I have had these thoughts mulling around in my head and heart for a lot of years. I decided to start typing and see where it takes me. The tension of life. The condition of forces in conflict with each other.
Almost five years ago, I became sick. It took the doctors many weeks to figure out what was wrong with me. And actually, I figured it out. After many normal labs came back, but I was still feeling miserable, I asked to be tested for mono. The test came back positive.
Ever since then, my health has not been the same. I have to ration my energy to get through a day. Some days are better than others, but I am far from how I used to be. I received the diagnosis of post viral fatigue (chronic fatigue).
I am going to be honest, I used to think chronic fatigue was entirely controllable by a healthy lifestyle. Well, my know-it-all self has received a harsh lesson over the last few years. Suffering can be humbling.
I am a wellness professional and have been in the field for over twenty years. I have studied fitness, health, nutrition. I believe in a healthy lifestyle. I believe in taking care of our bodies through fitness and eating foods rich in nutrition. Where did I go wrong? I didn't.
There is so much media regarding healthy lifestyle, different diets for optimal health...vegan, paleo, low carbs, organic. Green smoothies might just save the world. Now, let me express, I love green smoothies! I make them and they are a fantastic way to get excellent nutrition. But...I was drinking green smoothies before I got mono. In fact, when I was feeling lousy and no one could figure out what was wrong with me, my mom made a joke that maybe I was drinking too much spinach.
Let's veer away from physical health for a moment and talk about marital health. Oh, I had ideals of marriage as a young woman. I thought that if I tried my best to follow a Biblical pattern as a wife and I tried to do everything the right way, that I could somehow protect my marriage from major pain. Not so much.
I realized several years ago that when I think my choices of food, fitness, "good girl" attributes, can protect me from discomfort, sickness, pain...that I am living like The Fall never happened. And not only that, but I somehow think I have the control and the power to save myself. I think that when we choose a crunchy, simplistic, frugal, Biblical, etc. lifestyle we can risk becoming really snooty. And worse, legalistic. You're not crunchy enough, not vegan enough, not paleo enough, not frugal enough, not organic enough, not anti-culture enough, not unplugged enough.
What do we tell the person that lived a healthy, clean-eating, organic lifestyle when they get cancer or another life threatening illness? That they should have been more organic? That they didn't do it the right way? That they should have tried harder?
What do we tell the wife or the husband who tried to follow a Biblical pattern for their marriage when their spouse is checked out, or unfaithful, or leaves? That they should have been more godly? That they didn't do it the right way? That they should have tried harder?
I am not saying that you shouldn't live the life you are called to live according to Scripture. I am also not saying that you shouldn't pursue a healthy lifestyle because there are many benefits...I do believe that you can increase your quality of life and greatly reduce your risk of disease. But there is the tension between a fallen world and what is yet to come. Perfection is not for this lifetime. No amount of my "doing things the right way" will give me heaven on earth.
I will still try my best to follow a Biblical pattern as a wife, but guess what? Marriage is messy and hard. And we will have to continually forgive each other. For the rest of our lives.
I will still do my best to stay physically active, think of healthy nutrition like medicine, hang my sheets on the line, and make my own granola, but you know what? Sometimes, I get a really bad headache and no essential oil will make it go away and I take ibuprofen, order pizza, put my clothes in the dryer, tell the kids to play video games, and I lie down and take a nap.
And when I awake from my nap, my headache is gone, supper is magically ready, and the kids are quietly engrossed in video games. And I am pretty sure that God isn't disappointed in those choices I made.