These last two weeks have turned out to be so fabulous! I have been learning and pondering and reading, trying to make the best of this otherwise depressing situation (I am now functioning to almost my normal level of activity).
However, these weeks have also been grueling as in my pondering and studies, I have learned weakness-revealing lessons. Elder Christofferson has said, "Divine chastening has at least three purposes: (1) to persuade us to
repent, (2) to refine and sanctify us, and (3) at times to redirect our
course in life to what God knows is a better path (CR April 2011)." I think I've been receiving a bit of the #1 & #2 types of chastening, which ironically is leading to #3 as well.
I already mentioned last week about "feeling compelled" to change my diet. For those curious, I'm basically looking into delving into a more anti-inflammatory diet and a diet/lifestyle change to boost my immune system.
This week's inspiration has been primarily with my exercise habits. I'm not anti-exercise, I just haven't made time for it in my full life. I have shied away from gyms because I can't think of anything less appealing than being in a windowless room full of sweaty people. Sorry, not my thing. For me, hiking, walking and Yoga are my exercises of choice. But with all of those I have never been very consistent. Plus, with back problems, I have limited myself where exercise is concerned because of it would hurt my back.
This week I have been going to physical therapy with amazing results! I love it! Basically, I am learning how to strengthen my core in a way that doesn't hurt my back. Yay! On top of the exercises they are also working with some other inflammatory decreasing therapy methods. Very relaxing and making a huge difference in my pain level.
Most importantly, though, I am realizing just how much the body plays a role in our spiritual lives. I don't know if I mentioned it here, but when I go on to get my master's degree I've decided I want to study pseudo neuroimmunology - that is, the study of how the body, mind and spirit all work together. I guess you could say I am getting some field study on just that very topic!
Looking back on this past year I realize I have been putting so much energy into my spiritual growth to the point where I thought if I took care of that my body would just follow suite. Well, that obviously hasn't been the case. What is true is that if I am to perform the purposes for being in this world at this time, I need to recognize that my body is essential for serving in His kingdom.
In Mosiah we find a list of all the things we must be doing to serve: not suffer your children to go hungry, succor those who stand in need of succor, administer your substance to those in need, share your riches, deny not the beggar, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, administer to the sick "both spiritually and temporally (Mosiah 4:14-26)." And then King Benjamin states, "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength (v. 27)."
Of this scripture President Eyring remarks, "That counsel can be hard to apply when the choice seems to be balancing a desire to do all you can to help others with the wisdom to be prudent in meeting your own needs to retain your power to serve (CR Oct. 2012, emphasis added)."
We mothers are very self-sacrificing, almost to a fault. Sometimes we use our caretaking as an excuse to not do the things we know we must be doing. Sometimes we blame and resent this role, leaving us to feel we just can't take care of ourselves. Sometime we feel selfish taking care of our bodies. Sometimes we think we're above reproach and do not need to obey the commandment to take care of that which we've been allotted. Still, most mothers are very good-intentioned in their service and truly sacrifice their needs and wants for the love they have for their children. These are very good things, but we need to heed
President Uchtdorf's counsel and guage whether it be a good
sacrifice or a bad sacrifice (CR Oct. 2011).
I have used all of these reasons (justifications) for not taking care of this precious body, a gift from my Father in Heaven, and for that I have had a couple of really difficult challenges regarding my health. I want to be around and functioning 10, 20, 30 years from now. I want to be an active mother and grandmother in my children's lives. I'm realizing now that there are greater things I must be sacrificing in order to make those dreams come to fruition.
So, yeah, the body, the mind and the spirit all work together for our good. Each must be looked after "in wisdom and order." At education week I was taught to look in the mirror each morning and really take a look at yourself. Look to see how you're really doing with each of these three elements that make up your soul. It would have been so much easier had I taken these thoughts into consideration 13 years ago. And yet, the Lord knew this was the lesson I needed to learn, when I needed to learn it! For that I am grateful for His patience and mercy on my account.