“My eyes hath seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” You’ve heard the Battle Hymn of the Republic by author and abolitionist Julia Ward Howe, right? But have you ever given much thought to the meaning of the lyrics? To me, this first line conveys having an inward sight of an impending victory so bright that it lights up the eyes and sparks immense joy. The lyric exemplifies how I feel about living again – like a shining light with a pain-free testimony. And,
When I’m lit, I want others lit, too.
Now, there was a time when others being lit did not bring me much joy. It wasn’t like I didn’t care about other people; I was just much more concerned about me. And if you’re honest, you’ve felt that way, too.
Ask yourself: do babies have to practice selfishness? Absolutely not, it’s inherent. We all come to this earth thinking “me, me, me” and “that’s mine.” Therefore we all should “grow-up” into behaving selflessly because the benefits to our bodies are incredible! In contrast, the workings of our selfish habits wreak havoc on our bodies.
Allow me to demonstrate.
Before I saw the proverbial light, some of my bad habits were…
Socially drinking mind-altering liquids. Yes, I gulped like a fish in college. Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug. To fit in? Perhaps. Because I could? Most definitely. I couldn’t wait to be free. Until something terrible happened to me that I’ll share at another time. After that event, I stopped drinking for a while but picked it up again whenever I started feeling insecure. Sipping allowed me to escape into another world and take my mind off of the issues of life. But it never fully worked – for me.
Eating-on-the-fly and avoiding water at all cost. I was/am naturally slim so I didn’t think about what or how I ate food or that I preferred myself some sweet tea y’all, on the regular. As for exercise, I danced and did Pilates, even on an empty stomach. I was way too busy to sit down and eat. And, like most self-centered people I was body conscious but not particularly health conscious.
Crying for no good reason. I used to love to cry. I was my own chick-flick with the film airing in heavy rotation on a weekly basis. If I couldn’t cry about it, I felt no emotional attachment to it. “It” being anything. Depression was a nice term for what I had. What is so whack, is the fact that I actually had a nice life. Not perfect but a respectable life, a home, with a great family and friends. But I also had an overwhelming desire for more. So I cried. A lot.
Things don’t make us happy. Light does.
My bad habits were all about me and what I was feeling. The results of which, overtime, negatively affected my spirit, mind and body until what I thought was a bad situation got extremely worse. Have you been there?
The old adage is true, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
Now that was my story.
But did you know that if you are a caregiver and you’re doing any of the above to cope in life, you make look like a saint on the outside but you’re actually practicing a selfish habit that could have terrible consequences?
Research states that 63% of caregivers have poor eating habits, 58% have poorer exercise habits than before caregiving, and most will skip their own doctor’s appointments with 72% not going at all.1
Caregivers are also known to feel isolated which is serious business, especially if you are older. “According to a study published last year in Perspectives on Psychological Science, the health effects of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.” 2
Life is too short to waste time practicing bad habits.
We have to exchange them for healthy ones. And yes, I agree. It’s easier said than done. So I challenge you to get help, especially if you’re a caregiver.
One way is through the Holy Spirit – the Power given to us through Jesus to not live by the flesh (selfish desires). Finding a Bible-based church where the truth- with-love is taught is a must. Do you have such a church home?
Next, commit to good nutrition, proper hydration and proper rest. To help me get what I was lacking, I started eating all the time! I increased my intake of plant-based foods and limited gluten and white (except sourdough) bread, meat, fried, sugary and processed foods.
Hear me clearly. I did not stop eating foods that I enjoy. I just limited the ones that are hard to digest.
I also drink about 8 glasses of water daily. I also started drinking my multivitamins. If you’re body has been stressed by sickness and disease, you need replenishment and these helped me. It was also wise to take Calcium to build up my bones. Then I progressed to Multi Collagen Protein for a variety of health reasons including my hair and nails – which were damaged as a result of sickness. My immune system was wacky, too, so I take a swallow of ACF. And if you read my pain-free testimony, you already know I take a B-complex supplement daily. These are all new healthy habits.
Although, I’m still not where I want to be, I’m thankful to not be where I was. I can do more in a day now and I sleep much better at night.
Finally, laugh at yourself. Stop taking “you” so seriously. We get it. Your life is tough. But inside, you need to know that you’re tougher. Cry and vent for a few seconds if you must, and then, find someone to help.
“Sow an action, you reap a habit; sow a habit, you reap a character; sow a character, you reap a destiny.”Frances E. Willard
Pruning away old selfish habits and cultivating new selfless ones for the people you love and who love you back will make your life better. I’m a living witness. And so are the people who have commented that I should keep doing whatever I’m doing. (Thanks, guys!!! You’re the reason I’m sharing this message.)
May this message light up your life and nurture your body and soul. Really,
- The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; he who guards his way preserves his life. Prov 16:17
- The light in the eyes (of him whose heart is joyful) rejoices the hearts of others and good news nourishes the bones. Prov 15:30
- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal 5:22-23
- 1Evercare Study of Caregivers in Decline: A Close-Up Look at Health Risks of Caring for a Loved One. National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare. 2006.
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