We are now two weeks into 2018 and many of us still have on our minds the things that we feel led to start or accomplish or change this year. Not that there is any special magic about the New Year or the associated resolutions. We can start down the path of accomplishing or changing something at any time in response to God’s leading. But, for whatever reason, at the dawn of a New Year, many of us feel led to take stock of where we are at health-wise and devote ourselves to make some changes. And given that health-related achievements or changes are so related to the daily routines of life, a perceived “New Year New You” fresh start can be very helpful.
In last week’s blog, we talked about getting back to some simple basic health routines that are part of the cost of achieving and maintaining good health. How are you doing with these? I personally am falling short in the area of getting to bed on time in order to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Please pray that I would get that routine in place this coming week.
Today, I want to discuss the opposite side of the coin – things that we may need to let go of, rather than resume, in order to have success in the health-related accomplishments or changes that we feel God leading us to pursue in order to be more effective servants for His kingdom.
The prophet Elisha gives an excellent example of what it looks like to “let go” in order to take on something that we believe God is leading us to do.
…He [Elisha] was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”… So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.
(1 Kings 19:19-21)
The throwing of the cloak symbolized a divine calling. Elisha knew that, through this action by Elijah, he was being led by God into a new direction. The slaughtering of the oxen and burning of the plowing equipment indicated his full commitment to follow God’s leading. These were the implements of his current profession and, in doing away with them, he purposefully made it impossible, or at least very difficult, to backtrack.
Elisha’s example can be applied to our life in many ways as we are called to follow God’s leading in many different areas of life. Today, some will be led to believe and follow Jesus, some will be led to step into a new role in work or ministry, some will be led to confess and renounce a sin, some will be led to speak some difficult truths and, yes, some may even be led to improve their health as an act of worship of and service to God.
Just like Elisha, if we are going to be serious about following God’s leading to go in a different direction when it comes to our health, then we also, will have some implements from our current way of living that we must let go.
Here are a few examples to start your thinking about how this concept may apply to your specific situation:
Do you need to “let go” of your TV in your bedroom in order to avoid the temptation to stay up later than you should and not get enough sleep at night?
Do you need to “let go” of your social media account in order to make the time to invest time to grow a significant face to face relationship?
Do you need to “let go” of your favorite chips and cookies that you have stashed in the back of your pantry in order to avoid the temptation to snack rather than prepare a healthy meal?
Do you need to “let go” of your Starbucks rewards card in order to not consume calories when you are not hungry for the sake of earning a free latte? Please apply this one to almost any rewards card!
Note that Elisha also saw the need to “kiss my father and mother goodbye.” We don’t know the details or implications of this separation, but we do know that some degree of separation took place.
Is there any relationship or environment in your life from which you may need to seek some degree of God-honoring separation in order to follow God’s leading to improve your physical, mental or spiritual health?
I pray that all of us, myself most of all, would follow the example of Elisha.
May we “let go” of our implements or seek some degree of a God-honoring separation from relationships and environments that encourage us to maintain the current status quo and hinder us from being fully committed to following God as we are being led in a new and healthier direction. And may we, like Elisha, do that to the extent that it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to backtrack.
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About the author:
Hello! My name is Ginger Hill and I am a Christ follower and a wellness professional. Over the years, I have personally and professionally seen the benefits of healthy living and I have also seen the hardships of struggling to practice good health habits in the midst of a busy and sometimes stressful life. I am passionate about helping myself and others to live a healthy lifestyle and I believe that good health is essential in helping us to do the good works that God has called us to do. Because I am a work in progress, I write these blog posts to encourage myself and I share them with others in the hope that they may be encouraged as well.
Psalm 92:12,14 (NLT)
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