Of Amusement Parks and Temples
By Carolyn Allen

Today’s Scripture:  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I overcame, and am set down with my Father on histhrone.”  (Revelation 3:21)

A perfectly respectable family van was in front of me recently at a stoplight.  The length of the light gave me time to size up both the occupants and to read the two bumper stickers.  Though it was a middle-aged mom and kids, the message bespoke of a car with a souped engine, a blaring stereo system and youthful drivers in a rebellious mode.  The first bumper sticker said, “Life’s not permanent, so don’t worry about it!”  The other said, “Maybe your body is a temple, but mine is an amusement park!’ 

An amusement park?  Like … as in roller coasters, candy and a day away from regular life?  What better way to describe how many of us treat our bodies on an ongoing basis, even when we know intellectually what to eat for nutrition and the importance of exercise.  It’s that philosophy that now places the U.S. , the richest country in the world, far below many other countries as far as health and life expectancy.

I was shocked to hear the other day that according the World Health Organization, the U.S. ranks 37 th based on a study of the number of doctors per citizen, infant mortality, cancer, tuberculosis and other disease-related deaths, exercise level and life expectancy.  Forbes magazine ranked the U.S. 11.  Who ranks on top?  Top placement goes to Japan with their diet of seafood and rice, and employer sponsored fitness regimes,and France with their fresh air and longer, slower meals.  ( Japan ‘s health is actually on the decline as their taste for Western foods and its availability increases.) Many of the countries listed ahead of the U.S. have socialized medicine, but even so, the heavy-weight question is “How do people become ill?” not just “How are they treated afterward?”

With the factoring of accidents and natural disasters removed, nutrition and exercise are the starring elements of gold star health.  That’s a boring answer, isn’t it?  Even as “studying the scriptures and prayer” are the correct, generic (and teenagers might say “boring”) answer to many perplexing life questions, so is “healthy eating and exercise” to the continual challenge of improving and maintaining our health. 

Though nuts and bolts answers abound (for some excellent ideas, I encourage you to go back and read Dian Thomas’s excellent article from last week and Dr.Gardner’s great series that Meridian has going The toughest part is coming up with a desire to change.

Several years ago, I heard the story of a woman, who after many failed attempts to lose weight, went to the temple for her answer.  It came to her and she was shocked.  The answer was to humble herself and to recognize pride as the culprit. 

Foolishly implanted in her head (and we know who puts those thoughts there… it’s the old devil himself!) was the notion that somehow she was above the simple laws of eating right and exercise – often enough and long enough to make it happen. 

As she humbled herself daily in prayer, asking for the Lord’s help to help her accept these laws as happy and good, the pounds obediently left. She overcame herself and the worldly food temptations around her.

Though when we tell our youth to be “in the world, but not of the world” how often are we talking about the temptations of drugs, promiscuous behavior, and other poor choices that may lead to their demise.  Yet for those of us with weight management issues, the number of temptations that lead us from our goals are even more available, and not categorized as evils, for in and of themselves, they’re not.

Even as “scriptures and prayer” are the answer and required daily for safe living, the visualization of our bodies as a temple can help us snap our health choices into focus.

Each of us cherishes the temple and is well-versed on the requirements to enter.  Could we do the same for the foods we eat?  Asking ourselves, “Will this build my body?  Will this build my spirit?  Will I feel happy about this choice in 15 minutes? Before we let those foods enter our mouths and bodies may help us be in the world, but not of the world as far as our eating for weight loss success.

Today’s weight-loss-made-easy-tip is a good one!  Post a picture of the temple at your computer, in your kitchen, dining room, cars, office lunchroom, as well as wherever you eat. 

Then sing the words to the song below because there’s a throne waiting for us, one where we can sit with our Father because we have overcome … ourselves.

 

The Lord Gave Me a Temple
(words by Donnell Hunter)
Children’s Song Book No. 153

The Lord gave me a temple to live within on earth,
Once in heaven I was spirit, but I left my home at birth,
I’ll make my temple brighter;
I’ll keep my spirit free
My body is the temple my Father gave to me.

If I keep my body clean and pure and habit free,
I may in Father’s temple claim blessings promised me.
On resurrection morning, I’ll take my body bright,
And in celestial glory forever live in light.

Today’s Empowerment:  With the knowledge that it is the Lord who created my body, the temple for my spirit, I humbly accept His laws for moderation, the need to exercise and the importance of natural foods over refined ones for health, strength, fitness and energy.”