1 Corinthians 6:9 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? Most people I talk to about their health & fitness wouldn’t place their physical well being in the sacred category. However, from Gods perspective, there is no divide between the sacred and secular. Everything is spiritual. Our bodies are the vehicle Gods given to us to live our lives and carry out our life purpose. Whilst Godliness is of every value, bodily training is of some value and it generally only becomes an issue when ill health surfaces in our lives. Many of us punish our bodies with a lack of sleep, poor nutrition and sedentary lifestyles that ultimately catch up with us as we age. When your unwell and unable to operate in your daily life as you once did, it doesn’t matter how grand your vision, or how passionate you are about reaching your friends with the gospel, the truth is you are dramatically limited in your capacity to carry out your ministry and spiritual goals. I’m advocating that we all increase the value we place upon our physical well being, not for cosmetic reasons but for stewardship and sustainability reasons that brings glory to God and energy for life and ministry. Sleep 7-8hrs, eat clean and move your body 30-60mins daily and the benefits will be dramatic, both physically and spiritually.
What do you do first thing in the morning? This is a question I’ve often asked different people over the years. I’ve been very interested in how people answer this question because I’ve been a long term believer in what you do in the morning hours sets up your entire day. I want to encourage you to rethink your morning routine. Too often I see, one of two extremes, either chaos or lethargy define people’s morning routines but there is a third option = A sustainable rhythm that invigorates you and makes you feel like whatever else you do today, you’ve already accomplished so much. Jesus modeled to all of us a healthy morning routine that set him and his ministry up for the day. He spent time in his Fathers presence before allowing the busyness of life overtake him. I encourage you to focus on 1 of 3 things in the morning hours. One is developing yourself, another is developing your relationships and the third is developing your career.
Developing yourself can look like exercise, prayer, bible reading, book reading, meditation or anything else that centers you and gets you a healthy body, mind and spirit.
Developing your relationships can look like making family breakfast time an opportunity to chat and get closer to family members. It can also look like meeting up with a close friend or work colleague for a coffee at a cool cafe and just chatting.
Developing your career can look like reading in your field, writing a blog or book, scanning news and reports, formal study or anything that will help you improve in your field.
It’s time to seize the day by seizing your morning hours. What you do from 6am-9am everyday can make or break your day. Don’t just settle to be a night owl. Body rhythms and sleep cycles will all benefit from making the shift to a morning routine. This is what successful people do to set up their day.
I know what it’s like to grow weary in the fulfillment of the call of God. 2 years ago I took a month long sabbatical to just rest in God and allow him to fill my cup back up. The truth is you don’t have to sideline yourself to overcome seasons of weariness, you just need to do more of the most important things that contribute to your overall well being and less or even cut out what isn’t important.
When the call wearies you, make sure you identify what fills your tank back up and do them. These could include:
- Exercise – Exercise helps your body to de-stress as well as increase your energy levels.
- Sleep – Sleep it off. Restore your bodies natural sleep patterns and you will start to feel better.
- Vacation – Sometime all you need is a good old fashioned holiday for at least 3 weeks to recover.
- Prayer Retreat – Book 3 days away into your diary and spend the time praying and reading your bible.
- Vision – Return to the original vision that inspired you to answer the call in the first place and rekindle it.
- Read – Take a couple of hours off and read a good book that gets your mind thinking about other things.
- Friends – Call up your friends and go have some fun.
- Movie – Go catch a good movie and escape to another world for a couple of hours.
- Devotions – Get up everyday and spend extra time worshipping, praying and reading your bible.
- Holy Spirit – Ask for an infilling of the Holy Spirit and stop doing ministry on empty batteries.
Fulfilling your calling is going to take enormous energy. Anything worth pursuing requires an investment of energy on your part. Energy is a precious gift. The lack of it can limit your impact and contribution to life. I think great energy is a byproduct of Gods grace in our lives, directed towards a call.
People struggle for energy without a clear and defined purpose. A clear call and vision from God activates you to get up in the morning and get into the day. Proverbs 29:18 reminds us, “Without vision, people perish.” I have an internal drive because I have a clear vision for the call of God in my local church and personal life. What energizes you? What motivates you? Why do you do what you do?
Energy is also a byproduct of how we look after our physical bodies. If you pay attention to your ESD, you will go a long way to maximizing your physical energy. What is ESD?
E is firstly, EXERCISE. I encourage you to move your body for at least 20-3omins a day, 5-6 times per week. This could be walking, running, cycling, swimming, aerobics, gym or competitive sport that you enjoy on a regular basis. S stands for SLEEP. Whatever you do, get up at the same time each day. Even if you have a late night, get up at the same time and sleep in before midnight, not after midnight. The hours pre-midnight are far more conducive to a healthier lifestyle than post-midnight. A basic 7-8 hours sleep a night is important for all of us to heed. Lastly, D stands for DIET. You are what you eat. Your physical energy rises and falls based on the fuel you feed it. Have a solid breakfast of grains, fruit and yoghurt. Eat fruit and healthy snacks throughout the day. Enjoy pasta’s, vegetables, lean meat, fish, etc for your main meals and try not to eat after 9pm each night. Minimize sugars, fats, etc because a healthy ESD will go a long way to increasing your energy.
Energy is also a byproduct of time spent with God. Don’t forsake your intimacy with God because they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. Set a daily appointment with God and always keep it. Life can get busy and often the first thing to go is our time with God. Until you are convinced that anything good in your life is a result of your relationship with God, you won’t take it seriously enough to invest more time and energy into it. The busier life gets, the more you need to make time for prayer.