God's Word clearly instructs us about what we should pursue.
Someone once said that during the first half of our lives, we chase wealth, and during the second half, we chase health. Which are you chasing? If your answer is health, perhaps it is because you have made unwise health choices during the course of your life. Late hours, too much stress, not enough sleep, poor diet, alcohol, and little or no exercise add up at midlife to create problems.
It is often during midlife that we face the most serious health challenges. Diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and other degenerative diseases often raise their ugly heads just when we are ready to enjoy the fruits of our labor. This can leave a person feeling depressed and discouraged.
If you are chasing either wealth or health at this point in your life, I want to direct you to our source for both: God. His Word clearly instructs us about how we should live and what we should pursue.
It specifically tells us not to seek wealth: "'Do not lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also'" (Matt. 6:19-21, NKJV).
Jesus explains the reason for this mandate: "'No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and [money]'" (v. 24).
Regarding our health, God promises to restore it. "'I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,' says the Lord" (Jer. 30:17).
Have you sacrificed your health in the pursuit of wealth? If so, it is time to return to God's Word. He will supply all your needs, both physical and financial.
I am not saying that wealth or the accumulation of money is detrimental to your health. The Bible says "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil" (1 Tim. 6:10, emphasis added).
In our society, we often equate wealth with success. There is nothing wrong with setting financial goals in life, but the Bible's view of success is markedly different from ours.
Success from a biblical standpoint means being a good and moral person. I'm sure you've heard many stories of people who achieved worldly success and found themselves bored, lonely, restless and unsatisfied. That's why Jesus asked the question: "'What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?'" (Matt.16:26).
I offer you the following guidelines for optimal health at midlife:
1. Make sure you are getting enough rest each day. Try to go to bed at the same time each night in order to establish a routine. Begin to wind down after dinner. If possible, take a warm bath or shower to relax and prepare you for sleep. Have a cup of caffeine-free herbal tea (valerian root can help you drift off to sleep).
2. Take digestive enzymes with each meal. I recommend digestive enzyme formulas from plant sources that contain amylase (to digest carbohydrates), lipase (to digest fats) and protease (to digest proteins). Enzyme supplementation helps to develop and maintain a proper digestive system. You can find these formulas at most health food stores.
3. Take a good multivitamin.
4. Detoxify your body twice a year (spring and fall). Many health food stores carry wonderful two-part programs that are effective and very user-friendly (Nature's Secret Ultimate Cleanse, for example).
5. Drink at least six to eight glasses of nonchlorinated water daily. Bottled is fine.
6. Antioxidants are essential. They are an important part of your anti-aging arsenal. Alpha Lipoic acid is fast becoming an anti-aging star! Green tea is rich in flavonoids that have antioxidant activity.
7. Begin some form of exercise. Walking is one of the best forms.
8. Reduce stress.
9. Eat as close to the original garden as possible.
10. Pray unceasingly.
Let's stop chasing wealth and health and simply chase God. That way we can bask in His provision in every area of our lives.
Janet C. Maccaro, Ph.D., C.N.C., is a leading expert on natural health. She holds doctorates in nutrition and naturopathy and appears frequently on national radio and TV programs. She is the author of 90-Day Immune System Makeover, Breaking the Grip of Dangerous Emotions and Natural Health Remedies (Siloam Press). Maccaro lives in central Florida with her husband and three children.