There is an epidemic in America and the world. It’s causing health problems, relationship problems, and self-love problems. The world is suffering from a weight problem–but it’s not what you think.
The real problem plaguing the human race comes down to the scale. It’s not a bathroom scale that we stand on before showering or the scale outside the exam room at the doctor’s office. This scale is about 6 inches below our ears. It’s the sag in our shoulders, the tightness in our muscles, the pull of gravity on our spirit. This scale that tells the story of our weight-bearing shoulders also tells the story of more than that. It’s more than the 25% of people in America who suffer from obesity. The weight management problem I’m talking about effects nearly half of the American population. It’s the weight of the world on our shoulders–stress.
It’s common knowledge that if you eat nothing but fast food and sweets, you’ll likely end up obese. What you eat, the nutritional and caloric value makes up what you are physically. You might be too big, too small, too weak, or deficient in vital minerals. Likewise, what you put into your mind will effect your spirit. The first thing to consider when you have the weight of stress bearing on you is what you’re feeding your spirit. Putting nothing but negativity, worry, and stress in will ensure that your mind hungers for those things (just like sugar) and creates a cycle that is hard to break.
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. If this much exercise, which ends up being a little over 20 minutes per day, is required for a healthy body, how much more exercise must we need for a healthy mind and heart? Paul says in 1 Corinthians “I die daily” (15:31), and to “pray in the spirit on all occasions” (Ephesians 6:18). Ezra says to look to the Lord and “seek His face always” (1 Chronicles 16:11). Even the secular world has caught on to the power of meditation. According to HuffPost, meditation lowers your blood pressure, increases circulation, sends more blood to prefrontal cortex, enhances executive function, helps you hold images longer, process information better, and allows contemplation, intuition, and creativity to thrive.
Meditate of God’s Word. Pray to him. It’s the best gift you can give yourself.
There’s a reason that organizations like Weight Watchers and community oriented gyms like YMCAs thrive and their patrons are successful at weight loss. It has to do with community, the support system that helps an individual to drive on. Jesus took 12 disciples along with Him on His journey through ministry. Small groups are a proven way for churches to grow and to thrive. There is a pattern. When we’re in a group of like-minds, we thrive. Accountability partners and “workout buddies” can benefit you both in and out of the gym! Friends, mentors, and partners can help take the weight off of your shoulders.
Finally, remember your Ultimate Friend–the Savior who can help that weight fall off your shoulders simply by reaching out and taking it.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)