Learning about, creating and maintaining healthy habits such as praying often, eating well and moving more can transform our health, finances, relationships and general outlook on life. Moving into Holy Week, I help but notice how my new program, Pray. Eat. Move. Transforming YOU! embodies several aspects of the next several days. As we walk with Jesus this week, notice how he prays, eats, moves and is eventually transformed into something beyond our wildest dreams.
My program starts with praying often, as our #1 priority should be to pray. Connecting with God at all times keeps things in perspective and allows us to tap into everything he offers us. However, I’m starting with eating well as we explore Holy or Maunday Thursday. Jesus and the apostles gathered around the table, sharing the traditional Passover meal. Engaged in conversation and prayer with each other as well as the Father.
Jesus, never forgetting the Father, the importance of prayer and thanksgiving, thanks God for the food and asks God’s blessing on it. Especially the bread and wine, as he offers it to the apostles, telling them this is his very body and blood given freely for the forgiveness of sin. He then instructs them to continue to do this in his memory. Most Christians celebrate this as a shared meal within the community, called Communion (Holy Eucharist for Catholics)-a precious gift I gladly partake in at least once a week.
Jesus knew what was going to happen. Being both God and man, he used everything in his power to strengthen him for the task. He gathered his friends, asked God to bless the food, shared it and let it nourish him, bolstering him for the upcoming test.
Next he went into the Garden to pray, for spiritual nourishment. He took a few apostles with him, his closest friends to keep him company. He prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground (Lk 22:44). Even though he could’ve changed it all, asking God to take this task away from him, he surrendered to the Father’s will. He trusted the Father to help him, strengthen him during his suffering. We all suffer. That is part of the Earthly experience. However, praying can lead us to a path of peace & joy if we allow God’s peace, love & strength to permeate us during our struggles.
On Good Friday, we walk with Jesus on the Way to the Cross. Talk about movement! Carrying a heavy log up a hill, through crowds both jeering at him and weeping for him. Confusion, frustration that Jesus was believed to put an end to all suffering. And here he was, beaten, mocked, stumbling to this horrific death. Why on earth would he allow such a thing? Out of love. Love for the Father, love for all of us–whether we believe it or not.
Now I’m not saying you should move your body to this extent or this extreme. No one should! I do feel you should look at ‘exercise’ in a different light. Out of love for your body. Yes, larger chunks of time are great to get your blood pumping, but remembering to move several times throughout the day is also key. Use those larger muscles, even standing more than sitting all day helps immensely. (Hence the popularity of standing desks.) I try to move in a variety of ways, depending on what my body needs (and what needs to be done around the house & acreage). But I do make an effort to move somehow some way every day-my body rewards me with more energy to serve others when I do.
After Jesus’ body was laid to rest, everyone rested. The Sabbath. At the end of a long day (and week) we need to rest. Jesus prayed often throughout this whole time, ate well, and moved his body out of love. We all know the end of the story. In the end, he was transformed–he actually came back from the dead! In doing do, opened heaven up for everyone. Showing us God’s true love for us, that God wants to be with us, wants to share our lives, show us a better way, lead us into transformation.
Lucky for us, God does not call us to actual physical death before we can experience transformation in our own lives. But in order to experience better health we are called to die to habits that don’t serve us well and bring to life others that move us closer to God and others, such as praying often, eating well and moving more. Sometimes the change can be difficult, confusing, frustrating and downright messy. But the outcome –grace, joy and transformation into the active, productive life you desire and deserve–priceless.
How about you? How are you going to walk with Jesus this week as he prays, eats and moves? Let me know in the comments.
In the next week or two, I’ll be launching the Pray. Eat. Move. 7 Day Challenge. In it you’ll find (among many other things to help you pray often, eat well and move more!) a different way to move your body every day. Are you struggling to incorporate ways to move your body on a consistent basis? Would you like an accountability partner to help you create and maintain healthy prayer, eating and movement habits that work for you? I have a few coaching spots open. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free 20 minute discovery call to see if coaching is right for you.