Suppose you’re going through an emotionally rough time…
That’s when the temptation is to drop everything else and focus on whatever ails you.
Bad move. Keep that up and you’ll be facing checkmate before you know it.
Better to doggedly persist in taking care of yourself first—physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Truthfully, when you’re going through a rough time, almost any exercise will do. Even a walk.
Naturally I recommend my own 9Minutes2Fit because it doesn’t take much time and targets the four major areas of the body (upper body, lower body, mid-section/core, and the cardiovascular system).
But a determined walk will do too. Just don’t make it a casual stroll. Be intentional. Walk with purpose. Put some spring in your step. Pump those arms. This is the time for exercise (even if it’s only for 5 minutes), not lover’s lane.
By the way, exercise isn't just for the body. It's a way of working on your personal sense of confidence as well as your physical health. It a mental as well as physical boost.
Second: Fuel your body for the challenge.
This is NOT the time for so-called “comfort food.” No. No. No.
Now’s the time to fuel your body up with the stuff it really needs!
That means eat extra clean and healthy. Big drink of water first thing in the morning and continued throughout the day to stay hydrated. Lots of vegetables and some lean protein. Include some healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, or almonds. Skip the deep-fat fried stuff and the potato chips at all costs. And yes, proclaim a moratorium on sweets too. In times of stress your body needs the best stuff to face the day, not the worst.
Third, Make time for Devotions.
You might have thought that as a pastor I would have listed this first. Sometimes I do. But most of the time I find it easier to reflect on the ways of God when I’ve already experienced the gifts of God through exercise and healthy food.
A little Bible reading, quiet reflection, and prayer can help you keep things in perspective.
That's where you'll learn (or be reminded) that you’re not the first person to be going through difficult times. And the Bible subtly (and sometimes not so subtly!) reminds us that we are called to follow the way of Jesus rather than asking Jesus to follow the way of us!
So WE are not the focus. We are just invited into Christ’s parade of service. Through Bible reading, reflection, and prayer, you can better see this.
Even after exercising, eating well and spending time in devotions and prayer, your challenges will still be there waiting for you.
But now you can face your challenges knowing:
- You’ve already have had two experiences of victory (you exercised and you ate well),
- You’re physically at your best, and,
- You've been primed again on the promises of God’s presence now and always...
As for facing the challenge of tomorrow? Rinse and repeat!