the return to normal eating patterns afterwards. Often appetites enlarge, old addictions return and discouragement settles in. This is where a regular fast might be considered.
As we imbibe chemicals by the packetful, and flick through tv channels from our sofas, it’s a good idea to reflect on what our particular lifestyles are doing to our bodies.
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Fasting is an important tool in spiritual warfare, which is not the focus here; but it is also about recalibrating, cleansing and sharpening us up—mind, body and spirit. A fast helps to reposition us in terms of our eating habits, and cleanses the body, clearing out toxins. At the same time it improves our spiritual faculties and receptivity; it weakens addictions and strongholds, and enhances our ability to receive from the Lord the power we need for living.
There are different types and lengths of fast: some with water only, some with just fruit juice, and others eating only vegetables. Some fasts last days or even weeks, others for a single meal or food group. Some of these are described along with testimonies and faith-building encouragement in the very informative site, www.freedomyou.com. (Please note, I have not fasted for the long periods suggested in some sections of this site; and although I wouldn’t rule it out, I would want to do much more research before attempting. In addition, as always, please see the note on resources.)
If you are new to fasting, and feel like you couldn’t possibly attempt it, perhaps you could start by fasting to lunch time one day a week. As you feel more comfortable this could be extended to mid-afternoon, then to the evening meal or longer. Alternatively, you could have a day when you just consume fruit. Fruit has great cleansing properties; making a combination into a smoothie apparently helps the body digest the vitamin content more quickly, and is surprisingly satisfying.
EXERCISE & REST
In addition to streamlining our eating patterns, our bodies also need both exercise and rest.
If you don’t already take some form of exercise, consider starting some today; there is something health-enhancing out there which is just right for you—even if you have physical limitations. The benefit to our bodies is enormous, releasing among other things, those feel-good hormones, and making us generally more alert and less fatigued. We are created as triune beings, body, soul and spirit—anything we do that enhances good health and well-being in one part, has a knock on effect in the others. So if you want a healthy soul and spirit—don’t neglect your body!
And then to balance things, we also need rest: If you have taken steps to declutter your mind, and your space (see previous posts), then you can make time to refuel and refresh your physical body.
For fitness enthusiasts, the importance of rest days is frequently emphasised:
"Without adequate rest, you can experience burnout, a lack of energy, and decreased motivation. Scheduling rest days, and ensuring you take them, is equally as important as time on your bike." [Sarah Lauzé, 'I love bicycling']
Rest also has benefits for the health of our brains and general well-being. Exercise balanced by rest helps keep us physically fit. Add to these, regular opportunities to detox, along with a good pattern of eating, and our temple-bodies will be spring-cleaned and ready for action!
Next Friday: Continue your Faith-journey: Declutter your Inner World
OVER TO YOU...
[Photo credits: Guillaume de Germain (girl with upraised arms); Nadine Primeau (salads); Austin Schmid (hammock); Norwood Themes (connect) @ Unsplash, with thanks]
I like the idea of fasting after feasting. As mentioned, it is the opportunity to detox after a feast. I've been fasting for more than years, I eat only twice a day and it become an eating habit to eat less and also to detoxify after a feast. I manage to sustain. If you are able to control fasting - you'll definitely have a cleansed and sharpened mind, body, and spirit.
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