Joy and the mindful Christian

I want to first take a moment to say thank you for your love and support. I am uplifted by the encouragement and well wishes you have all passed on to me. I know it has been a while since my last post. I have been so busy with work and now school that, any moment I could find to myself was spent in rest and recovery. I can now say that the decision to focus on rest and recuperation has paid off. I have finally reached the point where my energy is full and I feel vibrant again. In my time of rest and prayer God lead me to a renewed motivation. A motivation I had been struggling to regain for some time.

Do you know what it means to be vibrant? To grasp everyday as a day where only the best can happen? Even when the worst happens, you still have a praise in your heart? To greet those you pass in love and appreciation. To revel in the simple moments in life, even the hard ones. The more I describe vibrancy, the more it sounds like joy. A joy from the Lord. The joy that is our strength. I have been filled with such a gratefulness this past week. I have been led to so many great resources that have enriched my life. I have begun to experience energy, love and clarity that I have never known before. I would be remiss to not point to the joy of the Lord above all else as the source of my health and energy. I also want to bring up some techniques and some steps that have helped me along the way. My hope is that they will enrich your life as much as they have mine.

 

Stretching.

God gave us a body. A body that functions in ways science still cannot grasp. This body was made to move. Today’s modern world has our bodies so cooped up. We sit at desks all day, we go through the same repetitive motions whether you are a day laborer or a CEO your routines include the same motions done over and over in a sequence that wears on our bodies. Our muscles tense and we form knots and trigger points that lead to dysfunction and disease. Migraines anyone? Our bodies are longing to be used in ways that facilitate a full range of motion. One of the ways to do this is to find time to stretch. I know in the evangelical community we shy away from yoga and many times for good reason (which is an entirely different post, for a different time.). This still doesn’t mean we should avoid stretching. We were made to move.

When you get up in the morning try to move every single joint in your body at least once. This actually causes a fluid exchange in our joints that helps prevent stagnation and inflammation. Stretching in this way increases your circulation and can help decrease the risk of blood clots when it is repeated several times through the day. Touch your toes, do some squats, You don’t have to run a marathon, just move your body. Pinterest has so many good guides to stretching. Do a quick search and you will find yourself supplied with adequate instructional guides to help you get started. Please remember to take things slow though. Injuries are the opposite of what we are trying to do here.

 

Breathe.

We all breathe. Some of us louder then others, (Especially when you have to walk up 2 flights of stairs with a 50lb backpack.) but how much do you think about your breath? Did you know that a majority of our daily weight loss actually comes from breathing?  Yep, crazy. So how is your breathing? Take 5 moments in the middle of your day and just breathe. Feel the breath move in and out. Feel your body where it is. What do your shoes feel like? Where do you hurt? Is your breath shallow or deep? What sounds are around you? Is there something stressing you out? Just take these 5 moments to breathe, relax be present in your own body and ask yourself these questions. You might find that your body is trying to tell you something. You just have to stop and listen.

 

Keep your goals in front of you.

What are your goals? How will you get there? We look at our cell phones 5 billion times a day. (I counted.) Use that screen for good. Usually our lock screens are programmable and we can set our own image on there. I searched and found an image that fully encompassed my goals and dreams. Then I edited the image by adding text to it. The text was a reminder of the 4 things I am currently focusing on in my health journey. I see this screen almost every time I look at my phone. Every time I see this image I am filled with hope and reminded to keep going.

Another way to keep yourself motivated would be to look up motivation quotes and place them where you will see them. For me this is in my daily planner. I try to have a quote everyday that resonates with my hopes and dreams. I also look at pictures I find inspiring. I fill my eyes with light instead of dark violent images that are all too common in this world.

 

Add new meaning to your devotions.

God inhabits the praises of his people. Have you heard the song that says “count your blessings name them one by one. count your blessings see what God has done.”? Apply that to your prayer life. Buy stones of different colors and assign each color a category. Home, love, friends, family, school, work, church etc. Each day as you start your devotion, close your eyes and draw a stone out of the pile. Which ever category that stone represents is your praise for the day. Let’s say I drew the stone that represented family. I would take a few moments to think of three things I could praise the Lord for in my family. The same can be done for any category you draw. When you go to the Lord in prayer that day start off with those praises. Let him know how much you appreciate his mercy and love. Carry that stone with you through out the day. Every time you reach in your pocket you will be reminded of your blessings. In those moments praise God again for all he has done.

 

Go to Bed.

Enough said. Get some sleep and wake up ready to take on the day. If this is a struggle, consider the use of essential oils to help you unwind. Decide whether a ban on electronics after a certain time should be enforced. Create a routine and your body will begin to respond. Your body will also begin to thank you when it gets sleep!

 

 

Our lives are so hectic that these days we barely have time to shower and eat before heading out the door. At some point we need to say stop. We need to build in stress relievers and motivators to our day. We need to be mindful in our actions, thoughtful of our body’s needs and sensitive to the needs of others. I know in some Christian communities mindfulness can invoke thoughts of the occult or earth worship but, we must remember that God gave us a body to be good stewards of. He gave us a mind to use. He meant for our senses to be engaged everyday. He meant for his children to dance before him, rejoicing in the vibrancy he alone can grant. So get up! Stretch. Breathe. Praise. Be mindful of your body. Sleep and repeat.

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