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Scripture opens with a grand introduction to our planet. The first two chapters outline the beginning of a universe and give the recipe for a healthy life and healthy relationships. Using the acronym CREATION, eight simple keys to a better life can be found tucked into those two chapters as well as the rest of Scripture. Jesus said, “ ĎI have come that you might have lifeí ” (John 10:10).

Choice

Each little choice we make may seem insignificant at the time, however, it may determine our health and happiness in the long run. While we are young, we strive to make choices, even beg to choose for ourselves. The idea of choice is exhilarating and exciting, then we grow up and we realize that choices come with consequences and burdens.

Many choices keep us up at night considering the multiple outcomes, contingency plans, financial implications, time factors, and much more. We wonder if this choice is selfish, how it will affect those we love, and how exactly we will make it through.

One of the most important aspects to consider when it comes to choices is the peace of mind that comes when the options have been considered, weighed, and a decision has been made. It is that peace that you should focus on, reminding you that yes, things may get difficult, however, in the big picture you have peace and the right choice has been made.

Rest

Sleep doesnít always come easy. However, rest isnít just about sleep; rest is a pause in an overfilled day, sitting on a park bench and watching the ducks, going to a cafe and enjoying a great lunch. Rest happens in moments of madness where you willingly allow yourself to slow down and appreciate where you are and what you are doing.

In the busiest of times, rest is hard to come by. Assignments are due, work needs you, the house is messy, spouses are busy, children are tired and hungry, and you have so much to do that you donít know where to begin. Stop, breathe, and attend to those who need you first. Donít allow yourself to stay so focused on doing that you neglect feeling and responding.

Rest is a choice you will have to make. Donít wait until your body makes you stop or slow down, the best way to address sleep is to get it! Getting the rest your body and mind deserve may be difficult, it may mean missing your favorite TV show, skipping a social engagement or just going to bed early.

Organize yourself, your day, and your schedule—take control of your life and then go for it! Rest equals calm, calm equals peace, peace equals a more productive and successful life.

Environment

Our environment, the place where we spend most of our time, is incredibly important. However, many people refuse to admit the role their surroundings do play in their well-being. Oneís environment can be turned upside down in a matter of moments—from peaceful to panicked, from quiet to noisy, and from organized to chaotic.

The place where you spend the most time must be a place where you feel comfortable, safe, and a place you love to be. As you can see, our lives are a jumble of overlapping environments that donít easily fit together. And unfortunately, you are often the one to hold them together attempting to create a seamless union between unmatched fabrics.

Take little steps to acknowledge and address each environment that fills your life. If the car is dirty, wash it; youíll feel better when itís clean! If the kitchen is messy, make a roster for dishwashing if possible, and if you donít have a place to quietly reflect on your study, get to that as soon as possible!

Activity

One of the first things to go when youíre busy is activity. Itís so easy to give 100 percent to everything and forget about ourselves and our need for daily exercise. Donít make this mistake, as the consequences may follow you for a long time.

The first reaction though, is to say, “I donít have time!” And you are probably right. However, daily exercise doesnít mean you have to join a gym (many of us canít afford it), although experts advise 10,000steps a day as a great way to get on the road to better health.

Get a pedometer and start counting those steps, youíll be surprised at what you do! Walk whenever possible using the time to relax if necessary. Exercise is also a great time to relax and let your body burn off some of the stress and frustration that most definitely comes with life.

Trust

When life gets tough, whom do you trust? Probably yourself to make good decisions, and those you love to support you, and God to protect you. Trust is something that seems to take forever to grow into maturity, yet only a split second to be lost. Hard to give when not received, one must also trust to be trusted.

An important aspect of trust depends on whom you trust. Those who live a life of faith tend to live happier lives! Put your trust in the Lord, and trust becomes an easier aspect of your everyday life.

There is so much to be said about trust, however, the most important thing is to trust yourself and the choices youíve made. One could continually second guess, rethink, contemplate, and frustrate how you got where you are instead of just being thankful for the journey and focus on the present, and trust Someone greater than you to have the big picture under control.

Interpersonal relationships

Our lives weave in and out of the lives and journeys of others in such a way that at times itís hard to know where we end and they begin. Regardless of how connected we feel or think we are, family, friends, and acquaintances are deeply connected to our feelings of success, accomplishment, stress, frustration, and complete exhaustion.

To stay well-rounded, take time out to be with the people who love, encourage, and sometimes frustrate you! Have family dinner at least once a week—or whenever it works for everyone; meet friends for a hot drink or a walk around the park; phone a friend or family member just to talk; and be open for all the unexpected moments of happiness that being human and having family brings! Build healthy connections and you will have more than great friends; you will have family!

Outlook

Did you know that the way you think about what you see is more important than what you actually see? Itís more important to have a healthy perspective than to sink into the sometimes unhappy and unhealthy reality around us.

Thatís not to say you should be in denial of reality—please, be aware of it and involved in it—however, how you view it is the key.

Take a quick mental checklist of what you see, think, and feel when you hear the words family, time, money, vacation, study, and grace. Did you think of faces; people that love you and are rooting for you to succeed? Did you feel the quickening of your pulse as you thought about time you have wasted and time you have used wisely? Did you pause and smile at the unimportance of some things you have thought to be so crucial in times past? Keeping the right healthy perspective is incredibly important.

Outlook is how you decide to see the world in which you live. You can choose to worry about every aspect of your life—which will lead to stress and illness (studies also prove this), or you can choose to be thankful, put a smile on your face, and find the best in what comes your way.

Your outlook means being aware but not settled, involved but not satisfied. There is the saying, “Is the glass half empty or half full?” when the real thing is to say itís got something in it to start out with, and thatís fantastic!

Nutrition

Your brain is just as important as your body so what you eat and drink are significant. When balancing a diversity of things—family, work, and study—one must remember that nourishment may be the choice between success and failure. The choices you make about your diet have a huge impact on you overall—more than you probably thought!

Take a moment to think about how youíve eaten today. Did you eat breakfast? How much caffeine are you drinking in a day? Are you doing all you can to get your fruit and vegetable servings in your meals? Working toward a healthy diet doesnít mean changing your eating habits completely in one day. More importantly, it means adding a piece of fruit to your breakfast, a vegetable to your lunch, starting your day with a glass of water, and carrying a water bottle with you throughout the day; little changes to your diet slowly move you to a more well-rounded diet.

Unfortunately, we donít always think of eating. You may not always feel the hunger, but your brain will work slower, your temper will react quicker, and your alertness will dwindle. Nutrition is purposeful and takes time—however, the benefits are astounding, exhilarating, and much more important than you think!

CREATION

All the pieces begin to fit together. Some people tend to focus on one aspect like diet, for example, or their environment. However these eight steps to health provide a more balanced, more full life—just as Jesus promised.


The CREATION of a Better Life

by Julene Deurksen-Kapao
  
From the August 2007 Signs  

Notable quotes

“Rest when youíre weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body,your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.”

—Ralph Marston

“Fresh activity is the only means of overcoming adversity.”

—Johan Wolfgang von Goethe

“A man who doesnít trust himself can never really trust anyone else.”

—Cardinal De Retz

“No road is long with good company.”

—Turkish Proverb

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”

—Albert Einstein

“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”

—James Beard