As we near the end of the year, I’m exploring old adventures, sharing some smiles and shedding a few tears that I’ve written in these journals throughout 2015. There’s no label I can slap on the cover of this one, but I’m looking for lessons to learn as I head into the next.
There were a few mountaintop experiences, but one recurring valley and it dug it’s ugly head into different areas of my life; relationships, food, sleep. choices to stay out longer and be up later instead of resting. it was fun to do, but I never felt great afterward.
In the middle of sifting through warped pages, the takeaway was boldly obvious: A moment of pleasure isn’t worth a day of regret. This is a good filter for my decisions in the future, I thought.
Living a life that seeks pleasure over wisdom isn’t worth any kind of regret. It drains the capacity to be our best.
Later in the day I read, ‘psychologists say a sign of good mental health is the ability to delay gratification.’
Without stepping into the next invitation of momentary pleasure, how can we prepare now? I made a list of what my best life looks like. Now it’s up to me to guard this with my choices.
For me, having a peaceful moment with God is crucial for me to lead a life of love and grace. Scheduling this at the first part of my day before the world wakes (and wants to take that time away) is important. My day has this 5 a.m. foundation. And in order to wake up and feel refreshed, alert and ready to listen at this hour, my body tells me I must get eight to nine hours of rest. So I shut the lights off at 8 p.m. and I let the Lord wake me when He’s ready.
The best life for me also includes physical exercise. Whether that’s a decent 5-mile walk in the park or inside the gym lifting weights. My muscles and joints just don’t feel their best without it. Sunday night I look at the calendar for the week and block out my time to workout each day of the week.
Nutrition helps my body have the energy to keep up with the calendar. Since I have little self control when it comes to portions or saying ‘no’, it’s important for me to assemble every meal ahead of time, starting Sunday night. The crockpot makes this easier. Breakfast, lunch and dinner for the week are waiting in line on the shelves of my fridge so I can ‘grab and go’ and I don’t have to second guess if it’s well-balanced.
I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1 (NIV)
The bible reminds us that this body we live in houses the holy spirit and it was bought for a price. It’s not meant for the physical and mental damage that comes with sexual immorality or gluttony. Taking care of the body we’ve been given demonstrates respect for what God created.
There are other parts to life that make us our best, like having community and conversations and quality time face to face with friends, but those come after this responsibility to our personal health. We are not much good to a group if we can’t protect our personal best. These three areas, rest, exercise and nutrition are a starting place.
What does being your best look like for you?