We are physical beings and the health of our whole lives (including our spiritual growth) needs the growth of a healthy body.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that for strong health as a human being, we need to cultivate physical health.  God created you a physical being and wants that aspect of you to be strong.  In short, He created matter and said that it mattered.  It was good in his sight.  I realized several years ago that He does not want me to disregard my physical well-being, instead he wants me to thrive in it.

Granted, health nuts can be obsessive.  But I also think we can ignore our health, obsessing about not obsessing.  While choosing not to obsess about it, we can grow in a balanced, healthy lifestyle.  Sadly, far too many well meaning people ignore their physical health while working to maintain a strong spiritual side.  It’s important to care for our physical energy levels through sleeping more, eating better, and exercising.

As great as America is, it’s sad to say we get hit more by the affluenza virus than the influenza virus.  Our affluence affords us the opportunity to purchase cheap food and passive entertainment.  While humanity toiled in the field for millennia before modern times for sustenance, we can purchase just about anything to feed our cravings.  It has been said that more people die of too much food than too little in the US.  Heart disease, diabetes, and other weight-related problems don’t have to exist in such a grand scale in this country.  We just need to learn to cultivate a spirit of contentment in eating habits.  This has been something I have historically struggled with, so I understand this firsthand.

For me, I decided to get fit because I was tired of not being fit.  I knew I had one life to live, and I realized the benefits of getting into shape outweighed the benefits of eating chips and salsa whenever I wanted.  I looked at the trajectory of my life and made a decision– eat better.  Then I made another choice after that– work hard in the weight room.  As hokey and horrible as it sounds, I knew my body was the temple of the Holy Spirit, and I wanted it to be a kick-A one!  Enough was enough, I made the choice that my long-term health outweighed the short-term craving of sugar or chips.  Altering my habits through the Sonoma Diet helped me tremendously, as did starting a weight training regimen, because I discovered that eating natural foods was tasty (and did I mention natural?).

Being healthy to me is being well rounded.  (Well rounded as a person, not in the size of your waist.)  A leader, whether in the Church or outside of it, cannot be strong in one area and weak in another.  Emotional, financial, physical, social, and spiritual all need to come together like a wheel.*  If one area is off, then chances are your life as a whole is going to struggle sooner or later.  Finding a lifestyle where you are being strengthened in each area is important, and hopefully the physical aspect is being worked on during long walks on the beach (with a mai-tai in hand…) or at the gym.  It might take some time to get (back) into shape, but give it a shot anyways.  As Hippocrates once noted, “healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes a matter of opportunity.”

How have you become more balanced as a physical being?  

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*For more on becoming whole as a person, I recommend Richard Swenson’s “Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives