Take Care of Yourself

By Elaine Baldwin | @elainehbaldwin

This week’s One Another Living Challenge is to take care of yourself. In fact this is not just the challenge this week, but throughout your life.

Now it may seem strange for a challenge which is supposed to be others focused to admonish people to take care of themselves. Let me tell you I thought it strange as well when the idea starting forming in my heart and in my mind.
Such a challenge seemed to be the very antithesis of putting others before ourselves.

This challenge comes from a personal challenge from my daughter. I was sharing with her the frustration with my on-again-off-again healthy lifestyle efforts.

Me: “I know I need to lose weight and exercise. It will make my life so much better.”

Daughter: “And you can live longer with me.”

Me: “Uh?”

Daughter: “If you continue to be overweight and inactive you may not live as long and that takes you from me sooner.

Pretty selfish if you ask me.”

Dah! Of course I want to live as long as possible with those I love. But do I take care of myself like I really mean that? I don’t think I ever really thought of not taking care of myself as being selfish.

This presupposition of selfishness wasn’t new to me, but I never applied to my own unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Take my parents for example. My dad was a heavy smoker and died at the young age of 57. I was 19. He missed my college graduation, my wedding, knowing my husband, the births and raising of three of his grandchildren and growing old with my mother. Not to mention the births and raising of 13 great-grandchildren.

My mother did live a long life. She was 87 when God took her home. But she missed out on quite a lot too. Why? Because she was overweight and this caused her many health problems which kept her on the sidelines of many family happenings. She couldn’t get on the floor and play with her grandkids. She couldn’t walk to all the zoo exhibits or climb the steps to ride the tram. She couldn’t hike with our family or even take a walk around the block. Many of her limitations began in her 60’s and simply worsened until her death.

Like me, my parents never considered themselves to be selfish on this point. They just had some bad habits that were “too hard to overcome.” But, for years I harbored a level of bitterness toward my dad for leaving me too soon. I felt it was the ultimate selfishness to keep smoking and “forcing” me to watch him die from grueling lung cancer. And I also felt short changed by my mom because she was unable to “fully” enjoy my family.

Please don’t misunderstand. I love my parents dearly. I value all they were to me and all they provided for me. But I often wonder how much we missed because of their selfish decisions to keep smoking and keep overeating. All that wondering is mute, of course, unless I am wise enough to not follow their example on these particular issues. There are many other fine examples from my parents, but not their disregard for a healthy lifestyle.

The ultimate question is: Why should I take care of myself?

Answer: To live as long as God intends, to serve Him fully for as long as He intends AND to live as long as He intends for the one anothers around me, including my family!

Is this a good reason for you to take care of yourself? It’s not for you. It’s for those around you that you can be a minister of the gospel to them for a as long as God intends.

So, what harmful habit are you selfishly hanging onto? Can you give that habit to the Lord and take the challenge to take care of yourself this week and throughout your life?

photo credit: otisarchives3 via photo pin cc

The Millennial Church Exodus

By Elaine Baldwin | @elainehbaldwin

This is a unique weekly One Another Living challenge and not the type of challenge I will be asking you to consider often. But, when something comes across my path that is a practical application of one another living, I want to let you know about it and leave the rest up to God and you.

This is Caleb Jennings Breakey and his wife Birttney. I met Caleb online through our mutual membership in the American Christian Fiction Writers community.

ACFW members will recognize his name. He is a 2012 Genesis Award Finalist in the Speculative Fiction category. What you may not know is that Caleb also writes non-fiction targeted to his own generation-The Millennials. His first book is “Following Jesus Without Leaving the Church” and will be released by Harvest House Publishers in the fall of 2013.

But Caleb isn’t satisfied with just writing about the massive exodus of Millennials from the church, he wants to do something about it. We all know the 18-32 age group is leaving the local church in droves and many of us have sons and daughters among those who have left or are considering leaving. But how many of us are doing anything concrete about it? Maybe we don’t know what to do or where to even begin.

And that is where Caleb has taken up the challenge and is making a difference!

He wants to challenge Millennials not to abandon The Body of Christ, but rather to engage in the battle for The Church. He can do this as one Millennial to another. He understands their frustration and disillusionment because he’s been there. But he stayed in the battle and is impacting Christ’s Body to return to authentic discipleship in Jesus the Christ. He can’t do this alone and he is smart enough not to even try.

Caleb has set up a Webpage explaining his ministry and project needs. I tell you up front that one of the needs is resources. I am not challenging you to provide money to his project. That is between you and God.

What I am challenging you to do is go to this Link…read about what God and Caleb are pursuing and then ask yourself what are you doing?

What are you doing this week to make a difference in the battle for The Body of Christ? Who are you going to impact this week? Whose life is going to be better because they crossed your path this week? In fact, that is the bottom line One Another Living challenge for every week, not just this week.

What can you do this week to build up The Church? Are you up to this challenge?

I applaud Caleb for his passion, foresight and his solution minded vision. And I thank God for you as you choose to make a difference this week!

The A, B, Cs of Loving One Another, “I”

By Elaine Baldwin| @elainehbaldwin

Imitate Jesus. John 13:14   If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

If we did nothing else but imitate Jesus, we would have this love thing down and His Gospel would be known.

The Teacher didn’t worry about trivial things like where He was going to sleep. (Matthew 8:19-20)

The Teacher ate with tax collectors and sinners. (Matthew 9:11)

The Teacher didn’t grand stand or provide phony facades. (Matthew 12:38-39)

The Teacher is the only One who is truly good and He followed God’s commands. (Matthew 19:16-17)

The Teacher gave to Caesar what was Caesar’s and to God what was God’s. (Matthew 22:16-22)

The Teacher took care of those in His inner circle. (Matthew 26:18-19)

The Teacher slept in peace when the storms raged around him. (Mark 4:38-41)

The Teacher valued people over time. (Mark 5:35-43)

The Teacher was just in all He said and did. (Mark 10:35-44)

The Teacher wept. (John 11:1-45)

These are just ten of the many attributes of our Teacher, Jesus. It’s enough to keep me occupied for a while. How about you?


Photo By: Margaret Richards    http://richardsandcompany.smugmug.com/