Being comforted and feeling safe and warm and all things fuzzy inside is a big part of feeling healthy.  I’ve seen on the news lately where they have a specialist give words of wisdom on how to keep our minds healthy during this time of hibernating in our usually busy world.  All sorts of thoughts and fears attack us and certainly rock the boat and destroy our comfort level, sending many of us into a sea of despair floating too rapidly downstream…

However, during any sort of storm we often take comfort in things that are not good to take comfort in!  Let’s look at a few of those things and offer some substitutions:

Food.  While we all love comfort food, too much of it concentrated over time, without a balance of the healthy stuff leads us to feeling sluggish and overweight and depressed.  Once the comfort of the taste and the smell are gone, we feel bad that we ate that huge bowl of ice cream or mashed potatoes, and then we feel guilty.  We can ask for an accountability partner, or just make sure we only buy a minimal amount so that we cannot overeat.

Reading.  I love to read and escape and get away into another story other than my own story at the moment.  Reading is wonderful!  However, when we choose to read rather than connect with our family, reading can become hazardous for the health of those we love.  We cannot tune out others in favor of a good story.  Instead, we can set allotted time for reading per day, and then close the book and put it away.  Setting a timer, keeping a log of chapters read per day, can get us back on track with connection instead of rejection.

Television.  Movies are great - especially on a stormy night – with a big bowl of popcorn on our laps.  I think they’re one of the best relaxation things to do!  But we know that we need to be careful what we watch, and if we spend half the day on the sofa instead of moving, this comfort can become an unhealthy “inactivity” that causes us health issues down the road.  And overeating can occur, as well.  So it’s helpful to dole out proportions and schedule movie times, just like we did when we actually went to the theater!

Reading and praying.  How could we ever do too much of reading God’s word and praying?  I believe some do.  Both are necessary, effective, and good and result in good things.  However, sometimes we can become a recluse, overbearing and finger pointing, if we’re not careful.  Words of judgment can come out of our mouths against our leaders, our city, and even at our family – if we think too highly of our religious order of things.  We can balance our prayers to God with our demonstrations of love for our family through serving and playing and giving.

Exercise.  People that frequented the gyms or trails or were actively involved in sports can now find themselves obsessing over long walks, demanding time to themselves to exercise at home, and forcing their self-image routines onto kids and family time.  Exercise is fantastic and healthy, but if our motivation is solely to look good to feed our vanity – and not mostly for health – it becomes evident to those around us.  And we become unpleasant.    Instead, we can exercise when it’s a good fit for the family activities, we can ask the family to join us and tone down our intensive workouts, and we can practice a lot more breathing and smiling and laughing…all good for the soul.

All of the above things are wonderful.  I love them all.  But obsessing, to find our own comfort level at the expense of putting others aside, makes those things edge over into the destructive side of life.  If balance is an issue that we struggle with, we can pray and ask God to show us how to consider others, relax and trust, and enjoy all things in moderation and fun.


What Comforts You?
by Marcy Lytle

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