This post has been a long time coming because it’s been a long time in the making. It’s the trials in life that always grow us the most. I began the year with bright eyes and determination. Don’t we all? It’s January…it’s fresh, everything’s new, the world is yours for the taking. February holds promise, then March comes and the newness begins to wear off. I felt the battles increasing against every positive thing I set my mind to — my health and business two of the main targets. The thing is my business ties directly to my wellness…if I’m not functioning properly it’s not going to be functioning properly.
I take my job very seriously, with so many important dates on my calendar, making sure every one of my clients and friends feel taken care of. Toward the end of February I caught a bug causing me to cough, sneeze and fight off a nasty sore throat. I overcame the runny noses but that horrible cough and the swollen lymph nodes seemed to persist. My cough lasted a good 2 and a half months, all the way into May. You could find me buried beneath the mounds of cherry cough drop wrappers piling up. What got me through were the visions God has given me for the future, praying and praising through and thankfully, even those little Halls wrappers delivered messages of hope (I kept them in my journal) Some of those messages saying —
“You got it in you!”
“Tough is your middle name!”
“Take charge and mean it!"
“Let’s hear your battle cry!"
(That last one is my favorite. I may even have that printed and mounted in a picture frame above my desk). It might sound silly, but those were the very thoughts I needed to place in my mind to keep me from slinking into self pity or a “damsel in distress” mantra. I had been training my body since mid February to run towards the battle, not from it. God placed it on my heart to do a 7 day walk around my neighborhood, the same path and commit to it. Little did I know those small steps of obedience would lead me to desiring to run that whole next month, and run hard. One of those days I conquered 5.15 miles (that was a new record). It was one of those "All In" moments and I wanted to power through to show I meant business despite the punches being thrown at me. When March came, and my body weakened, my spirit was strengthened because of those exercises I had set my mind to. God foresaw my frailties and knew what it would take to push me past my limit and promote me to the next level of exertion.
Fast forward to April, my cough still nagging, I decided it was time to see a doctor. Walking out with an allergy prescription and a, “It’s just that sort of season” diagnosis didn’t quite help. It was still this elusive mystery that had no resolution. The allergy meds did nothing but wear me down more. The nasal spray actually worsened my symptoms. I resigned to this being a trial to mentally prepare me for whatever lies ahead. If I can endure shooting weddings with a miserable head cold, I could conquer things more strenuous in the future, right? If that wasn’t enough, mid April I began breaking out in hives, all up and down my body, arms, legs and only for certain periods of time (and it's lasted a month or so). There was no rhyme or reason to it. I changed laundry detergents, deep cleaned the apartment I’m in, cut out certain food, bought every topical remedy known to man yet nothing relieved the agonizing itch. That last sentence is key… "every remedy known to man”. Man’s logic is find the solution, to cure it and then move on. But I wanted to defeat this giant, once and for all.
When nothing seemed to add up, I started to ask the Lord, “Is there something going on with my inner being that needs healing as well? Why are You allowing this?” It was when I tied that third element into this — mind, body AND soul — I felt inspired and like I was finally getting somewhere. Along with the advice of my physician who recommended I begin with implementing a temporary vegan diet — cutting out all dairy and all meat to regain my body’s balance — I began to see change. I have this new charge and challenge to keep my body strong which in turn, keeps my mind strong as well. There’s a mindfulness now to how I intake my food. Instead of just reading my bible daily, I chose not to rush through it but rather meditate on it and let it fully absorb deep into my bones. I read this Proverb today,
“For a servant, mere words are not enough — discipline is needed.
For the words may be understood, but they are not heeded.” (Proverbs 29:19).
Herein lies my answer, I can see all the ailments and things which seemed stacked against me, as flags flying to get my attention — to take heed and apply the things I’ve learned. It’s like grade school. God doesn’t promote us into the next grade, which brings about new methods of learning, new disciplines and new subject matter if we flunk the tests from material previously taught. If I can handle these disciplines and pass these tests, I will be ready to take on the next challenges with renewed inner strength. And with my body functioning properly, my mind excels and my business flourishes. I’m able to distribute love and joy more frequently and genuinely. My mind isn’t stuck on me and how I’m feeling. If I’m feeling great, I can focus on others and their needs and look back on my experience and help them overcome the more tedious seasons which we face in life.
I also wanted to pass along 10 things which I keep going back to, to help YOU succeed —
Body, Mind, Soul, and Business (or work, or school or family or ministry...) —
- Keep your spirit high! Be in the Word of God! Worship! (I've been loving Say The Word by Hillsong United).
- Drink lots and lots of water! Fill a reusable bottle up!
- Eat more greens (or take green supplements).
- Sleep well.
- Stay connected — Be around your people and when you can't, FaceTime them. It is soul prospering!
- Stay off sugar — (or just choose healthier options because let’s be real — dessert just makes us happy! Coconut Bliss Ice Cream is delicious and made from coconut milk vs. regular milk high in sugar)
- Go outside and breathe! Take in that oxygen — trees and ocean air.
- Find something to spark your creativity! Coffee shop, library or just walk around the block!
- Get your heart rate up! Go for a run, do some jumping jacks or just dance around the house.
- Laugh a lot! Life gets intense.
"I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will give you mighty inner strength through His Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand how wide, how long, how high, how deep His love really is."
Be well, my friend! :)