Nourish, Flourish, Lavish, Slay // Spiritually Fit Series Day 1

Thursday, July 14, 2016

This year, my theme has been “Nourish, Flourish, Lavish, Slay," (yes, that is a Beyonce reference).

As I have unpacked what that means over the past few months I have realized that a lot of it has to do with the discipline and dedication to do nice things for my body and soul so they can be strong enough to minister to a desperate world alongside my soul.

For the longest time as a Christian, I was only worried about my spirit – making sure that I was in the Word, praying, serving and doing things that kept my spirit connected to the Lord. I equated my body with sinful desires and my soul wasn't really something I paid much attention to. That was until I realized that my spirit was willing but my body and soul were exhausted and underwhelmed and no matter how strong my spirit seemed to be, it could not function well without a fit body and soul.

Have you ever been there?
You have every desire and motivation to serve in larger capacities but your lack of sleep finally catches up with you and you are exhausted at every turn? Or, your spirit is really invested in showing love to the people God has put in your path but you cannot seem to fight the irritation and impatience that overwhelms your soul by their demands on you.

In 2014 I was at that crossroads – I was a law student working with survivors of human trafficking while in the startup stages of building an organization and I was loving it, but the constant demands on body and soul were slowly catching up to me and I found myself sick, depressed, underwhelmed, and exhausted. I felt like my body was betraying me and causing me to be complacent so I pushed myself harder, got less sleep, threw myself more into my work. When that did not help things get better I took on Yoga to help me manage my stress, but there Jesus met me on my mat and whispered to me the same things He whispered to the disciples in Matthew 26:41:

Keep watch and pray so that you do not enter into temptation. For the spirit is willing but 

the flesh is weak.” 

We cannot pour out from a weak reservoir no matter how much we try and it is our primary responsibility to care for the tools God has given us to pour out from. A huge part of doing that comes from keeping watch and being aware of the times we need to nourish body, soul, and spirit. As Christians, we nourish our spirits through reading the Bible, prayer, worship, and a community of other christians but the soul and body are a little bit more tricky and require quite a bit of experimentation. They require that we actually spend time noticing and practicing activities that are truly nourishing to us and cause us to flourish into the most joy filled and healthy versions of ourselves. Sometimes that requires counseling and some experimentation but it is our responsibility to take care of the first gift God entrusted us with – ourselves.

The past 2 years have been a huge process of learning to nurture and nourish all the different parts of me and I will be sharing some of the things that have been game changers for me in that process. They may not all apply to you but take note of the ones that make you happy on the inside and make it your homework to seek out those things that truly bring nourishment to you.

1. Reading the Word and spending time in worship

2. Connecting with Jesus on my yoga mat (Holy Yoga TV or my Jesus + Yoga Manual)

3. Reading a book for fun and not out of expectation.

4. Slowly taking the time to savor my meal while eating.

5. Meditation and taking deep belly breathes.

6. Quiet tea time.

7. Getting a massage.

8. Going out for a leisure walk or coffee with a dear friend that I can completely vulnerable with.

9. Day dreaming about the future.

10. Cooking foods that actually fuel my body.

11. Grocery shopping at places that make me feel energized.

12. Turning off my phone and being unavailable to the world for a few hours.

13. Participating in an exercise that makes me feel strong.

14. Shutting up the demon of body hate.

15. Surrounding myself with words that make me come alive.

16. Purchasing a $2 dictionary and writing down new words that I like.

17. Playing & laughing with little children.

18. Watching silly Disney movies.

19. Journaling.

20. Dancing like no one is watching.

21. Learning to say a guilt-free no.

22. Writing letters.

After you have completed your homework, go practice these things on a regular basis. I will be very honest with you and let you know that if you have a heart that is service oriented you will feel totally guilty and selfish at the process of taking your eyes inward but trust the process. I promise that as you learn about what being whole and fit look like, you will grow stronger and your acts of service will be more profound and powerful and leave you feeling joyful rather than underwhelmed and exhausted. As you nourish and flourish your body, soul, and spirit, you will automatically lavish and slay. Its the most amazing lesson I am learning in 2016 and I invite you to join me in this journey.

                                        About the Author

Salem Afangideh is an Nigerian bred human currently doing life in Alabama. She mostly works as an attorney with a specialty on serving world changers looking to start businesses or non profit organizations. She is also one half of the brains and labor behind the organization THRIVE African Girl. Stop by and say hello to her on instagram!!


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