Don’t Forget to Live, Too
When I was a kid, my parents built a house up in the Rocky Mountains on a hill of granite. I do not know about you, but what seems the perfect recipe for a dusty and dirty house is a hobby farm full of animals and four children constantly running in and out of the doors. It would have made perfect sense if our house was always a little dusty and a little dirty. The interesting thing is, I cannot remember our house ever being dirty. My parents liked having a clean house and every day they would sweep and vacuum, instruct us to take our shoes off, clean the dogs before they came in, and designate various household cleaning chores to us on the weekend. Living in a clean house was nice. But it was a lot of work – especially for my mom. Over the years, us kids grew up and became teenagers and young adults, we moved, we had a bigger house, my mom started working outside the home and going back to school– and cleaning the house became less of a priority.
My mom shared some wise words of a family friend with me – her friend told her that it was okay that she didn’t clean the house as often and that it was a little more “lived in” because the “house was there to serve my mom, not for my mom to serve the house.” Now, my mom still keeps the house clean, but she is not living to keep her house clean. Instead, she allows the house to serve her while being a good steward of it. So often we can get caught up in the motion of things we often forget the why. We keep immaculate houses, prioritize clean cars, lose sleep over the next job promotion, and obsess over being fit. And in the process, we can forget the reason why we started doing the things we do in the first place.
I have found that this can easily happen on a health journey; we become more focused on serving health, than health being there to serve us. We pursue health because it enables us to live our best lives, love those around us, and serve those we are called to serve. We like to call this our big why. The “big why” is the reason why we chose and continue to choose to do something and prioritize it. For example, I really love doughnuts. I love getting a doughnut from time to time on a special occasion – but I choose not to get them very often because it does not align with my life and what I want for it. I want to be healthy – for myself, for my family, my future children, and my community. And eating a doughnut every day does not align with my health goals. But from time to time, I forget my, we shall call it a little why, and become obsessed with eating healthy because I feel like “I should,” “I must,” or I failed myself if I did not. The reality is, most days it is serving your health and thereby serving you to eat a nutritious breakfast rather than a doughnut – but sometimes, it serves your emotional and mental health more to enjoy having a doughnut, or a piece of cake for a special occasion, or a bowl of ice cream.
Now, by no means am I suggesting you give up on eating healthy or any of the other essentials we teach in our office– only that you look at your decisions and see why you make those choices and if they are serving your goals and ability to love and serve those around you. Here are a few ways to evaluate health decisions and help you discern if those decisions align with who you are and your goals.
- Is this serving me and those around me?
- Is this giving me life and energy?
- Is this draining me and taking away from my goals?
I whole heartedly believe in our office and the 5 essentials – I think everyone should get adjusted frequently, eat whole nutritious food, move and exercise, grow a beautiful mindset, and reduce toxins. It takes wisdom and discernment to understand how to apply these concepts to you and your family’s lives. For instance, if you can never enjoy a piece of cake at a birthday party because you are so worried about it affecting your health, I challenge you to step back and ask yourself if you are able to enjoy those moments and have a healthy mindset surrounding special events. After all, anxiety about not doing well enough can be just as detrimental to your health. But if you really do not like how you feel after eating a piece of cake or know if does not align with your health goals, then never eating another piece of cake might be the best decision.
I want to encourage you – pursue health. But let health serve you. Make choices that are sustainable long term for your body, mind, and soul and adapt; as one season shifts into another, look forward with grace on yourself and with a desire to grow. As my mom’s friend said about the house “The house is not there to be served, it is there to serve you,” so is true about health, “Health is not there to be served, it is there to serve you.” Live healthy, but do not forget to live, too.