The Pursuit of a Healthier Me + A Prayer for Your Carry-On {The Grove: Healthy}

I woke up at my normal time, 6:02 am, stumbled to the coffee pot, filled up a mug of steaming black goodness and snuggled into my corner of the couch where I usually spend about 30 minutes waking up while reading and such. This day, however, I realized the coffee in my hand (which I usually go to bed at night looking forward to slurping all by myself during those quite minutes before the day starts) disgusted me. This confirmed I was indeed sick (that, and the sore throat, pounding headache and all-over weakness I felt throughout my body).

That was Friday, and I’m sitting here five days later with the remaining sniffles from that horrible virus. I’m frustrated I got sick, though. I’ve been trying so hard to avoid germs and washing my hands and taking my vitamins and saying my prayers! But wait…I haven’t been getting enough sleep, I’m eating whatever I want (which translates to not enough whole foods and way too much sugar) and running on caffeine. When I look at it that way, well, no wonder I had to call in sick!

Health is the one thing I seem to take for granted, until a massive cold hits me square in the face and I have to stay in bed for 24 hours and wonder where it all went wrong! Is it just me, or do we seem to be most susceptible to sickness immediately after a period of busy-ness?! Is the key to prevention to stay home all winter and do nothing? Probably not (even though hibernation does sound like a cozy idea sometimes). It’s that time of year again when I have to preach “healthy lifestyle” to myself and get back on the wagon.

I wish I could name a few fail-proof remedies that have never failed me, but I personally haven’t found anything that magically keeps me healthy. I have to do the hard work of watching what I eat (yikes…so much sugar went down the hatch at Christmas…what was I thinking?) When life gets busy, it’s so easy to switch to auto-pilot, eat whatever is easiest to grab, and drink more coffee. Who has time for vegetables? But, the aftermath of this cold has me getting back to the basics of eating more fresh food (which was easier when I lived overseas, I might add!!!) and hiding the chocolate!

Another thing that slides during holiday seasons for me is sleep. I love being around family and/or friends and staying up late just seems to happen more often in December. Next time I think I’m young enough to get through the day on six hours of sleep, I hope I listen to the voice of reason (aka my husband) when he tells me to go to bed. Seven and a half or eight hours of sleep are not optional for good health. I should write that down somewhere and live by it.

Then, there’s exercise. It gets cold outside, and I decide life is better lived indoors. Since I live in a rural area where a gym membership isn’t really an option, I’m still stumped on this one. Bundle up and get outside for a walk or keep making excuses seem to be my options at this point. When does one exercise when trying to get enough sleep and making sure the family is eating vegetables?!

Take a look at this prayer I’ve been saying out loud every morning because I’m terrified of the flu and I work in a bank where the public brings in cash from the scary, germ-filled outside world:

“My immune system grows stronger day by day. I speak life to my immune system. I forbid confusion in my immune system. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in me and quickens my immune system with the life and wisdom of God, which guards the life and health of my body.”  God’s Creative Power by Charles Capps

I don’t know anything about the author of this little prayer book, but it seems like a good thing to speak life and wellness over my body. It had been working until last Friday. What went wrong? Did a few days of forgetting to claim wellness take me down? All this got me pondering: Did Jesus ever call in sick? I dare say he did not, but we really don’t know. If he was fully human, perhaps he did? Or was he so full of the life-giving power of the Holy Sprit that sickness couldn’t even dwell in his body? Is there a human on earth today who has reached that point of fullness as to not get sick?

The more I think about staying healthy, the more I realize there’s only so much I can explain, and the rest is up to the good Lord to take care of. There’s no fail-proof plan to avoid sickness, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Maybe without that prayer, I’d be back where I was ten months ago with seven full days of flu followed by five days of pneumonia. Maybe it worked after all. Either way, I’m not going to quit speaking it over myself, the same as I’m not going to give up the pursuit of a healthier me.

What does this topic of “Healthy” have you pondering these days? In addition to eating right, getting enough sleep and exercising, how to you stay healthy and avoid sickness?

Do share with us, as conference season is coming up and sickness seems to lurk in situations where God’s people gather together (you might pack that prayer in your carry-on luggage, too! There’s another one I can post in the comments if you’re interested.)

~~~

We invite you to share in The Grove. You can link up your blog post, or share your practices, ponderings, wisdom, questions, ideas, and creative expressions with us in the comments below.

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Share your images on this week’s theme with #VelvetAshesHealthy. You can add yours!

22 Comments

    1. M'Lynn January 24, 2019

      Great! I’ll post it as soon as my computer starts being friends with the wifi again…(hopefully soon!)

  1. Jodie Pine January 24, 2019

    Thanks for sharing, M’Lynn. I’m interested in the other prayer you mentioned.

    1. Amy Young January 24, 2019

      Jodie! I talked with one of your former Connection Group members today :)! She said such lovely things about you :). And then to see your comment here makes me happy.

      1. Jodie Pine January 24, 2019

        Hi Amy! I’ll miss seeing you at the writing conference next month. Charly and I are traveling to Michigan. Hope it goes well 🙂

    2. M'Lynn January 25, 2019

      Jodie, Thanks for sharing your blog post! I enjoyed reading it, and the takeaway question that I’ll be pondering:
      “What do they have to offer that–
      Typically-abled people
      Are missing?”

      1. Jodie Pine January 25, 2019

        Before our adoptions 5 years ago, a friend loaned me a book called The Power of the Powerless by Christopher de Vinck. This was my first introduction to the idea of disabilities making us more whole. The author wrote that his brother Oliver “was physically and mentally retarded, but he was not spiritually retarded. I was taught by my parents to look at Oliver and see…the mystery, things that linger, things which stay with us…We can stand before the Olivers of the world and see clearly who we are.”

  2. M'Lynn January 24, 2019

    Here’s the other prayer: “Christ has redeemed me from the curse of the law. Therefore, I forbid any sickness or disease to come upon this body. Every disease germ and every virus that touches this body dies instantly in the name of Jesus. Every organ and every tissue in this body functions in the perfection to which God created it to function, and I forbid any malfunction in this body, in the name of Jesus. (Gal 3:13, Rom 8:11, Gen 1:31, Matt 16:19)” p. 23 “God’s Creative Power” by Charles Capps

    1. MG January 25, 2019

      I keep seeing prayers like this all over social media. Is the idea praying to God about what we are hoping to occur? Or is it praying to the germs, demons etc? What’s the Scriptural basis for it…. the idea of binding and loosing (which I know has different interpretations based on your theology)? I think I missed something while being overseas and haven’t been sure who to ask.

      1. Amanda January 25, 2019

        MG, you raise great questions. These prayers are part of the “Word of Faith” movement which is, I fear, not too far from the prosperity gospel. God has redeemed my soul, so he must immediately redeem and protect my body as well! I would encourage all readers (and writers) to exercise discernment and take a look at the theology and implications in what you may come across to read or pray.

        1. M'Lynn January 25, 2019

          MG and Amanda, I have the same curiosities about this sort of thing and was hesitant to include it in my post, but it is something I’ve been pondering about health (I don’t have answers, just questions!) I know this isn’t some sort of magical catch-all thing that if I do it, I’m sure I won’t ever be sick because I said the right words. Only God knows what will happen to me and allows those things which will happen to me according to his will. However, I got this from a friend (haven’t seen anything like it on social media, but also haven’t been on social media much lately) and for me, it’s a way to remind myself daily that God’s got me covered. I’m not going to live in fear of germs and health problems. Also, acknowledging these things aloud is helpful to remind myself that the same power that rose Jesus from the grave lives in me. Each prayer is based on scripture. If you’d rather, use the scripture references and pray those over yourself. This is not a recipe to follow, but something that has brought me peace in the area of health. As Amanda said, use your own discernment.

          1. Grace L January 25, 2019

            I have been thinking all day today about these prayers of profession. I did feel a bit uncomfortable about the second prayer for some reason. I would like to offer a more general prayer of profession of faith that my husband and I pray every morning and every evening. We see it as a declaration of who we are in Jesus:
            “I believe that Jesus died on the cross for me.
            I believe that the blood of Jesus covers and protects me.
            I believe that the Spirit of the Living God surrounds and indwells me; and in the name of Jesus, nothing can come through to harm us. Amen.”

            We may get sick but we know who our Lord is and who is in us. And we know Who covers and protects us and hides us under the shelter of His wings.

          2. M'Lynn January 25, 2019

            Grace, Thanks so much for sharing your prayer. I’m glad we’ve been able to come to the Grove to ponder and share together!

  3. Kelly January 24, 2019

    That’s a great prayer!! I’ve found that supporting my immune system with essential oils and a good probiotic helps me stay well too. Eating well has been my recent attempt at honoring the temple of the Holy Spirit. I think I’ve been sick three times (and nothing serious) in the last 14 months!!!

    1. M'Lynn January 25, 2019

      Kelly, isn’t it amazing that it’s only when we feel better that we realize how bad we felt previously? So glad you’re finding ways to care for your body!

  4. Shelly January 31, 2019

    I appreciate the discussion above about the prayers. Thank you all for sharing. Food for thought.
    I have been, by God’s grace, well for a few years in terms of colds, flus and things like that. (Oh, I did get a stomach virus that knocked me out for a few days at my org’s annual conference in January 2017 and 2018. Interestingly, both were BEFORE the conference began.) How do I explain it? In the last few years, I have been dutiful about wearing my mask on high pollution days (n Beijing), mindful of what I eat, and intentional about getting exercise on a regular basis and getting to bed at a consistent time for 7.5-8 hours a night. I have had lapses, and the biggest one has been this past year as I prepared to return to the US for a while. Walking and climbing stairs are not built into my daily life, so I have finally joined a fitness center where I can use a treadmill through the winter and join classes. I also make use of online workout videos (when the weather is so bad I can’t even get to the fitness center, like this week.). To keep this up, I need to be sure I hold onto the “why.” As was mentioned, each one of us is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Am I being a good steward of this edifice?

    1. M'Lynn February 7, 2019

      Hi, Shelly! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and healthy routines. It really is a matter of stewardship, isn’t it? Running on empty works for a little while, but not for the long run! I also miss the built-in workout of living on the sixth floor (no elevator!) It was sometimes a hassle, but I was in better shape then than I am now. I have to plan and go out of my way to get in two miles of walking (which I try to do regularly), but I’d get that easy almost daily in China just doing my normal errands!

  5. Amanda February 6, 2019

    Great discussion! Thank you for sharing your prayer M’Lynn. I can see both sides of the prayer for health and agree. Using Scripture as our guide will help us discern how we each should pray. That is a vulnerable thing to share, thank you for that.
    I’d like to add a few thoughts on the following: “Did Jesus ever call in sick? I dare say he did not, but we really don’t know. If he was fully human, perhaps he did? Or was he so full of the life-giving power of the Holy Sprit that sickness couldn’t even dwell in his body? Is there a human on earth today who has reached that point of fullness as to not get sick?”

    I believe that Jesus was 100% human, and 100% God. Part of his humanity was the experience of hunger, weariness, thirst, and illness. Jesus totally gets our cross cultural adjustment, maybe on a whole other level! But that’s for another time lol.
    I think sickness, disease, disability, and suffering are the residual effects of the fall. Sometimes they are the result of demonic activity or oppression, sometimes the consequences of our own sin, or other’s sin against us. It isn’t always only one over the other, and God can use even those things (or especially those things when surrendered) for his glory and our ultimate good. Sickness is not sinful, in and of itself, though it may be the consequences of sin in some cases.
    “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Her 4:15), sickness included. The fact that Jesus, the King of creation, would lower himself to sympathize with me and you, is truly humbling and amazing grace!
    Who would willingly be sick right?! He would, and did. So that we would be drawn into the relationship we were made for, and eternally experience the wholeness for which we were created.
    Sorry this was so long. Thank you, all of you, who contribute to these blog posts and share your heart, the ways God draws you close, and for sharing the truth of those moments. It is another balm for my soul and encourages me to keep my eyes on Jesus.

  6. Amanda February 6, 2019

    Great discussion! Thank you for sharing your prayer M’Lynn. I can see both sides of the prayer for health and agree. Using Scripture as our guide will help us discern how we each should pray. That is a vulnerable thing to share, thank you for that.
    I’d like to add a few thoughts on the following: “Did Jesus ever call in sick? I dare say he did not, but we really don’t know. If he was fully human, perhaps he did? Or was he so full of the life-giving power of the Holy Sprit that sickness couldn’t even dwell in his body? Is there a human on earth today who has reached that point of fullness as to not get sick?”

    I believe that Jesus was 100% human, and 100% God. Part of his humanity was the experience of hunger, weariness, thirst, and illness. Jesus totally gets our cross cultural adjustment, maybe on a whole other level! But that’s for another time lol.
    I think sickness, disease, disability, and suffering are the residual effects of the fall. Sometimes they are the result of demonic activity or oppression, sometimes the consequences of our own sin, or other’s sin against us. It isn’t always only one over the other, and God can use even those things (or especially those things when surrendered) for his glory and our ultimate good. Sickness is not sinful, in and of itself, though it may be the consequences of sin in some cases.
    “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Her 4:15), sickness included. The fact that Jesus, the King of creation, would lower himself to sympathize with me and you, is truly humbling and amazing grace!
    Who would willingly be sick right?! He would, and did. So that we would be drawn into the relationship we were made for, and eternally experience the wholeness for which we were created.
    Sorry this was so long. Thank you, all of you, who contribute to these blog posts and share your heart, the ways God draws you close, and for sharing the truth of those moments. It is another balm for my soul and encourages me to keep my eyes on Jesus.

    Sorry! I can’t figure out how to remove this picture! Help appreciated!!!

    1. M'Lynn February 7, 2019

      Amanda, Don’t worry…You are not the first one to accidentally post a gigantic picture in the comments. I’m not the webmaster, but I’ll get in touch with someone who knows who that is! LOL. Gorgeous photo, though! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and encouragement. It’s always nice to get feedback and participation after sharing a post. I agree that Jesus walked the Earth as 100% human, 100% God and took part in the general suffering of the fallen world. However, I think of all the times he healed others with commanding power (a few examples that cone to mind: to the paralytic “Pick up your mat and walk” and Peter’s mother inlaw who was sick with a fever, he touched her hand and the fever left her) so it causes me to wonder how or if He would ever have to lay in bed for seven days with the flu. Or would he get a little tickle in his throat and think “Hmmm…I feel sickness coming on” and pray/command it away like he did with others? I can settle on the only way He’d be sick is if he allowed Himself to be (just as he allowed himself to be crucified). In allowing himself to be sick, he’d share in the human experience. Then I wonder what Mary, his mother, had seen him do prior to his public ministry. *A whole new bag of worms for this comments thread* ha! Was she lying in bed with a fever one day and the teenage Jesus healed her with the touch of His hand? Maybe! Whatever it was that He did at home, she witnessed it and knew His supernatural power because she’s the one who engaged Him to help at the Wedding in Cana. Oh, what fun it is to “engage the scriptures at the level of the imagination” (as Micheal Card says).

  7. Amanda February 6, 2019

    Sorry ladies, I clearly have not posted more than once! :(. If anyone can advise me how to remove the post I’d be very grateful.

    1. Sarah Hilkemann February 7, 2019

      Hey Amanda! I removed the large images from your comments but left what you shared. Thanks so much for adding to the discussion! 🙂

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