healthy

Health and Sanity Check

Well, the COVID-19 pandemic thing has come to the US and lots of us are required to stay at home for at least a few weeks. Yesterday, we had a family meeting with my three teenage kids to discuss what the stay at home requirement means to us.  As you would expect, the extroverts were a little jittery and the introverts were reflective.

As I type this, I’m concerned for each reader of this blog because you are forced to navigate this abrupt change and I suspect it could be difficult for you for various reasons, such as financial struggles, health challenges, social dynamics, future uncertainty and probably more reasons than I could list.  I also think that we might generally be ok with this stay at home requirement on some days and on other days, it might not be so good.  In order to stay healthy in these weeks, here are some key areas to consider:

  • Mental Hygiene – In Proverbs 23:7, it says, “As a man thinks, so is he.”  To this end, we would be very wise to consider not only what we think about (taking an inventory of our thoughts), but to also be careful about what we watch and listen to, since the stuff we give our minds and emotions is what they will absorb and digest.  To upgrade your mental hygiene in this season, consider memorizing Philippians 4:4-8 for some life-giving nutrition.
  • Rental Hygiene – This is a little similar to mental hygiene, but still important because this is a proactive step we can take, to help us come out of this temporary situation with some good results.  What I mean by rental hygiene, is what we allow to rent space in our soul.  It can be tempting to do some Netflix binging, Star Wars or Lord of the Rings Marathons.  But maybe we could make some constructive decisions for this season, like learning a new skill.  What have you always wanted to learn or explore?  Maybe this is the time to drill down into some YouTube lessons for that skill, hobby, or side interest that you’ve wanted to explore.  Let’s also stay physically active with some situps, pushups or some kind of exercise regime because our bodies of the temple of God, so let’s take care of God’s rental property    Additionally, since we’re in Spring, rental hygiene could also include Spring Cleaning (windows, clutter clearing, refrigerator cleaning, culling through the closet, etc).
  • Dental Hygiene – Let’s remember to floss daily, along with brushing our teeth.  In addition, let’s pay attention to our words, what we say and talk about with neighbors, co-workers, friends and family in this season.  What we say is a good indicator of what’s going on in our heart, emotions and thoughts.  Jesus says this in Luke 6:45c, “’. . . . , for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.’”  To this end, let’s fill our hearts with life, genuine love, hope, truth and more than anything, the Lordship of Jesus.

With the unique opportunity that COVID-19 is giving us, let’s make active choices with our daily routines to grow and come out of this with stronger faith and greater confidence in God’s power and love!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, COVID-19, dental hygiene, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, YouTube, 0 comments

What Are You Doing???

“What are you doing here?”  This was the question asked by the angel of God to Elijah, as he hid in a cave, gripped with fear, anxiety and uncertainty.  Seems to me that maybe some of us might relate to Elijah, given the recent collection of corona virus (COVID-19) events: shut downs, alarming news, hoarding, toilet paper shortages, contagion and empty shelves at grocery stores.  When we add on the government telling us to keep social distance from anyone, stay home as much as possible and pay attention to your temperature, life can feel a bit apocalyptic.  So maybe we want to hunker down in our home caves and do the Elijah technique, escaping the panic that pervades our society.

To be fair, Elijah’s life was being threatened by the Queen of Israel and she was definitely a formidable and scary person.  So I recognize that I’m not comparing the same stimulating factors for the run and hide behaviors.  Nevertheless, I’m sincerely convinced that we can apply some fantastic and profound takeaways from Elijah’s experience, in 1Kings 19.

In this chapter, while Elijah hid in a cave, he observed lots of tumultuous events outside of his cave: a wind so strong that it broke apart rocks, an earthquake and a fire.  In verses 11-12, it says that God wasn’t in the wind, God wasn’t in the earthquake and God wasn’t in the fire.  But when Elijah heard a small whisper, a gentle blowing, he came to the entrance of the cave to listen to God, Whose first question was, “What are you doing here?”.

Maybe God would ask us the same question in this season, when the world around us seems to be upended and foundations unraveled.

What are we doing?

I’m absolutely a proponent for prudent and wise choices in this turbulent season.  However, I’m not a proponent of panic, fear, anxiety, worry nor apprehension.  Maybe you don’t like the panic or anxiety normal response to this COVID-19 crisis either.  So what can we do, in this unusual time?

First, let’s recognize that we have a unique opportunity given to us, that has never happened to this magnitude in human history.  We get to choose our actions, what we focus on, our attitudes and perceptions.  If we allow the media and gossip around us to be our focal point, then we could be letting our lives overflow with panic, fear, stress and worry.

Second, if we find ourselves “stuck at home” because of a quarantine or government edict to shelter in place, we will likely have some extra time on our hands.  If you’re like me, in the not so distant past, I was bemoaning my lack of time and the hectic pace of my life.  So now that we have more time, what will we do with it?  Let’s be purposeful about this gift of extra time and use it constructively rather than letting the media amplify whatever fears or anxieties we might lean into by not regulating our focus. Here are a few suggestions:

  • do some Spring cleaning, house / apartment projects,
  • read a book that you’ve been wanting to read,
  • do some family games / interactions to take advantage of the extra time together
  • go through your clothes and donate what you don’t wear / what doesn’t fit
  • text your friends and elderly people you know to stay in touch
  • be creative:  write, paint, cook, organize, dance to some fun music 🙂

Finally and most importantly, this crisis affords us an opportunity to snuggle into God, to deepen our intimacy, connection, awareness and strength.  When Elijah heard a gentle whisper, not being distracted by the noisy earthquake, wind or fire (alarming news or corona crisis), he grew in his awareness and recognition of God’s presence, voice and the future that God had for him.  Let’s allow this season to be a richly intimate time and deepen our connection with God!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Virus Alert!!

It seems to me that much of the world has been taken by storm with the Corona virus.  I say this because of the mass quarantines in several countries, travel restrictions, stock market impact, event cancellations, grocery store raids and the general chit chat on the street with total strangers.  We are wearing masks, buying unfathomable quantities of toilet paper (even though it’s not a digestion virus), scouring our hands and maybe adjusting our work location, as I think about the personal impact this virus is making on our daily living.

To be fair, Corona is highly contagious and way more concerning for older people with health issues than younger people who are healthy with strong immune systems.  So there’s definitely some wisdom in paying attention to our health and being prudent about our interactions.

At the same time, I would suggest that there’s a more lethal virus than Corona spreading throughout the world at lightning speed.  This virus is even more contagious and changes our actions, conversations, attitudes and outlooks.  Furthermore, every human is susceptible to this virus no matter the precautions we take by drinking extra water, avoiding human contact, beefing up our vitamin C intake and regardless of where we live or the access to modern medicine.

This is the fear virus and left unchecked, without observation or awareness, fear can leave us debilitated, lifeless and constrict our lives to hermit existence.  Fear can also distort our perceptions and warp our decisions such that we don’t live out our divine blueprint.

One of the best biblical examples of the mutating and minimizing power of fear can be seen in the life of Saul, the king of Israel that preceded David.  After Saul was anointed by Samuel to be king in 1 Samuel 9, Saul had some initial successes as Israel’s king.  However, in a short time Saul let fear constrict his leadership in ways that prevented him from leading Israel to defeat the Philistines on several occasions, caused him to lie to Samuel and Saul attempted to kill David many times.  When I look at the entirety of Saul’s life and his tragic conclusion, I see a man increasingly controlled by fear which grew to infect every part of his life including his family, leadership and his relationship with God.  Saul died in battle against the Philistines in contrast to Samuel’s initial anointing on Saul to be king and defeat the Philistines.

I would suggest that fear can work in our lives in very insidious ways. When we let insecurity be a deciding factor with decisions, be certain that the fear virus is active in your life.  When we over-achieve to make up for weaknesses or shortfalls, maybe fear has infected our perceptions.  When we refrain from engaging with people (and not just from being more introverted or being super busy), it’s possible that fear is influencing our social interactions.

There are lots of ways that the fear virus infects our decisions, interactions and outlooks.  We can be afraid of failing, getting hurt, making a mistake or poor decision, being rejected and heaps more.  So it’s important to pause, from time to time, and ask Holy Spirit to help us take a fear inventory in our lives, looking at possible decisions that are fear based as well as perceptions that could be fear infected.  Let’s never forget that perfect love casts out fear!  So wherever we sense fear in our lives, let’s nestle into God, Who is perfect love and let God’s love immunize us yet again from the fear virus.

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Get Some Air!!

It’s really exhilarating to get some air & stick a landing when I snowboard.  In regular language, this means I do a jump and land without getting hurt.  How often does this happen for me?  This is almost never because I’m injury averse having experienced too many medical adventures with snowboarding.  But getting air isn’t only exhilarating, it’s also very healthy & I contend, necessary for vibrant living.

I say this from learning about King David’s son, Absalom in 2Samuel.  I’ve been reading about Absalom this week and I’m coming to see him as the poster child for death by slow suffocation, the absence of air.  Lots of bad things happen to and around Absalom.  I would suggest that he didn’t express or give air in a healthy way to the pains and wounds that he experienced from these bad things.  Here are some examples to demonstrate the lack of air or expression from these bad things:

  • Tamar, his sister, gets raped by her half-brother, Amnon.  Absalom tells her to live in his house and never says anything to Amnon for two years
  • Absalom is so angry with Amnon that he kills him, never talking with his dad about Amnon’s violence
  • Absalom is estranged from his dad for more than two years and no connection with his dad
  • Upon being reconciled with his dad, Absalom proceeds to steal the hearts of Israel whenever anyone comes to get justice from his dad, the king
  • Absalom connives for some years and covertly plans to overthrow his dad and become King of Israel, even publically sleeping with his dad’s concubines

There’s no documented conversation between Absalom and his dad to clear the air on all these injuries, nor have I read that Absalom sought to communicate his hurt to receive healing and positively resolve these many wounds.  Should he have talked with his dad and expressed his hurt and anger?  Should he have made efforts to communicate with Amnon, his half-brother who raped his sister?  I’m not convinced that talking with either his dad or brother would have been helpful to Absalom, but he needed to talk with someone and get some air around these wounds.  But instead, Absalom ingested his pain and didn’t give any air or expression to these injuries.

When we’re hurt, it’s important to give some air and expression to the wound or injury.  Similar to a cut on our hand, we need to clean out the cut before we cover it.  So does this mean that when someone hurts our feelings that we make hurtful posts on social media and let the world know about our injury?  When we’re hurt by someone, should we tell everyone including the injuring person about our pain?  What should we do when we’re hurt?

Here are some helpful tips for wound care and healing:

  1. Wash out the wound:  bring the wound to Jesus and express your pain;  it can often be helpful to share with a person about the wound and open up about the pain, giving some air to the wound
  2. Forgive the person:  you can do this to their face or in a letter or conversation; but at the minimum forgive them in your heart so the wound doesn’t get infected
  3. Cover the wound:  ask Holy Spirit to help you cover / protect the wound from stuff getting inside and making it fester with more pain
  4. Keep the wound aerated:  from time to time, it’s helpful to uncover the wound to look at the healing progress, ensuring that your forgiveness stays fresh and you’re giving Holy Spirit access for continued healing

In this human experience, I’m learning that it’s important to give air / expression to wounds and injuries so that Holy Spirit can bring healing and redemption for the hurts we encounter in life.  Get some air!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, 0 comments

Nutritional Value

My husband & I enjoyed a delightful dinner at a “healthy” restaurant last night. The menu overflowed with nutritional options, including the desserts. My indulgence was a chia parfait and I wasn’t expecting anything very tasty. Indeed, my kids will often associate consuming healthy stuff with things being flavorless, at best. More often they think that healthy is flavor repulsive. So it was nice to be pleasantly surprised with the delicious chia parfait!

I wonder if it wouldn’t be helpful to consider nutrition in not only a food context, but also in the contexts of our attention, spiritual disciplines, relationships, intellectual pursuits, time management, conversations, etc. And ultimately, no one & no thing is more tasty or healthy than a deepening walk with God! Indeed, let us taste and see that the Lord is good! Psalm 34:8 🙂

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Being Sick

Over the last few weeks, various members of my family have come down with some congestion, a sore throat, runny nose, etc. And in full disclosure, it likely all started with me back in November, when I’d finished an intense travel season and my body was tired and run down. So it’s highly probable that my family caught the crud from me.

I think this idea of being contagious rings true in lots of ways. For example, I’ve noticed that hurt people often hurt people. To this end, hurt can be contagious particularly when there’s an absence of forgiveness. On the positive side, let’s stay committed to genuine love because there’s a good chance that genuine love is also contagious. Indeed, I think we are the most healthy when we receive and express genuine love 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Be Contagious

Recently, my kids picked up a congestion bug and they’ve been hacking  along the phlegm spectrum.  This started with one of my boys and the other two caught this bug.  In the last several days, I have felt some of these symptoms trying to creep into my breathing, so I’ve been vigilante to take extra vitamins and drink more water.

Usually, we don’t think of things that are contagious in very positive ways.  We don’t want to “catch” the cold, flu, yellow fever, etc.  But let’s also consider that sometimes, we can also “catch” another person’s insecurity, fear, arrogance and other such distasteful traits.  Instead, let’s make intentional decisions to be gracious, patient, compassionate, gentle, truthful (Fruits of the Spirit) and just maybe other people will “catch” some healthy traits for our communications and relationships!  Let’s allow Holy Spirit to work life and health into our souls so that we are contagions of genuine love!

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Posted by Sarah in enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, values, watch, 1 comment

I Eat Crawdads

I grew up eating crawdads / crawfish & I really enjoyed them! There was a canal behind my house where my dad & used a big net to scoop up heaps of crawfish, cart them home & cook them up. Boy were they tasty!
But here’s the rub: crawdads are bottom feeders, so they eat the garbage at the bottom of lakes & canals, making them inherently unhealthy.
Sometimes what is tasty to our flesh is unhealthy to our spirit & we have to make wise choices about what we allow to come into our hearts & minds. Let’s be determined to set our minds above & not allow our minds to become bottom feeding trash consumers 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in family, fasting, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Healthy Choices

There’s loads of emphasis on making healthy choices, particularly with our eating, exercise & uses of time & money. I’m continually coaching my kids to Mae healthy choices & I’m abundantly clear that God coaches me along these lines as well.  Here are some specific areas for making healthy choices:

  • Advocate or Accuse: let’s be aware that accusing is what the devil does & advocating is what the Holy Spirit does. Which choice is your natural default?
  • Convict or Condemn: condemning is when there’s a dead end & no hope to change, grown or improve – everything the devil works to accomplish.  Conviction happens when the Holy Spirit speaks in our hearts about something that’s wrong, endeavoring to help us change.
  • Truth Or Lie: Jesus says in John 8:44 that the devil’s natural language is lying but a few chapters later, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth. If we tolerate white lies or incremental truths we need to consider if we are listening to the devil more than the Holy Spirit :!

Let’s make healthy choices!!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, values, watch, 0 comments

A Good & Practical Read

I’m a reader & I read a wide array of books on a plethora of topics.  So here’s a good one that’s uber practical for your body, soul & spirit:  30 Day Faith Detox.

I’m recommending this book because there’s not a single reader of this blog who doesn’t need some help in all three of these areas.  I’m also recommending this book because it’s practical, holistic, easy to read & implement.  So grab a copy today!

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Posted by sarahbowling in cooking, fasting, Genuine love, grow, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, values, watch, 0 comments