Food for the Soul: Learning to Feed Yourself

Food for the Soul: Learning to Feed Yourself

Child Eating FruitWe get hungry! And it starts from the day we’re born.

A newborn baby needs to be fed every 2-3 hours. They are completely dependent on others for the timing, quantity, and quality of the food they receive.

Later a child learns to get food into their mouth if it’s provided. With time food preferences develop, and we have an increasing control over how much food, what kind of food, and when we eat. Eventually everything about what we eat is our own choice.

Some people take feeding themselves to an even higher level. An elite athlete, for example, pays great attention to every detail of what they eat for the purpose of functioning at their maximum performance capacity. They may have a nutrition coach. Their eating is with a purpose.

Food for the soul is just like that.

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Wisdom to Know the Difference

Praying HandsSeptember is Recovery Month. That means something to millions of people who have been or are part of a 12-Step program of recovery from some type of addiction/dysfunction, or many related programs. If you’re one of them, it’s almost certain you know – and probably can recite – the Serenity Prayer:

“God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.”

Don’t we get into trouble when we neglect any of those three points? When we fight against those things we cannot change we only wear ourselves out. We become miserable to be around. We become frustrated, anxious, and often angry and bitter. Getting into a negative emotional rut is almost certain. And if you’re fighting an addiction, all that misery certainly sets one up for a relapse.

When we shrink from doing what is within our power to change we are no less miserable. Waiting for anyone, even God, to do for us what we CAN do for ourselves leaves us feeling hopeless and powerless, while becoming weaker all the time. You wonder why things seem to work out for everyone else but not for you. And again, if you’re fighting an addiction it’s a setup for a relapse.

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Doctor, Doctor: Your Mental/Emotional Health

Doctor, Doctor: Your Mental/Emotional Health

Emotional WomanSometimes I cry. Sometimes I get angry. Sometimes I feel strong, and sometimes I feel very small. Sometimes I get anxious and upset. Sometimes I feel so happy I can’t imagine ever having a bad day ever again. Sometimes I feel like I could change the world, and sometimes I feel like nothing I do makes any difference.

Life has emotional content, and that’s a good thing. One of the best signs of psychological health is the ability to experience the whole range of human emotions. Of course there is a time for everything, and that means a time to cry and a time to laugh, as well as every other positive and negative emotion. (See Eccl 3:4)

I didn’t always understand that. I lived with enormous emotional pain for a long time, but always tried to look good on the outside. I learned through some very tough times that it doesn’t work to be afraid of the emotional content life brings. It’s much better to embrace it, learn to manage it, and enjoy the ride!

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Doctor, Doctor: Your Physical Health

Young people runningYou don’t feel good, so you snap at your spouse. You’re tired, so you make a quick unwise decision you later regret. You wake up with a headache, so you try to sleep in, and skip your morning quiet time.

Our physical health impacts every other area of our lives. If you are in shape, at a healthy weight, with good nutrition, and well rested, you are a comparatively formidable force against any obstacle in your way. You will have the mental energy to be creative and efficient at work, be fully present for your spouse and children, problem-solve well in a crisis, and have the spiritual energy to grow in your relationship with God.

On the other hand, if you are sick and tired, overweight, full of junk food, and never exercise, you have no reserve to handle even the “normal” stuff life throws at you. With no energy to draw on your work productivity will decrease, your personal relationships will be contentious, your mind will function more slowly in a crisis, and you won’t have any strength left for spiritual growth.

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What is Your Body Telling You?

New MessageOur physical body takes a hit when we experience stress. Even if that stress is not especially negative or traumatic, our body takes the wear.

And if the stress involves danger or trauma, or continues over a significant period of time, our body may just “shut down” in some way.

It has been estimated that 75% or more of the time a patient visits a primary care physician the true reason is stress, psychological difficulty, or something related. In other words, most of the time the problem did not BEGIN with a physical problem or body dysfunction.

That doesn’t mean the physical symptoms aren’t real. It means that our entire being is connected together, and what affects one part affects all the others as well.

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