I don't pay such close attention to what I put in my body, often eating foods that are bad for me; I ignore what my body needs to maintain optimum health. I even ignore the pain I am in, until it becomes unbearable before I actually do something about it. Hence, I choose death on some level every day.
Just by listening to the people around me, seeing the states their bodes are in, I know I am not unique. I may even make 'better' choices, and thank God, my health issues are not serious and revolve mostly around managing muscle pain and getting a good night's sleep.
P said that people generally avoid a fast death but they invariably pick a slow one. He was talking about people with chronic illnesses who have the power to manage said illnesses yet choose to ignore the prescribed remedies, preferring instead to let their conditions degenerate to a point where symptoms can be dire, and damage irreversible. Even then, they refuse to take accountability and make judicious changes in lifestyles that would help, opting instead to use medication as their only line of defence.
It's completely baffles me that people can be so irrational, choosing death over life, albeit a very slow death, but, then again, I am no different myself. I do not eat properly and exercise regularly. I do not do what's right for my body. I guess I'm not disciplined enough, and laziness trumps vanity for me. Prayer, now I've got that down pretty much, even mindfulness, but exercise and eating right? Hmmm, I still have a ways to go.
Although looking after one's health is not explicitly preached in the Bible, Saint Paul did remind the Corinthians that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit within us, and that we are not our own, we belong to God. We also know that gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins and that temperance is a virtue. In Genesis, we are tasked to be good stewards - should this not apply to our bodies besides the environment?
When I feel tired or unwell, I am not able to give my best to the tasks I set myself. I even draw back from reaching out to others, loving others, for it all becomes just too much. My efforts are lackadaisical and perfunctory.
When I am in pain, I can only focus on my own pain, my world shrinks, and I tend to ignore the pain of others. I become self-centred, selfish, without even realizing it. I become short-tempered, impatient and quite intolerant of others' weaknesses.
When I am emotionally exhausted and fragile, I close up unto myself, and I do not hear the cries of the needy around me. I don't want to. I just can't. How can I be the hands and feet of Christ when I myself am so in need of comfort and rest?
I recently had a minor procedure done and while the outcome was good and I feel relieved and grateful, I am also physically drained. So I am learning to love myself a little more by resting and taking better care of my body. I realize I cannot continue down this path of poor stewardship over my own health for the price is high in terms of not being able to do the things I love, and the missed opportunities to minister to others.
I want to be pain-free, energized, brimming with health and vitally alive. If I am in better shape to worship the Lord, I will do a better job of it. Right now, my best is really not my personal best, and that's a shame. As I work on restoring my health, I invite you to take stock and see if you could make some healthier choices and to do it immediately. Every day we are given the power to choose life or death, choose life in all the ways that honour the Creator.