Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Pursuit of Health

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Today I'm asking a question that I have been asking myself for awhile now. Does our moral obligation to be stewards of our bodies require that we constantly pursue health?

A sick person wants to get well. It is normal for us to track down the causes of our illnesses, and then do whatever is necessary to cure what ails us. It might be an antibiotic, chicken soup, a spine adjustment, exercise, or just some rest. We see a doctor, a chiropractor, a nutritionist, or an allergist. We read articles and ask friends. Once we are well again, we go about life until the next time we get sick.

But for a chronically-ill person, achieving wellness becomes a much more complicated task, which can sometimes seem impossible. Often doctors can't get us to the level of health we need or want. Sometimes they can't even tell us what's wrong. So then we choose...either we just live with whatever is wrong, or we continue to seek answers from other sources. Is one of these choices more Godly than the other?

Start doing some research and you find that there are so many things that can wreak havoc with your health. Vit D deficiency, iodine deficiency, fluoride and chlorine in the water, bromates in food and the environment, artificial sweeteners, mercury, MSG, GMOs, aluminum cook ware, microwave use, plastic bottles, chemicals in shampoo, pesticides in our foods, exposure to mold. We can try curing ourselves with elimination diets, acupuncture, colon cleansing, spirulina, raw milk, juicing, making our own detergents, buying organic produce, giving up sugar, getting more sun, avoiding hot showers, taking supplements. Seriously, this list doesn't even touch the surface of all the things that could be culprits or cures for feeling yuck. It's absolutely overwhelming... Where do I start? But, even more importantly, when do I stop? At what point does the pursuit of health replace the pursuit of God? I've had this discussion with some friends recently and I have some ideas, but I'd love to hear what everyone has to say. Post your comments!!

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4 comments:

  1. No idea but let me know when you figure it out :)

    Laura

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  2. At the very least we have an obligation not to ignore the signs that we may be doing the wrong things to our bodies. I don't believe the pursuit of health to be necessarily independent of the pursuit or God nor do I believe that one must be healthy or live healthy to be In pursuit of God. Much in the same way we surround ourselves with a church, temple, nature, etc in order to put ourselves in a better position to be enlightened, I believe that surrounding ourselves with the healthiest body possible puts us in a better position as well. To your issue of "where to stop", life is all about balance....even the pursuit of balance. Overdoing it leads to the opposite of what you are searching for.

    -Russell

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  3. The pursuit of God never stops until you meet him in the end. The pursuit of health can stop at any point. Think what is more important (as to health) is the pursuit of wellness. Like those that suffer from cancer that has mets everywhere sometimes you just cant focus on health but wellness. Sometimes you just need to focus on what makes you happy. For someone not terminally ill (aka not going to die soon) I think that focusing on health is very important to wellness. To keep yourself at its healthiest eating right, mentally right, physically right, etc is all very important.

    For me health is very important. I have two small children and to be there for many years happy and healthy are super important. I dont intend to stop any time soon pursing optimal health.

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  4. Thanks for the comments.

    Russell - I like what you said about overdoing it leading to the opposite of what you are searching for. I've felt like that a lot. That in my quest to find the "answer" and a "cure" I have often made myself stressed and emotionally exhausted. It was nice for me to take a break and just live in my illness for awhile, trusting God to hold me up. Doing that, I found peace I hadn't had for awhile.

    Ivy- It's good to distinguish between health and wellness. I think chronically-ill people can live well, and should try to live as well as they can. As long as that search for health and wellness does not neglect their spiritual life.

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I love your comments!