Updated: May 19
Below is an excerpt from Liz Lives by Elizabeth Soldahl
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit,… you are not your own? You are bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Our body is merely a ‘vehicle’ that has been given to us by God.
If a friend loaned you a brand-new car would you treat it with the utmost care? Would you drive it beyond its limit? Would you bang it around? Would you pour sugar, coca cola, or vodka into the gas tank?
When we don’t take good care of this wonderful vehicle called the body, a temple of God, in some sense we are disrespecting God and His great gift to us.
A wise counselor once mentioned, “We are all responsible for our own backyard as adults.”
I asked her what she meant by that, and she continued,
“We are responsible for our feelings, our choices, our emotions, and our decisions. We can decide what we think, we can decide what we eat and we can make decisions on how we take care of our temples spiritually and physically.”
I asked her about friends and families’ backyards, and she said,
“We are not responsible for anyone else’s backyard but our own.”
The following is a take home list of the responsibilities in our “own backyard.”
My Backyard List:
⦁ My spiritual life~ how much time and energy I focus on prayer, praise and studying God’s Word.
⦁ My feelings and how I react to things.
⦁ My thoughts and what I focus on.
⦁ My actions and choices and the words that come out of my mouth (remembering, life and death are in the power of the tongue). Do my words and actions match?
⦁ My attitudes – I can choose to see the cup as half full or half empty. I can choose joy!
⦁ How I handle my spouse, family and friend relationships. Do I pray with my spouse?
⦁ The boundaries in my backyard. Whether I build walls or fences. I can choose who I spend time with and who I listen to; including TV, media, books, and music.
⦁ The condition of my heart. Have I repented and accepted God’s forgiveness for my sins and have I forgiven others? If there are “toxic people”, I can forgive them without necessarily allowing them back into my backyard; yet letting go of bitterness.
⦁ The food I buy at the store for me and my family.
⦁ The food I prepare and eat.
⦁ The drinks that I choose to consume.
⦁ My literal “backyard”, body and home. What cleaning products, fertilizers, and personal body products do I choose to use?
⦁ The medicines and supplements I take.
⦁ My exercise routine.
⦁ The way I choose to spend my money.
⦁ How much time I rest and relax.
⦁ The way I spend my time
From the “backyard list” above, I have highlighted two of my favorites. One is on “Joy” and the other is on “Rest”.
The classic movie, Pollyanna, reminds us of how important it is to choose joy and gladness. Pollyanna is a ten-year-old girl who helps teach a town to choose gladness over bitterness. She taught her friends “the glad game” where she challenges them to take a negative situation and find the good instead. Then later in the movie she is talking with the pastor of the town and encourages him with these words:
“My father discovered the ‘Glad’ passages, you know, the happy ones like ‘shout for joy’ or ‘be glad in the Lord’. There are 800 Happy Texts…Daddy said if God took the trouble to tell us 800 times to be glad and rejoice, He must have wanted us to do it!”
In my own life it is a constant struggle. After my breast cancer diagnosis in 2014, I fell prey to great anxiety. Once when I met with my Christian counselor, Sue, for guidance this is what she told me:
“You have a choice, Elizabeth, to choose peace or choose fear during this breast cancer journey.”
I told her I wanted to choose peace but the fearful, anxious thoughts kept creeping into my mind. I asked Sue, “How do I choose peace?”
She said, “Just do it! It’s like that commercial, just do it. Just choose peace. Refuse to entertain the lies of satan. Speak the word of God. Say, ‘Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, I stand on the word of God.’ Say it out loud! The enemy can’t stand in the same room with Jesus, he will flee.”
Ahhh, rest. It seems to always be at the bottom of the list; yet we long for it and we need it. One time, to advertise a vacation property Eric and I managed, we used a message from Jesus, for weary visitors: “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) The place was booked.
The Lord reminds us to take some quiet time with Him. The twenty-third Psalm is one of my favorites. One time at a somber Church service on Ash Wednesday before Easter, the Pastor asked those who knew Psalms 23 by heart, to recite it together. It surprised me as the words rolled off my tongue: “He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me besides the still waters. He restores my soul...” This verse gives us all permission to take time and rest…in fact “He makes me to lie down…” It sounds like a command for our own good; like resting on the Sabbath, on Sundays.
When we rest our body has a chance to heal, mend and repair itself. With our busy schedules we need to be vigilant to carve out times to rest.
In our society today many of us do not get enough sleep at night. Studies have shown that getting enough sleep helps ward off disease, including cancer. I’m not saying this to scare you because I know we all probably lack enough sleep. However, we do need to make sleep a priority. Studies have also shown that a twenty-minute nap in the afternoon can be beneficial too.
As we age our bodies have less melatonin production for sleep. So my husband and I take a one milligram (smallest dose) of natural melatonin and one probiotic capsule (for the digestion) every night before bed. Other sleep pointers are:
⦁ Have a dark, quiet, cool bedroom to sleep in.
⦁ Keep the bedroom reserved for sleep and romance.
⦁ Oversleeping can cause problems too. Studies show that people who sleep too much have higher depression, obesity and diabetes.
⦁ Seven to nine hours is recommended, with 8 hours a night as a “sweet spot.”
⦁ Lavender oil on the skin or in a diffuser helps induce a feeling of peace, calm, and sleep. Try rubbing a little lavender oil mixed with coconut oil above your top lip and on the back of your neck before bed.
⦁ Remember to pray with your spouse, read scripture and maybe listen to a Christian song before bed. Did you know that couples that pray together daily have a 99% staying married rate, according to a Gallup Poll?
My Prayer: “Dear God, thank You for this miraculous self-healing body You gave me. Forgive me for sometimes abusing it with food, negative thoughts, and not enough rest and exercise. Starting today I will do better. Help me to stick with it, as my continued habits define my life. I want to please You God with my body. Thank You for helping me with all of this.”
Love, Your Grateful Daughter,
Your Prayer and Reflection: What can you do to better take care of your body?
Link to Liz Lives by Elizabeth Soldahl: