Woah, so this is a big topic, huh? Where do we even begin talking about Health & Spirituality as a form of self-care? Of course, it’s important for us to make time in our lives for both, and they are both things that can easily fall through the cracks and get lost in the mundane day-to-day duties of being a wife, mom, home-manager, and more.
But, we always feel better after we do them, don’t we? We can always feel good about the time we’ve set aside to focus on our own health or spirituality.
I mean, no one ever spent 30 minutes reading the Bible and praying and at the end said, Well, that was a waste of time, I really wish I hadn’t prayed and read the Bible. Or spent 30 minutes running or exercising and got done and said, Shoot, that was a terrible use of my time, I really wish I hadn’t spent so much time exercising.
So then why is it so hard for us to get ourselves motivated to do these things that we know are important and good for us? Especially when we’re always glad we made the time for them?
I know for myself (because I’m learning more about myself like we talked about last week), I’m not a very self-disciplined person and I have a hard time being self-motivated to follow through in both of these areas of my life. So, I know that I need to have an outward motivation that is leading and encouraging me to keep up with these areas in my life. Here’s what it looks like in my life right now.
Having a goal that I’m working towards really helps me to keep up with regular exercising. Without one, I easily fall off the wagon. Last year, my sister and I ran a half-marathon and that was great motivation for me.
This year, the training for the half-marathon was a little more than we felt like we could handle at this time. So my sisters and I are planning to run a 10K at the end of May and this has helped to get me back into running after a long, sedentary winter.
I really enjoy running, I actually find that it is a good time for me to pray and connect with Jesus, just in the quietness of my mind. Running has also been extremely therapeutic for me as I’ve been working through my grief since my dad died.
My family is currently in the middle of doing a Whole30 – a very strict paleo diet that you follow for 30 days to help heal your gut, reset your tastes and cravings, and help you find out if you have any food sensitivities. We’re following the book It Starts with Food, and we’re into our second week.
The thing that has been the most eye opening for me about this eating plan is that it’s really not hard, and it’s just a few small changes away from the way that we normally eat, but we already feel so much better.
My husband and I have both noticed that we have more energy during the day, are sleeping better at night, our eyes and skin are brighter, and our clothes are looser. It is encouraging me to really think about how we can incorporate this type of eating into our lives 80-90% of the time, even after we’re finished with the 30 day plan.
It’s simple things like:
- protein and fruit for breakfast instead of carbs and sugar
- lots of leftovers of protein and veggies for lunch instead of sandwiches
- easy snacks like fruit or homemade trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
- using dried fruit (specifically dates) to sweeten things instead of sugar – even un-refined sugars
- serving dinner over a bed of spinach instead of a side of rice or pasta
We don’t feel deprived at all – there are plenty of delicious things we can eat, and we’re even finding that it’s changing our kids’ taste buds too. Last night at dinner they were clamoring for second helpings of broccoli and exclaiming about how much they loved the grilled asparagus!
My husband and I were kinda shocked and he said it was like we’re living in a twilight zone, hearing these things coming for our kids (especially our notoriously picky eater who basically wouldn’t touch a green veggie before this)! It’s been a really great experience for our whole family.
BUT, I would not have made these changes to our diet if I hadn’t been forced to by this strict eating plan. Knowing it was only going to be for 30 days made it easier for me to commit and stick to it. But now that I’m into it, I see how I can make these healthy eating changes more long-lasting for our family.
So, what kind of health goal can you set for yourself to help motivate and push you toward more regular exercise and healthier eating?
You don’t have to take a drastic step like running a longer race or adhering to a strict eating plan, or maybe you do. If you’re like me, maybe those loftier goals can spur you on more than just fleeting thoughts about the importance of taking care of your own health so you can better take care of those around you.
Spirituality is something that is so uniquely personal, and yet one of the most important parts of who we are, isn’t it? None of our walks are going to look the same – I don’t believe there is necessarily a prescription for spiritual growth.
The only thing I am learning more and more each day is that it’s all about pursuing Jesus. And that He is our focus.
I want to be open in sharing that I’m really at an amazing place in my faith journey right now. I have never before felt so in love with Jesus and so desiring of His Word.
It was not always this way. I’ve gone through many ups and downs in my walk with Jesus, most recently a hard and dark place for about a year after my dad died. But since the one-year anniversary last April, Jesus has just been pursuing my heart in a way that I never could have expected, and in turn I want to pursue Him right back.
I don’t have a 3-step plan for growing your relationship with Jesus. It’s not that easy, or that black and white, I’m learning. But I will tell you that my focus has shifted from my own personal short-comings and sin, to instead a grander vision of His Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven, a more global view of what it means to follow Jesus, and a passion for showing His grace, mercy, and love to the world. I still don’t know what all of this means for me, but it is stirring and growing in a way that I can’t even believe sometimes and I feel like I’m just along for the ride; asking Jesus to work in me and through me even beyond what my faith and trust can understand.
These lyrics from the song Oceans by Hillsong United has been replaying over and over in my mind over the past few months:
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
So how are you pursuing Jesus? Will you pray the lyrics above and truly mean it, even if it takes you somewhere were you never thought you would go?
I’m praying for you this week, dear friends, that you would find the time, motivation, and encouragement to pursue Health & Spirituality in your own lives. I’d love to pray specifically for you too, you can leave a pray request in the comments, or email me at emilymcclements(at)gmail(dot)com. I’d love to hear from you!
Be sure to check out the other posts this week in the Embracing Self-Care Series from these awesome ladies:
- Beth from Red and Honey
- Diana at My Humble Kitchen
- Erin from The Humbled Homemaker
- Leigh Ann from Intentional By Grace
- Krissa from More than Mundane
- Mindy from This Crazy Wonderful Life
- Nicole from Gidget Goes Home
- Stacy from A Delightful Home
And please share your posts with us too! Link up here:
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