Years ago when I battled many illnesses, my quest for wellness led me to the story of a Chinese professor and herbalist named Li Chung Yun. He was reported to have lived more than 120 years. His secret? Inward calm.
Studies have shown time and again that people from all parts of the world who lived extraordinarily long lives had several lifestyle factors in common, including unadulterated foods, plenty of exercise and systematic under-eating. In addition, these ancients were generally happy with whatever their lot in life was; they did not envy or covet; they were respected by their friends and family; and they held positions that were important to the community.
In contrast, most Christians I know are living a frazzled life, totally devoid of "inward calm." I receive e-mails from many who are battling physical diseases, depression and anxiety. My mailbox is flooded with letters that express panic, discouragement, mistrust, anger over the past and unforgiveness. Too many of us are frenzied, exhausted, ill and full of strife.
It troubles me that New Agers have incorporated the healthful philosophy of inward calm into their beliefs, while we believers remain ignorant of its benefits. We refuse to love enough, forgive enough, pray enough, play enough, exercise, eat right and laugh often. The result is that illness and emotional pain disturb our well-being.
We need to understand that there is a significant relation between unrest--the opposite of calm--and disease. Bitterness, a form of unrest, can destroy us from the inside out. It is like rust that corrodes our spirits, steals our peace and makes it impossible to be healthy and whole.
The way to prevent bitterness from taking root is to use past hurts as opportunities to grow and develop spiritually. This will, in turn, help us to heal physically. We can begin the process by determining our level of unrest. Ask yourself:
Do you blame others for your problems?
Do you avoid expressing your feelings and views openly?
Are you resentful and hypercritical?
Do you avoid deep, lasting relationships?
Do you worry most of, if not all, the time?
Do you lack a sense of humor?
Do you complain about your physical symptoms?
Do you have self-pity, envy or anger?
If you can relate to any of these symptoms, you need to make some changes. Otherwise you are setting the stage for an emotional, physical and spiritual breakdown.
You can turn unrest into inward calm by making the following activities a regular part of your daily life: forgiving and allowing God to heal wounds from past relationships; praying and giving thanks to God continually; loving yourself and everyone else unconditionally; releasing all negative emotions, such as resentment, envy, fear, sadness and anger; doing things that nurture your soul; and keeping a sense of humor.
Can you truly be healed from unrest? Yes--if you have the willingness and desire to do the work. Looking deep inside takes courage, but God will hold you up as you go in "pursuit of the root" of your unrest.
With His help, the process is accelerated, and the end result will be well worth the painful detective work. After God's peace permeates the past, the unrest will be gone at last! You will experience life as God intended you to: healthy, whole and free.
As you allow God to change your heart, there are some nutritional supplements you can take to support and promote inward calm. These include B-complex, passion flower, L-theanine (an amino acid derived from green tea), GABA, calcium and magnesium. A health care professional can help you determine which of these supplements will benefit you and what amount you should take.
Jesus said to let today's trouble be sufficient for the day (see Matt. 6:34). He knew that unrest in body, mind and spirit could destroy us. As believers, we need to learn to apply the balm of inward calm!
Draw closer to God. Experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every month as you read Charisma magazine. Sign up now to get Charisma for as low as $1 per issue.
Dare to go deeper in your faith. Our "Life in the Spirit" devotional takes you on a journey to explore who the Holy Spirit is, how to interact with Him, and how He works in your life. Are you ready to go deeper?