We live in a topsy-turvy, fast-paced world. It’s easy in the rush of crammed, hectic schedules to neglect life’s most important priorities. There is more to life than increasing its speed.[i] Our lives can easily become so busy…but oh, so barren. God has a special four-part “peace plan” to guide, strengthen, and inspire you with hope and energy. Let’s explore these vital elements of stress protection, physical and mental health, and spiritual vitality. Daily applying these four principles will help you flourish instead of flounder as you face life’s challenges and demands.
1. A Lifestyle that Promotes Peace. Lifestyle is a major factor that affects mental, physical, social, and spiritual health. Lifestyle choices matter, especially the ones we repeat every day. They have a profound affect on brain function, which is the seat of your thinking, emotions, and decisions. “Many of the fundamental tools for the care and feeding of the brain are everyday matters. Physical and mental exercise, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep will help anyone gain cognitive clarity and emotional stability.”[ii] Power up your lunch and supper with crunchy, colorful fresh vegetable salads, greens, and beans. Try healthy vegetarian entrees instead of fatty meats and fried food. You won’t crave snacks with this delicious, high-fiber fare. Want real brain energy and body vigor? Water is the beverage of choice between meals instead of soda and coffee!
2. Attitudes that Produce Peace. Your mind, brain, and body are in constant communication through may different systems. Your thoughts and attitudes have a powerful effect on the rest of your body, especially your immune, nervous, and digestive systems. We can literally think ourselves into a frenzy, but God promises His peace, “perfect peace” to the one whose mind is centered upon Him. Isaiah 26:3. He invites us to trust Him with every circumstance of our life. A thankful attitude is associated with better physical and mental health, and even a longer life. “A contented mind, a cheerful spirit, is health to the body and strength to the soul.”[iii] This is an attitudinal discipline that focuses on God’s truth and solutions rather than fear, circumstances, and unreliable emotions.
3. Spiritual Principles that Secure Peace. “Spiritual well-being is at the center of a healthy lifestyle.”[iv] To meet our deepest longings, God has provided spiritual principles that bring true life satisfaction. This does not come with wealth, fame, popularity, or even perfect health. It comes through making peace with God—in entering into a saving relationship with Him. Studies confirm that “Religious commitment may play a beneficial role in preventing mental and physical illness, improving how people cope with mental and physical illness, and facilitating recovery.”[v] Our natural hearts are not drawn to God, but we need Him. We are drawn to God because of our need—and God’s healing love which draws us. “We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19. God’s love is the foundation of a relationship with Him and healthy relationships with each other. We connect with God through prayer and learning about Him in His life-giving Word, the Bible. “In the day of my trouble I will call upon you, for You will answer me.” Psalm 86:7.
4. Faith that Preserves Peace. Faith is more than positive thinking—it is connecting with the living God who seeks to restore all that sin has broken and taken away. Jesus never promised an absence of problems. Jesus said: “These things I have told you, that in Me you might have peace. In the World you will have trouble, but take courage! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Faith is the conviction that God will guide you and give you power through both good times and bad. Faith says, “Either make the problem smaller, or me bigger! God has a plan and He cares for you in a very personal way. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, purposes of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11.
God’s Peace Plan can be Yours. Hulda Crooks experienced God’s peace plan in her lifestyle, attitude, trust in God, and faith. She was a sickly, sedentary, overweight woman for many years. She became a vegetarian, which improved her mental and physical health. But when she experienced the loss of her husband and son, she fell into depression. Hulda began walking which not only relieved her depression—it also eliminated more of her physical maladies, including constant fatigue.
Conquering Life’s Mountains. Hulda also began practicing a positive, faith-based attitude that gave her the “altitude” to stay inspired and be an inspiration to others! From aged 63 to well into her 90s, she completed 23 Mt. Whitney climbs, backpacked 212 miles of the John Muir Trail, climbed 86 Southern California peaks, and held 8 world records for seniors over the age of 80. This spunky late-bloomer caught and taught inspiration as a motivational speaker, and was affectionately known as “Grandma Whitney.” A mountain peak of Whitney is named “Crooks Peak” in her honor. God’s peace plan was fulfilled in Hulda’s life—and it can be fulfilled in yours too! Would you like to experience the fullness of Gods power, promise, and plan for your life? His peace plan is for you!
[ii] Ratey, J. User’s Guide to the Brain, p. 356. Vintage Books, 2002.
[iii] White, E. Counsels on Health, p. 344. Pacific Press, 1949.
[iv] Am J Crit Care 1995;4(1):77-81.
[v] Arch Fam Med 1998;7(2):118-24.
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