The following is a list of all entries from the Health and Spirituality category.
“People reap what they sow. Those who sow to please their sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; those who sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Gal 6)
I’m planting a garden this year – my first one ever. So I’m thinking about the imagery of a garden in other ways, too: the types of seeds we sow, but more specifically, what kind of harvest we will reap, depending on what we sow and what we cultivate.
The seeds of goodness that I want to plant in my life are ones of health. I want healthy relationships, a healthy approach to the work of my hands, a healthy investment in my relationship to God, a healthy balance (and challenge!) of exercise, a healthy dose of rest, and clean, whole, healthy foods nourishing my body.
But just as we do not reap a harvest the same time we plant the seeds in our gardens, so the seeds of goodness that I plant in my life take time to cultivate and nurture before they grow to a harvest.
Paul knew this would be difficult and he gives us the encouragement to “not become weary in doing good” (Gal 6). Cultivation takes discipline and the small, simple, daily acts of choosing goodness and health all day long. This can be a drag, but Paul reminds us that we will reap a harvest if we keep it up.
A new seed of goodness that I have planted is the discipline of rising early – before my children – to spend time with God. This has not been easy since I’m pregnant and still have an almost-2-yo who wakes up at night sometimes.
But I made the commitment, and God has been faithful to meet me in that time. I set a realistic goal of “early” – knowing that I wanted to pick a time that I could maintain daily, but also knowing that sometimes that would mean my children would wake during my quiet time. I have slowly pushed the time back to wake up even earlier because I have begun to crave the time alone with God.
I’m about a month into this practice, and it doesn’t seem to get any easier…but I know it’s a seed of goodness and cultivating this discipline is worth it – there is a harvest of goodness on the other side – a deeper walk with my savior – that I crave which pushes me through the difficulty of the bleary-eyed early mornings.
What gets me out of bed most days? These verses from Hosea 10 that I memorized:
“Sow for yourselves righteousness/Reap the fruit of unfailing love/and break up your unplowed ground;/for it is time to seek the LORD,/until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.”
It is time to seek the LORD. I say this to myself as I lie in bed with my finger on the snooze button…and what I hear instead is: Get your butt out of bed and press into the LORD…it will be worth it. And so I do…
If we keep up the work of planting and cultivating goodness in our lives, we will reap a harvest.
So let us not become weary in doing good – in pursuing health in a holistic, whole-person way. Let us continue to pursue discipline: drinking water, eating whole foods, making time for God, exercising…knowing that God is honored when we make good choices to take care of our temples.
In this way, our garden of goodness becomes an act of worship. And when we see the fruit of our labor, celebrate and praise God, because he is the one who makes things grow (1 Cor 3:7).
What seeds of goodness are you planting and cultivating these days?
The practice of yoga has made an impact on my understanding of the connection between mind and body. Love it or hate, think it’s cooky or “far out” – no matter what you think of yoga, a good instructor teaches you to engage the mind and the body.
In yoga, you set an intention for your practice. Sometimes the instructor will talk a bit and give a suggestion. Today, in my class, our instructor was talking about our power to choose. We can choose to be active and engage in the flow of our lives; we can choose how life affects us – even the stuff we cannot control. It’s our choice.
Then, as the physical practice of yoga begins, you set that intention before you as you work in the physical space. Today, I set my intention based on a verse I had just read in Psalm 40: God is my help. As I worked my way into poses that after a year of being absent from a yoga class felt foreign, I focused on my intention. When it was hard to hold a pose or I felt tired, I moved my mind to my mantra for the day: God is my help.
As I work physically in the class to build strength, flexibility and balance, I am also connecting to something non-physical – mainly an intention, idea or prayer. In this way, the practice of yoga has taught me a tangible way to connect my body, mind and spirit. The physical movements of yoga become a prayer…a prayer that changes depending on the difficulty of the pose. Today, God was my helper when I was struggling and tired, but I was reminded that he is also my helper when things come easily and I am at rest.
Learning to connect the physical and the spiritual takes some practice. That’s why I love yoga – I get to practice it every week. But there are other ways to engage the physical with the non-physical realm: praying before meals, breath prayers, keeping a running list of gratitude throughout the day, lighting an advent candle…to name a few. Sometimes it’s the physical act that can stir a deep prayer inside us…sometimes its the prayers themselves that move us into action. Both sides to the coin are important as we live this spiritual life in a physical body.
In what ways do you practice the connection between the physical and the spiritual?