I never had trouble sleeping! Maybe it’s because of all the years of sleep deprivation in Medical School and Residency or because of the training involved in getting ready for Half Marathons, Tough Mudders, the Tour de Cure, and 5 Boro bike tours. I would usually be out in seconds when my head hit the pillow, but now I was heading into unchartered territory for me. I thought God grants sleep to those he loves! God was starting a chapter in the book of my life that I was not ready for.
After training for about a year-and-a-half and logging in 2,800 miles on my bike by December of 2014, I was feeling great. I was about to start a cross-country bike ride to fight the Social Justice cause of our generation – human trafficking. God had put it on my heart to be a voice for the voiceless and those marginalized and neglected by society, for “the least of these.” I was angry and frustrated. I usually exercise at times when I am stressed out and God helps me to get rid of my anxiety in this way. That’s what helped me to get through tough childhood trials, big exams, and life’s usual stresses.
The day I received my diagnosis of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, I was extremely stressed out and I went into a panic when I realized I could not exercise to deal with the news of uneven thickening of the walls of my heart. I had been through some difficult times in my life before. We lost our house and belongings in Hurricane Andrew, I grew up in an alcoholic home, but this one hit really close to home for me. What we do says more about what we believe than what we say. It’s easy to say we believe in God and that He is our peace, but to live it out is different. This really made me depend on God and who He is and allow Him to be my peace in the midst of this storm I was about to go through.
The human body is God’s most amazing creation. The heart starts to beat by 19 days of gestation (that’s day 19 in your Mama’s belly). Your body is God’s temple — the place where He dwells. God actually lives in us and just like we clean up and take care of our house, we should clean up and take care of our bodies, God’s house, as an act of worship.
Taking care of our bodies includes eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, and taking care of our minds. The mind and the body are connected, and one affects the other.
Our diet is the foundation of who we are. You are what you eat! Why are we surprised when we eat a bunch of junk food and then we don’t feel well? It is not only important what we eat, but also how much we eat. When we go out to restaurants, the portion sizes of our meals are nothing short of ridiculous.
Exercise is crucial to maintaining our health as well. A good goal is to get 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 5 times a week. What you eat is the source of your calories and being active is how you burn those calories. You have to burn 3,500 calories to loose just one pound. If you are frustrated that you are overweight, don’t get discouraged if you can’t get the weight off in one week. If the weight came on over a few years, it may take just as long to get it off. That requires consistency and discipline. You didn’t gain it overnight and you won’t lose it overnight. It’s important to make lifestyle changes and not do a “diet.”
I can’t say enough about sleep. If diet and exercise are the peanut butter and jelly of the sandwich of health, then sleep is the bread. Remember wheat bread is the way to go. Try to avoid those simple carbohydrates!Your day starts the night before when you decide what time you will go to sleep. Getting enough sleep is crucial for you to have the energy you will need to have a productive day. If you want to thrive and not just survive you need your sleep. In order for your muscles to repair and heal up from the exercise you have done you need to eat right and get your sleep.
When you go back to school, you have to turn your summer brain off and wake up your academic brain cells, right? More importantly, if you think of your mind as a muscle, there are ways to keep your mind in shape. The best thing to fill your mind with daily is God’s Word, and with so much great Christian music out there, you can do this through music and reading your Bible, or even using a Verse-a-Day App on your smart phone. Secondly, surround yourself with friends who tell you the truth in love and lift you up. Finally, keep junk out — things like online porn, images in R-rated movies, song lyrics with repetitive expletives and curse words, and negativity in general. Remember who God made you to be and how much He loves you. Defeat the lies in your head with God’s truth!
Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) Let’s take care of the place where our Creator wants to hang out by watching what we eat, exercising and getting enough sleep. When your world goes upside down and you can’t figure out which way is up, remember Who holds your world in his hands. He doesn’t promise that we will have a life without problems, but that He will be there with us in the midst of them. Let’s not make what we eat, exercise, or getting sleep more important than our Maker, but let’s honor and worship Him in these ways to take care of His house! I’m trying to stay in shape again and am back to a little exercise. How about you?