A PHYSICAL & SPIRITUAL APPROACH TO HEALTH

God has a unique purpose for each one of us. We are gifted with time, talents, and abilities to glorify Him. The Bible calls us “stewards” of these gifts. This stewardship includes our physical bodies. As a woman called to ministry, I’ve grown very mindful recently of how I treat my physical body because I want to serve Jesus to the best of my ability for all my days. Therefore, It is my joy to welcome to the Redeemed Girl Blog our friend and RGI graduate, Meredyth Cann. She has profound wisdom on honoring God with our bodies and offers great advice about fueling the physical and the spiritual. –Marian Jordan Ellis

Feeling tired, needing more energy, experiencing brain fog, or just feeling blah? Would you ever consider these symptoms are impacting your spiritual life? Stewarding our physical health matters to God.

As Christians, we often talk about the importance of our spiritual growth. We attend small group Bible studies where we encourage one another and check in about the status of our spiritual health, but how often do we truly care about the status of our physical health as it relates to our spiritual growth and healing? The truth is that our spiritual and physical selves cannot be separated – it is the way we were made. I’m not suggesting we check in with each other during small group about our daily Starbucks runs and lack of portion control, but I am offering an awareness of our whole selves that is crucial to our time on this earth and living life to the fullest, which I believe the Lord has always intended for us to live.

Our bodies were given to us in order to bring glory to God. It states in Romans 12:1 that our bodies were meant to be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, for this is our spiritual act of worship.” [Romans 12:1]  Elisabeth Elliot expressed this same sentiment well, “It is a failure to not recognize this living body as having anything to do with worship or holy sacrifice. This body is quite simply, the starting place. Failure here is failure everywhere else.”

Making health a priority goes beyond our concern about external appearances. At the end of the day, how we fuel ourselves directly impacts our ministries and daily lives. Being aware of what we put into our bodies is a necessary way to be mindful that God has given us a host for His Spirit to reside. Praising God, mind, body, and soul is an important act of worship. We are told about this in the Gospel of Luke, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” [Luke 10:27]

About five years ago, I went through a season of deep grief as a result of loss, and during that time I didn’t have healthy eating habits. I reached out to trusted friends who helped me along my own healing journey. A few really good friends walked the path of healing with me, a really incredible Christian counselor and an amazing nutritionist. If you’re surprised by the nutritionist part, so was I. I had no idea the impact that food had on my mind, which in turn directly affected my heart and my emotions and my entire healing journey.

I began allowing my nutritionist to speak into the importance of taking care of my physical body as it relates to my spiritual self. I learned so much about how our food choices directly impact the way we process things, how we love ourselves and others and how we interact with God. I experienced this transformation first hand when I realized how much better I was feeling, thinking, and processing after making the choice to change my eating habits. This choice strengthened my own spiritual healing and increased my ability to see and love others well. Looking back, that season was so profound. It’s what ultimately led me to where I am today- helping others through nutrition, in both emotional and physical healing.

As a woman, it is easy to understand the aesthetic reasoning behind our approach to having and maintaining a healthy body, but I think that is part of the reason that this can be such a struggle for a lot of women. I do not think that there is anything wrong with the desire to enhance some of our physical features through diet and exercise. I think the struggle comes when we forget the deeper reasons behind the “why” of making healthy decisions.

Some of us may not have ever considered the mind/body connection – initially, I know that I didn’t, but the connection is so vital to our growth as believers, and it is crucial to remember that food really does affect our thoughts and behaviors, as well as our sleep and functionality throughout our day.

As a nutritionist, I always tell my clients that one of the biggest culprits to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is sugar. Friends, Steer Clear! The consequence of eating sugar is not just a couple of extra pounds. The consequences are blood sugar crashes, inflammation of blood vessels and nerves, a squelched nervous system, diabetes, memory loss, migraines, acne, restlessness, sleeplessness, IBS, to name a few … If you were to have any or all of these ailments and you tried to make progress in your career, ministry, or relationships … it would be really difficult. Doable, but difficult.

It proves really hard to crank out an assignment or really listen to a hurting friend when you are feeling bad and would rather be sleeping. Oftentimes we are tempted to reach for Advil, chocolate, caffeine, or something else in order to bandage a wound because it’s all we’ve ever known, but what if we were willing to pause and take a look at the root of what was really going on and tweak one or two things in our diet with the intention of living a freer and fuller life of loving Jesus and others. Would it lessen the intensity/pressure of eating for the sake of looking a certain way?

Our bodies were created to align and heal themselves. As we target the root cause of certain issues (ex: sugar) and make the choice and the effort to live and operate in full health, I think we are able to worry less about falling off “track” and think more about living in food freedom. The neatest part is that when we target those root causes of what is causing us physical pain, our bodies naturally start to align themselves. In this process, the weight begins to adjust on its own, our minds clear up and the impact of our lives here on earth is strengthened.

My challenge for us all is to live a life worthy of the calling that we have been entrusted with. Whatever it looks like to us individually. As believers, we have all been given specific assignments to expand the gospel wherever we are, and that starts with loving Jesus and then expands into our love for others. If you are feeling tired, needing more energy, experiencing moderate to high levels of brain fog or just feel blah, then it might be a really good time to reach out to someone who can help you identify the root cause of what’s going on.  They can assist you in unfolding the beautiful life that God has intended for you to live. I want to encourage you today, to find your motivation for health and to ask God for the discipline to really take care of your body as the starting place for full, vibrant and healthy worship. Paul tells us in the bible that the discipline won’t always be easy, but it is always worth it!

Meredyth Cann

Hi y’all, I love nutrition and I  L O V E  chit chatting about it! I live in Houston Texas, but I grew up in small town Kentucky which makes me a southern girl through and through. I read just about anything I can get my hands on and I study everything that interests me. I also love reading all the ingredients on the packaged goodies at whole foods… so you might find me there too. My personal nutrition journey has ebbed and flowed with the seasons of life, but what began my love of food started in my early twenties when I walked through a season of deep emotional healing and my nutritionist helped me see that nutrient dense whole foods can help to regulate emotions and steady the soul. Real food has impacted my holistic health journey in such a powerful way that I decided to become a certified nutritional therapist and I’m so thankful, I have never looked back. I would love for you to join me on this journey!

Photography courtesy of meredythdelaynenutrition.com

You can follow Meredyth on Instagram + Facebook.

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