When it comes to our children, mothers learn early the connection between our kids’ physical health and their emotions. Anyone who has dealt with a tired, hungry, or sick child knows how much those things affect children’s moods. Often, however, we tend to forget those things for ourselves.
Several months ago I went through a season where several stressful events happened in rapid succession. It wasn’t so much the amount of turmoil each one brought, but the pace that nearly did me in. Just as I was catching my breath, something else was popping up that I needed to deal with. When the storm clouds cleared, I found I wanted to do little more than sleep.
I realize now that much of my problem was how I had been neglecting my physical health. It eventually became a negative feedback loop. I felt rushed and stressed, so went without sleep. In my fatigue, I found myself reaching for food that was quick and easy. My poor diet made me feel even worse, and the cycle continued. These things didn't phase me when I was twenty, but things are different now.
We tend to fall into two extremes when it comes to our bodies. Sometimes we become obsessed with our health, mostly because of our appearance. Healthy eating becomes our functional god and a source of pride. But we also can find ourselves going to the other extreme. We neglect our bodies and tell ourselves that it’s really just the spiritual that matters.
Scripture, though, never tells us it’s okay to neglect our bodies. Instead, we are to care for our bodies. In God’s common grace, we understand that getting enough rest and eating healthfully affects our moods, emotions, and energy levels.
Now that I’ve gotten a better handle on what I’m eating, my entire outlook has changed. I no longer get up in the morning feeling groggy and sluggish. I’m sleeping better at night. I’m able to work more efficiently during the day. In other words, I’m better able to serve God and bring glory to him, whether it’s mopping the floor or teaching Sunday School.
I realize some women have health issues that are completely out of their control. If you are such a woman, you need to rest in God’s sovereignty and understand that he has a purpose for you in a season of illness. But many of us could be doing better. Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made. Let’s be mindful of how we care for our bodies as we offer ourselves up for the Lord’s service.