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Chap Chats: How's Your Spiritual Health?

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February is American Heart Month. The Department of Health & Human Services reports that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. Every year, one in four deaths is caused by heart disease.

The good news? Heart disease can be prevented if people make healthy life choices. A major contributor to heart health is living an active lifestyle. Another is what you choose to feed your body on a daily basis. The reality is that what we put in our bodies has a direct effect on our physical health. Praying_Hands_Bible.png

Just as we need to take care of the physical heart by making healthy choices, we also need to care for the spiritual heart in much the same way. Spiritually speaking, the Bible refers to a person’s “core” as the heart. Take, for example, Proverbs 4:23; in this verse, King Solomon provides sound advice, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

If we don’t take care of our heart, what we allow in will take root, grow and eventually manifest itself into our lives. Such things as anger, resentment and bitterness can build up, plug the arteries of our spiritual heart and ultimately shape how we live.

Last week, the pastor at our church challenged us to conduct a “spiritual check-up” by examining what we allow to enter through the entry points of our heart. He gave four questions to ask ourselves:

#1 What am I putting in my EYES? 
#2 What am I putting in my EARS? 
#3 What am I putting in my MOUTH? (What am I putting in my body?)
#4 Whom am I allowing in my CIRCLE? (Whom am I allowing to influence me?)

This month, as the focus turns to all things heart related, from Valentine’s Day to heart health, keep your spiritual heart in mind, too.

Try completing your spiritual-health assessment by reserving a few minutes to write your answers to the four questions above. When you have the answers, circle the ones that you know are negatively affecting your heart.

Then, take responsibility for your spiritual health by making the decision to live as healthily as possible, starting with properly caring for your heart.

About the Author
As our Corporate Chaplain, Sheldon Miles serves as, what he calls, “an emotional and spiritual first responder.” His primary responsibilities include encouraging the weary, providing care sessions for the discouraged, and reinforcing Love (v) with our CAREGivers and support staff. 

When asked what Love (v) means to him, Sheldon said, “Love (v) is not about what you get to receive but about what you get to give. It’s about living your life and following the model given to us by the greatest Love (v) teacher who ever lived …” To that point, Sheldon cited John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down his life for his friends.”

In addition to advocating Love (v) to others, Sheldon walks the walk. He outwardly displays our eight Attributes of Love (v) in his daily interactions with our CAREGivers and support staff, who are invited and encouraged to reach out to him to discuss personal and professional matters that may be weighing on their hearts and minds, from marital issues and financial matters to workplace conflicts and even the loss of a client.

Sheldon comes to Home Instead with 25+ years of experience in the pastoral ministry, most recently serving at a local church in De Pere, Wis. He and his wife have two grown children, both of whom live out of state pursuing burgeoning careers. In their free time, Sheldon and his wife enjoy spending time together outdoors and staying active; in fact, Sheldon has competed in 12 marathons … and counting!


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