Full Belly, Happy Heart (5/5)

“Finishing is better than starting”

(Ecc.7:8 New Living Translation).

It is the end of the meal, the stomach is full and the heart is happy. If I have eaten the right amount of food, with nutritional value and excellent taste; there is a sense of SATISFACTION. It is a great feeling, it just that it doesn’t last too long; in a few hours, we will feel hungry again.

satisfaction-meter-different-emotionsEmotions also have a short lifespan. In life you and I get our portions of good and bad, happiness and sadness, joy and sorrow, celebration and grieving, achievements and failures, gaining and losing, etc. The menu is large. We avoid the negative ones as we abstain from certain foods not of our preference and try to get jumbo portions of the others. Once we experience some of the good stuff; we better enjoy it thoroughly while it last, for sooner rather than later, it will be gone and we will want more of it again.

Jesus declared in John 6:35 “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (emphasis mine). It is quite an offer for full satisfaction for one’s spirit and soul.
God’s invitation surpasses any expectations, outdo any other goods and arises above any delicacy this world can present.

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
  Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.” (Is.55:1-2)

 

 

 

 

 

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Published in: on July 5, 2018 at 5:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Full Belly, Happy Heart (4/5)

fat-vs-skinny

Not Eating is as damaging to self well-being as overeating. I used to hear my father say “All extremes are bad” Anorexia and bulimia as well as compulsive eating are sadly common disorders in people of all ages and both create health problems.

Emotionally speaking, eating too little or nothing is when I see myself as auto-sufficient for everything when in reality I must accept my need of others. Emotional anorexia is expressed by never getting too close to anyone, having a lack of forgiving spirit, accumulating bitterness and being detached of what it could be considered weak feelings such as crying, smiling, kindness and never asking for help or advice.

Emotionally overeating is the opposite. It’s when people become the center and the motivating force for living. I learn the art of manipulation so that people never leave me alone and are always there for me. I constanly seek their compliments, company and favors. Parents, spouces, children or friends are God’s given gift of support, but if their only role in my life is for my ego-fattening, then I have a problem.

Don’t you hate the secret to staying fit? There’s no secret. I know what to do, but we have the natural tendency to be unbalanced in our eating, in our emotions, in our relationships, etc.
The NIV Bible translates Ecclesiastes 7:18b this way: “Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.”

I would like to repeat something I wrote some time ago as conclusion: Proverbs 25:16

Published in: on June 26, 2018 at 7:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Full Belly, Happy Heart (3/5)

being fedOur lives begin by being fed. We start being 100% takers and it is expected, within reasonable time, to become independent as well as providers. We cannot for all of our lives have an open mouth and/or an extended hand waiting to receive nourishment.

Dead Sea 1I had the wonderful and fun experience “to swim” in the Dead Sea which because of its high concentration of mineral salts causes the water to be denser making it easy for our lighter bodies to float. Its source is the Jordan River; water flows into it, but it doesn’t flow out. This body of water has so much salt that is devoid of all forms of life thus receiving the name “Dead Sea”. The lesson is plain and simple, The Dead Sea is a taker not a giver.

We might live with the delusion that to be emotionally healthy we need the perfect balance of receiving and giving, of being fed and feeding others, of feeling appreciated and appreciating others, of being loved and loving others; yet the words of Jesus Christ were “It is more blessed to give than to receive“.  It is fantastic when people around give to me, feed me, appreciate me and love me, but people don’t have endless reservoirs; their emotional tanks also need filling and re-filling. Ultimately, only God can have in store abundant love for my spiritual need and emotional hunger. As a good Shepherd he leads to green pastures and “I shall not want”; in other words, all our wants and needs will be satisfied without us even asking Him. In His care, we shall want nothing, we shall lack nothing: materially, physically, spiritually and emotionally.

Filled by Him to be emptied to others for Him.

“The nourishment of the body is food,

while the nourishment of the soul is feeding others”

 

Published in: on June 21, 2018 at 5:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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Full Belly, Happy Heart (2/5)

Eating healthy is a chosen habit. It shouldn’t be a short-term diet, but a long-term lifestyle. Sometimes we eat what we like; Carbohydrates and fats are not essentially bad, but the unbalanced amount of them is what it is damaging and  then, most of the time we eat what we have to eat, not necessarily because of its good taste, but because of its nutritional value.

versus food

I have noticed that there is a strong emphasis nowadays, particularly in youth, to do what “I feel doing”. New generations are evaluating almost everything, including church, by the level of emotion it generates and we, teachers, youth/camp leaders, pastors, etc. worry over it and end up with soggy, greasy, fast-food type of activities.

I always have craving for cheese burgers, chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream, but as I grow older and mature, I also eat salads, juices and meats. I am not against making the veggies more appealing as well as being more creative to make the learning process exciting, attractive and fun.

The problem is, if the stomach is in control, we will have an eating-disorder and if the heart is in control, we will have confusion and a chaos in our emotions. We need to invite our minds into the decision-making and discipline ourselves to do what we know we ought to do.

 “My Father, if it’s possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. However—not what I want but what you want.” Matthew 26:39 (CEB Bible)

 

Published in: on June 14, 2018 at 5:35 am  Comments (1)  
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Full Belly, Happy Heart (1/5)

heart and gutsThe heart and the stomach are very much connected, for example, our brain can mix up pain signals from both organs confusing a heart attack with heartburn (a form of indigestion). In fact, mistakes in nutrition could lead to heart disease. I won’t get into the science of body organs interaction.

Here, I refer to the heart as the center of emotions and I will compare it to the digestive organ that allows our body to draw nutritional value of foods.

Just like in eating we need a diet and limits combined with exercise, we need guidelines, restrictions and control in our emotions combined with actions that develop a well-trained character.

I just started thinking about how the heart and the stomach are very similar in needing constant refilling, but it is a great thing when they are full!

“Seize Life! Eat bread with gusto, Drink wine with a robust heart. Oh Yes – God takes pleasure in your pleasure!”                                   Ecclesiastes 9:7 (MSG Bible)

 

 

Published in: on June 7, 2018 at 5:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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Only One

matches-last-chance-7403129Without exception, we all live one day at a time. We can’t use nothing but one hour…one minute…one second before it’s gone for ever. Putting it all together it’s what we call “life”.

Since I am traveling tomorrow and it will be almost a year before I get to see family and friends here in Mexico; I have that “last-day-feeling”. It makes a difference in my actions, my speech, my thoughts, reactions, decisions, etc. All of me has this intense concern on what I do today.

The fact of the matter is that today is no different from any other day. Today is today. It is not yesterday and it cannot be tomorrow. For me and everyone is the same; Today is our only one day to live.

The challenge for me is to live every day, every hour, every minute and second of time to the fullest and with passion. I only have one.

Published in: on February 1, 2018 at 6:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Smile

There are many studies about “smile facts” and the number of benefits it brings to physical, mental and emotional health.  A smile is more than just a flexion of muscles; it is an expression from within the deepest part of our being denoting pleasure, happiness, delight, enjoyment, gratification or sociability. A smile is sadly almost a lost gesture in big cities since it is the body language of welcoming people into our space and our lives. We live in times of mistrust of strangers.

I recently experience pain due to dental work. I don’t remember ever being in such torment before.  For some reason analgesic had almost none effect or so I felt. When I left the dentist’s office I had to make a phone call and meet with some people.  All I wish was to be in a dark room, in bed and alone, but I couldn’t. I am sure the people around would be understanding of my bad mood and put up with my miserable attitude, but as in many cases, they are not to blame for my pain.

I chose to continue life ignoring my discomfort and even watched a movie with my hosts. I am in a liquid diet. Things didn’t turn out as I was expecting and the episode of the dental work hasn’t finished. I fear going back to the dentist’s. Such is life, but those circumstances have no control over what I choose and how I decide to act. For this time I have decided that my pain is small compare to what others are suffering. I want my smile to be a reflection of my soul not of my body. I choose to smile not because my smile is perfect, but because it is powerful.

smileIt is well with my soul

Published in: on June 16, 2016 at 5:35 pm  Comments (2)  
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My writing Routine

“Writing is not my thing” I have said since the days I had to take English Composition I and II in College. Back in 2008 I started this blog also as a self-discipline to do something is not natural to me. Just like waking up for exercising;  writing, for me, is difficult. Yes, even after all these years!

bloggingSo, I am here, like many times, with the “simple-great” task of every week; in front of a blank screen wondering what I can say or what there is in my experience that would be of interest to others. I never know what a blog will look like or talk about till it is done, as somebody said: “I write to discover what it is I will have written”.

My writing routine? To be honest, I have none, I don’t have a day, an hour or a place. I can also say, it is going on all the time. Isaac Asimov said “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” Writing is thinking and that I do all the time; the tricky part, is putting it into words.

For me, blogging is chronicling. It is my open journal. It is my life being written. It is my unclear messy  writing originated in my unclear messy thinking. But in the end, I am writing for myself and own sake. After many years, I am the one who is encouraged to look back as I read of God’s great purposeful doings through and in me and the numerous wonderful, extraordinary and remarkable people who accompanied me in this journey of life. I try to present it in the best possible way I can, but frankly, it is my own fun and enjoyment.

 

Published in: on March 24, 2016 at 5:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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My Jogging Routine

clock 4 30 am

The alarm goes off at 4:30 am. It is time to go to my Monday-Friday exercise routine I have been practicing for two years: jogging. In spite of all the articles I have read of the many benefits of an early morning workout and proven methods to make it a habit that will become part of my lifestyle feeling it “Soooo natural”; I still struggle with every beep beep of the alarm to get up and do what I have decided to do.

early-morning-runSo, while I do my loop, I ask myself: why I do what I do? It is not about “who” because nobody is making me do it. It is about “what” motives me to continue to do something while every part of my body wants to stay in bed. It seems contradictory; if I feel like staying in bed, how come I end up in my sweat outfit and running shoes?

In this simple ordinary paradoxical experience, I have become to understand what it is to make a decision, take a resolution or to do something with determination and purpose. I like to use the idiom “to make up your mind” because it has the word “mind” in it. The mind is the part we use for thinking and thinking is the process that gives us reasonable clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, significance, depth, logic and fairness.

heart-vs-mindI try to teach my students that we cannot always do what we feel like doing, but to do what we know we have to do for reasons regardless of feelings. We might have already discovered that warm fuzzies and frivolous thinking are usually in conflict and we need to continually discipline ourselves in doing what we know we have to do. Aristotle said “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”. The best thing is to put all your heart in all what your mind has decided to do. In the end, it will pay off to voluntarily submit to such self-training.

 

 

 

Published in: on March 17, 2016 at 6:00 am  Comments (1)  
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Different Miracle 2

nearsightedIn my teen years I went to the theater movie with my family. I asked my mom if we could sit nearer to the big screen to which my mom replied with the explanation how we could enjoyed the movie “better” from the middle rows. She perceived then my nearsightedness and handed me her eyeglasses. I remember the difference the glasses made in my eyesight and ended up watching the movie with my mom’s glasses. I have used eyeglasses ever since and my well-functioning in life depends on them.

mentreesThe two-stage miracle in the Gospel of Mark 8:22-26 Jesus opened the eyes of a blind man to the point where he saw people looking like trees walking around; then Jesus touched him again and this time the men’s eyes were fully opened and sight totally restored.

Just a reminder to all of us who have believed in Jesus and have been called out of darkness to a marvelous light that in spite of this miracle; all of us have spiritual nearsightedness to one degree or another and still see life through a veil, imperfectly, dimly, as a blurred picture.

I daily need the second part of the miracle to have a full sight of the riches of God in Christ, to see and perceive everything in life with perfect clarity;  to have wisdom and insight to comprehend the riddles of life, the darkly side of life, that is. This is a progressive miracle.

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law”

Published in: on June 11, 2015 at 7:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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