Lessons on Health from a Little Dude

  
Hey ya’ll! Isn’t he cute? Remember I mentioned a few Sundays ago that I was busy hanging out with my cute-as-a-button-four-year-old friends whose mama had a baby? No, this isn’t his picture above but my little friend is just as cute. We had so much fun smiling and laughing and playing together. I felt like a little kid again!

 

In the midst of all this fun we were having I got a chance to observe this little dude and couldn’t help but gathering lessons from him that could apply to me–and maybe you too!

 

So without further ado let me share a few lessons I learned from a preschooler whom I will call “Little Dude” in this post. 🙂

 

Don’t worry!

This is a lesson I definitely need to learn as I sometimes find myself worrying unnecessarily. (Is any worry actually ever necessary when we have a powerful God to take care of us?) 

I think we all know intellectually that worrying is bad. I once read something to the effect that worry actually destroys life. However, knowing something and living something are totally different.

I was inspired by how Little Dude actually lived out this lesson practically.  He seems not to worry about anything and is so full of life and energy! 

I have always been a person of order and while this can be good it could be taken to extremes. For example, not too long ago I felt as though I could not handle change of any kind. I wanted to anticipate everything and would become unreasonably upset if there were unexpected items of food on the table or last minute menu changes. I wanted to super control everything which only caused me loads of stress and was not beneficial.

 

Did I say Little Dude taught me this lesson? In actuality God had begun teaching me this lesson a while ago but it was inspiring to see Little Dude demonstrate it flawlessly. He too had some crazy things going on in his life during the weekend we spent together. 

His mom just had a baby and was immediately whisked away to spend time with friends. He’d missed his usual morning cuddle time with his mom and hadn’t been able to stay at the hospital with ‘his baby’ as he had wished. His circumstances might have naturally led him to feel bewildered and out-of-control. I’d probably be a little confused if I were a 4-year-old in this situation! 

Little Dude could have complained and whined about this sudden major change in his life. He could have complained that he had been dragged out of bed at 4 o’clock in the morning and whisked away from his parents in order for his mom to be taken to the hospital. 

Yet Little Dude chose a different option. He chose to be happy and wait patiently to be reunited with his family. He chose to enjoy himself at our house  in the meantime. He chose to relax, play and have fun!

 

Through Little Dude’s example I am reminded that I don’t need to worry about little things or even big things for that matter. Worrying doesn’t help anything at all. It only lowers our quality of life, destroys our focus, and unnecessarily wastes our energy. 

There are many things that are (and will always be) out of my control. I may, like Little Dude, have reason to feel bewildered or confused but in these I should remember that ultimately God is in control and will work everything out. Resting in this knowledge I can let go of worry and live life to its fullest!

 

Move Freely!

Movement is a gift from God and I was privileged to see Little Dude engaging in and enjoying spontaneous movement. One morning after he finished his breakfast he immediately began to beg us to go with him on a walk to the lake nearby our home. He was so excited to move his little legs and dance in the water.

As soon as we finished our breakfast my sister, Little Dude and I joyfully bounced down the hill to the lake and splashed in the water. Together we laughed, played, and skipped rocks as we delighted in God’s wonderful creation.

Little Dude’s carefree attitude towards movement was a powerful reminder to me to simply enjoy the ability to move my body without pressure. To move simply because movent is a gift from God not because I am seeking to control or manipulate my body. 

Don’t get me wrong, planned and evening challenging exercise is not wrong in itself. It’s just that I and many others recovering from eating disorders must be careful that we are exercising wisely and from right motivations. 

This is an important lesson to me because for me because it’s easy to get caught up in miles run or feel obligated to exercise “hard” everyday. Although our bodies were made to move, we don’t necessarily have to engage in challenging movement all the time either. Sometimes it’s okay to simply take a walk while praising God for the blessing of movement that He has given. Little Dude taught me to rejoice in the simple, joyful, spontaneous movement without guilt or pressure to do something more. A lesson that I am seeking to learn well. 🙂

Rest well!

Little Dude was hilarious with his sleep! He was no joke! One evening he was so serious about getting to bed that… Well, let me give you some background. We have a tiny little house with almost no extra room for visitors to sleep over. Thus, Little Dude’s bed out of necessity became a comfy couch. 

So back to the story…. My parents were sitting on the couch that was to become Little Dude’s bed a little too long for Little Dude’s liking. He became impatient and began to hover around the couch while strongly  hinting that that couch was his bed. Clearly, Little Dude was ready to go to sleep and was working his plan to get there. 😀

 

Sleep is undeniably important for a healthy mind and body and is something I could take more seriously. I’ve never been one to love sleep but even so I must remember that my body is God’s temple and I am to take care of it in the way of rest as well. I’m pretty sure that I can learn from Little Dude’s efforts to protect his sleep! 😉

 

Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full!

The simplicity with which Little Dude ate was astonishing. I believe that this is a major lessons that I can learn from Little Dude and toddlers in general. Young children generally eat when they’re hungry and stop when their full. 

No fuss, no complicated food rules, food fears, or extreme eating behoviors. It was refreshing to be silently reminded by Little Dude that God created our bodies to know how to eat. He gave us huger and fullness signals that tell us exactly when and how much. 

However, the problem is that many of us (including me) have through abuse of our bodies have well-nigh stifled or even silenced those natural signals. 😦

 But there is still hope! Since I am weight restored my nutritional focus is on learning how to eat to best nourish my body. During my eating disorder these signals completely disappeared so learning to understand and honor my natural hunger/fulness signals as they slowly return is new territory for me. 

Of course, when one is recovering physically (aka regaining necessary weight) we can’t rely on our body’s signals because they are skewed. We must eat a lot even when we’re not hungry which can be mentally challenging. I know that has been for me. 

At some point in recovery it becomes time to learn how to eat on our own. This is the place I’m in right now. I’m seeking to learn how to feed my body appropriately and adequately. That’s why I’m particularly inspired by Little Dude’s intuitive eating style and am asking God to return to me my natural hinger/fulness signals. 

 

 Be eager to pray!

From blessing over food to prayers during worship time, Little Dude was always the first one to pray. He prayed before we even nominated him and would go on earnestly asking God to bless both his family and ours. His eagerness to talk with God at every opportunity was an encouragement for me to do the same. I sometimes forget that it is my privilege to pray anytime. God is always there waiting and wanting me to turn to Him at every opportunity!

—————

And that’s it for today! I was blessed by Little Dude’s simplicity and innocence and think that I could stand to learn a bit from Little Dude in my quest for balanced health. Who knows? Maybe you could too. 😉

Until next time!
-J



Have you ever been inspired to personal improvement by a toddler? Do you struggle with balance in health? Have you ever felt the need to step back and simplify your approach to healthy living? Any thoughts on worry, balanced exercise, intuitive eating, sleep or prayer? Any other thoughts?

 

 

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