Blog – “Pulse Check”

Pulse Check (Blog)

WELCOME TO PULSE CHECK

Welcome to the PULSE CHECK family! We hope you enjoy our posts.  Just as an athlete checks their “pulse” to monitor their physical performance, we should routinely do a “pulse check” on our mental  or emotional condition. Hopefully, our blogs or Pulse Checks will help you to evaluate your life; prodding you to make small course corrections as needed or to feel encouraged that you are on the right path!

Dream of the Ironman

Competing in the Ironman Triathlon has always been a dream of mine. It’s the premiere event for endurance athletes that takes place in Kona, Hawaii. Remember, I said that I dreamed of “competing”, not winning the event; however, every athlete who qualifies, participates and finishes the race is a winner! It’s a grueling 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, and topped off with a 26.2 mile marathon run. You are fighting against heat, humidity, trade winds and complete exhaustion. The official winners are professional tri-athletes who devote their lives to training; the rest are amateurs who are in it for the satisfaction that comes from achieving a lifelong dream.
My body has long since passed the point of realistically being able to take on such a massive challenge; however that does not release me from the spiritual responsibility of maintaining a healthy body. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 we find the warning that our bodies are “a temple of the Holy Spirit”, that we “are not our own” and that our response to God’s ownership of our life should be to “glorify God in our body”. In 2 Timothy 4:7 Paul near the end of his life writes “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” My “Dream of the Ironman” does not have to die; it just needs to be refocused to a more important goal. Although I am not a physical trainer, I want to share with you some thoughts that have helped me get a better grip on “glorifying God” with my body.

 

PHYSICAL HEALTH

 

Stop living at a frantic pace. According to the National Institutes of Health “long-term stress can increase the risk of depression, heart disease, and a variety of other problems.” In Psalms 46:10 we are instructed to “Be still and know that I am God.” We can manage our health just by “being still” and reflecting on “God”.

Think about your health. When was the last time you sat down (or got up and walked) just to think about your health. I assure you that it is better to do it now while you are “healthy” rather than to be sitting in a doctor’s office or even worse in an emergency room someday listening to a physician giving you “orders” to change your ways or else…
 
Reduce your intake. We are constantly bombarded by requests to “super-size” our menu choices or are presented with a plate of food big enough for two people. I have found that by reducing my portion size and quitting before I am full is really helping me to lose weight. Consistency in this area allows us to enjoy ourselves at a celebration.

Eat healthy. In conjunction with “reducing our intake” we need to make healthier choices in what we eat. This is really tough for me when certain foods are available. By eliminating unhealthy choices from the house I increase my chances of success. I have found that by not “dieting” (eating only rabbit food or some other weird fad) I can control urges to binge on the “unhealthy” delicacies. Healthy eating must be a lifestyle.

Track your progress. The “melancholy” part of my personality type would go overboard on this area if I let it; however the need is still there to have some sort of accountability or record of your progress. Try to limit yourself to recording some “type” of measurement only once a week. Your goal is to be healthy not crazy! For instance, you can create a lot of stress by weighing yourself ever day. Make a plan and keep it simple.

Change your lifestyle. This is the part where everyone tells you to “check with your doctor” before you start any type of exercise program; which is actually good advice so you don’t attempt anything that will “hurt more than help”. My main objective is to move more to help my heart and reduce my weight so that I feel better. You can park farther away, use the stairs or take brisk walks every day. There are hundreds of activities more beneficial than sitting in the recliner watching television. When all of these small changes are added together you will be able to really enjoy the last tip.

Have fun. Honoring God by making healthier choices isn’t a “life sentence” to take all the fun out of life. It’s actually a way to enjoy life more. When we are healthy we feel better, look better and can enjoy more of God’s creation because we are able to experience it through activities we never even dreamed of doing before.

 

CENTERING ON REAL-LIFE EFFECTIVENESS

 

My “Dream of the Ironman” is still alive; but my focus has changed from the Ironman Triathlon of Hawaii to being the “Ironman” that God wants me to be, physically and spiritually. Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” This week I would encourage you to “STRETCH” yourself. Consider each point and “check your pulse”. How are you doing? Celebrate your strengths, evaluate your weaknesses and make plans to be an IRONMAN or IRONWOMAN for God!

 

Del Brixey
“Ironman in Training”

Caught By Surprise

The weather report said that there was a small chance of thunderstorms, but the forecasters are rarely accurate in their predictions.  So I was caught by surprise when I was awakened by the gentle rain dripping off the roof onto the deck outside my bedroom. The fresh aroma of pine floating on the breeze was refreshing until my mind suddenly switched gears from the sublime to the urgent. What did I forget to cover up outside? Are the windows by the computer left open? Did I leave the freshly washed car in the driveway or is it in the garage? My momentary bliss was interrupted by what I had failed to prepare for. The warnings were there, the opportunity to take action was available, but I “chose” to ignore the signs while spending my time on other things.
We all have areas in our lives where we are susceptible to being “caught by surprise”; areas, in which we have heard the “warnings”, had the “opportunity” to take action and have “chosen” to spend our time doing other things.  Take a moment and jot down some areas of your life that fit this pattern. Keep this list where you won’t lose it, because you will want to refer to it from time to time to “check your pulse””

Over the next several weeks, we will be look at some common areas in which we can be “caught by surprise”. Your personal situation (remember your list?) should fall into one or more of the categories that we will cover.

SPIRITUAL HEALTH

CENTER ON: (Contemplate your present situation)

Exercise keeps us from getting spiritually pudgy; full of information, but unable to run with the swift or train the weak because we only know how to sit on the bench. We need to exercise our minds applying God’s truth in our life every day.  Just as an athlete trains for an event, we must train to stay fit for our service. (Romans 12:1-2)

Nutrition provides us with the fuel to stay healthy. Our spirits are like a computer, “garbage in, garbage out”. We must constantly be filling our minds with the things of God, so when we are under pressure the things of God come out. (Philippians 4:8)

Elimination is the process of well, “eliminating”! Whether it’s unhealthy stuff we have been feeding into our minds or activities that we are involved in that keep us pudgy. We have to make choices between what’s good and what’s not. (Psalm 139:23-24)

Rest allows us to regroup and focus on God. We can run in so many directions, be involved in lots of good endeavors, and forget who created us for His pleasure. Our spirits can’t run on empty without rest or we will “crash & burn”. (Isaiah 40:31)

Goals help move us from “what is” toward “what is better”. Without goals we find ourselves getting off course from our objective; in this case our goal is spiritual health. God’s plan for us is to prosper, to have hope and a future.  (Jeremiah 29:11)

Y– Factor. The “Y-Factor” is our “yearning” for God. It’s the passion to know Him and to have a deeper relationship. Sometimes when our life is out of balance this “yearning” grows dim. We need to take time to remember that God hasn’t moved. (Psalm 42)

REAL-LIFE EFFECTIVENESS: (Construct & Implement a plan to improve)

Tips to on how to construct and/or implement a plan to have more ENERGY:

Exercise:
Find one person each day to compliment.
Help someone who you see is in need.
Write an e-mail (or letter) thanking someone.

Nutrition:
Schedule time to read your Bible (morning or evening)
Turn off the television and read some good books
Listen to tapes or CD’s from sound teachers

Elimination:
Find some good replacements for activities you want to eliminate
Spend time with your family playing a game
Develop friendships with your neighbors

Rest:
When we eliminate some activities we can actually get more sleep at night
Plan to take one day off a week to worship God without other activities
Try some relaxation exercises to reduce stress (Prayer, breathing, stretching)

Goals
Set aside thirty minutes every week to set goals for the upcoming week
Evaluate the progress you made on last week’s goals
Consider writing a “mission statement” for your life and set goals as well

Y– Factor
Pray for God’s guidance when you feel separated from Him
Read through the Psalms; look for prayers that express your feelings
Take a long walk in the park, desert or mountains to focus on God