Fr. Dale Matson
“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:30-33, NASB)
I have been blessed with constitutional weaknesses inherited from my ancestors. Yes, I did say “blessed”. I have inherited a vulnerability to obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol and blood pressure. The result is what is referred to often in my family records, as death from “Apoplexy”. Apoplexy is an antiquated generic term for sudden death by stroke or heart attack. I am blessed because leading a disciplined life tends to keep these variables in remission. This part is up to me because I am in control of these risk factors.
My cardiologist recently told me that 85% of those who are referred to him are there because of lifestyle issues. My elevated blood pressure was directly related to being overweight. I am an ectomorph (long and lean) by design. Even if my additional weight were muscle, it is still not healthy to add it to a frame that is not intended to carry it. For years, I have been able to chase away calories through exercise but this type of purging is also not healthy and has led to overuse injuries.
Diet (especially portion control) is perhaps more important than exercise as a variable in taking charge of our health. I recently discovered that I was glucose intolerant and have sadly eliminated wheat products from my diet. Perhaps the key for a pre-diabetic like me is avoiding foods that cause my blood sugar to “spike”. These and adequate rest are lifestyle issues that are under my control and part of a disciplined adult life. If I lead a disciplined life will it guarantee that I will live longer? Even if I don’t live longer, the life I do lead will be of higher quality.
The last and most important lifestyle issue for a Christian is allowing God to be in control of those things under which we have no control. It is one thing to say that you have given your life to Christ. It is quite another to examine how this “surrender” is treated in a generic and theoretical sense. Have you given Christ your finances, your children, your health and your future? Perhaps the most elusive thing for me has been this letting go and trusting God. Because I have compartmentalized those things that I have given to God while still saying that I have given my life to Him, I have experienced God’s peace only occasionally. This peace, the peace that passes all understanding is the most important of all lifestyle issues. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1st Peter 5:6-7). Lord, I cast all of my cares on you. Amen