Ooh boy! I’ve never had a blog post as stubborn as this one.
I have two disclaimers before I begin:
#1. Please do not read this in light of my recent clear scan, and think, “Oh, now that Jean’s healed she can rant all she wants.” No, no… Most of this was on my mind for a long time now and a lot of it was at least formulated in some way awhile ago. Besides, my scan showed clear, but that doesn’t mean I’m completely healed now and forever. My mind is still bombarded with health issues.
#2. The struggle of this post revealed more to me about myself than anything else. Depressing. If you come across something that steps on your toes, believe me that it probably stepped on mine first.
I am not writing this to tell you that I’ve discovered the answer to what you should or should not eat, what kind and how much exercise is right for you, or how often you should trim your toenails. There are plenty of articles to read on that…too many in fact.
In a nutshell… I have been appalled at the fear and anxiety I feel whenever someone starts talking to me about health products or whenever I read an article on health.
And I started asking myself ‘Why?’ If these are good things and things that help people why do I nearly ALWAYS come away from an article/discussion/you-name-it, feeling discouraged? Why do I find so much anxiety and fear in supplement research?
And along with these personal inquiries I started asking general ‘why’ questions. Why are people so consumed with their health? Why is everyone convinced that what THEY do for nutrition or what THEY take for supplements is the best way out there? And how can they be so sure that what they take is helping them when there are so many more factors that affect well-being than simply what we put into our mouths?
Along with this there came more questions about life and God. If God created our bodies so complex that only He has the capacity to completely figure us out, then why do I act as if it’s my sole responsibility to figure out how to live healthily? Why do I panic when I hear of another product? Why do I feel I have to research it until I’m convinced it’s not something I need to take–or something I do need to take?
I have thought and thought on this subject until my brain is fried.
I have concluded two things. The first being the most profound. It took me a good long while to see this.
#1. I’m an idolator. And I hear you gasping! Such a strong word. Yes! A strong word for a strong case of misplaced loyalty and trust. My health has been an idol.
And I have not yet dethroned it.
I’ve noticed that I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to preserve my body at all costs. My cynicism over ‘potions’ and health products seems to deny that fact. But my anxiety tells me something different. I honestly cannot hear about a health product without immediately evaluating whether it’s something I ought to be taking. And I honestly cannot hear about a health product without becoming frustrated and inevitably going on a rant to Josh.
I did that again recently. I had determined not to talk badly about an older gentleman who wanted to talk to me about vitamin D in the produce aisle at the grocery store. But I came home and worked myself into a frenzy, saying how ‘ticked off’ I was. Josh is a good man. He just calmly asked me why I still get so upset at these things if I don’t believe in them or care about them. Hmmm… “Well, Honey, I guess it’s because I …I do care about them??” WHAT?
This morning I sat over my bowl of oatmeal and frozen berries and pondered who I really am. Why do I eat healthily and then get mad at those who talk about what they do for health? Is an idolator prone to jealousy? Why else would I get boiling mad and rant and rave when I think someone else has found something that ‘works’ for them. I’ve subconsciously believed the lie that if I don’t find that ‘something’ for me, I’m sunk.
#2. Something is fundamentally wrong in the way we talk about health products and healing. I feel this from broader culture as well as Mennonite culture. Coming through our discussions I hear philosophies like, “If I could just find that potion, I’d heal myself.” Or, “If I just knew what caused my cancer, I could avoid it next time.” We act and talk as if we have the power to heal ourselves and keep ourselves healed. Where is Jesus?
Healing is a redemptive and direct act of our Creator completely defying the natural trend of our broken world. We give God way too little credit!
I’ve often heard people talk about health products (friend and stranger alike) but very rarely do I hear Jesus brought up in the same discussion. This does bother me! Not that I’m advocating discussions that always talk about Jesus and brown rice in the same breath. What I do advocate though is that we approach these ideas with the underlying belief that Jesus is our Sustainer and Healer. That if He’s big enough to create us, He big enough to sustain us.
It’s not a matter of finding the perfect balance between taking care of ourselves and trusting God. It’s discovering how to make our trust in God the fundamental motivation for the care of our bodies.
I haven’t attained…
And now I come to what I really wanted to say all along:
If you struggle with fear and anxiety over these things, I just want to ask you one thing:
What does it mean to believe in God as your Sustainer, not just your Creator?
I will tell you what has helped me the most in all this anxiety and fear.
It has been to remind myself over and over that I am not going to die until I’ve accomplished the purposes God has for me here on this earth. Period!
It’s also remembering and reminding myself that God is my Creator and that as that He is the only one who completely understands how my body functions and what it needs. This relieves me of always having to be figuring out what I need to be doing.
Is this too simplistic?
If we really and honestly believe that God created us and that He has purposes for us in His kingdom here and now, then why do we work ourselves into a frenzy trying to find out exactly how to preserve our bodies so that we can accomplish those purposes? He’ll bring them about Himself, hands down!
This is an ongoing discussion for me. I invite your comments and thoughts. I’m certainly not done learning and growing on this subject.