Friday, October 25, 2013

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”

October started off with a shameful 16 day Government shutdown -- mostly, irresponsible posturing and political showmanship from both major parties.  I know the shutdown had something to do (partially) with the battle over healthcare reform.  Even though I don’t know enough about politics or law to say what the future of the current healthcare debate will be, I do know enough to speak to our responsibility in being healthier as a nation.

The topic of Healthcare is close to home for our family.  Our youngest son has a serious, but treatable condition that completely blindsided us; it came from out of absolutely nowhere.  We will have to cautiously care for his unique situation, until he outgrows certain health-risks as he enters into adulthood.  While we thank God for our pediatric cardiologist’s special care, as a family we do our part, and we do all that’s within our power, to maintain our child’s health!

I know that medical research is necessary and expensive.  I’m glad I don’t lay awake at night worrying about polio, smallpox or the measles striking my family.  I also know not every illness is preventable or due to poor choices -- not to mention life’s unavoidable accidents and tragedies.  Most of the doctors are, on the whole, typically treating avoidable illnesses which we bring on ourselves through our laziness, poor diet habits & smoking.  Therefore, research and random/tragic events are not even remotely the cause of our current nationwide crisis in dealing with healthcare, as some say is the case.

Since you can’t personally reduce the escalating price of medicine, what can you do?  Perhaps we should all focus on what is within our control, and start taking the Bible more seriously.  

The Bible is filled with information on how to be as healthy as possible.  The Bible isn’t a selfhelp textbook, but woven within it are instructions on how to properly: Sleep/rest, eat well, nurture a healthy sexlife, balance work & family and still have a good work ethic, exercise, and the Bible offers many practical principles for reducing stress/conflict in all of our relationships.

Statistically, the majority of Americans have terrible sleep habits, 80% of us feel our jobs are stressful, and 25% of us feel work is the number one stressor in our life.  We overeat & hardly exercise.  And for too many, promiscuity is the norm.  I imagine most of our visits to the doctor’s office would be eliminated if we didn’t overschedule every waking moment, cooked up more of grandmother’s recipes, simply took better care of ourselves, and taught our young people to keep their genes in their jeans.

Americans need to reduce our sugar and fat intake, and we should quit trying to get our money’s worth at the buffet.  If you are still using tobacco products, please read the warning labels once more.  It costs nothing to take the stairs instead of the elevator more often.  Doing laps at Duck Island, riding your bike, or walking on the Greenbelt are all free too.  

Believers, let’s not lose our focus on personal responsibility, in this age of debating the government's role in healthcare.  No one is going to take responsibility for you, you alone have an obligation to do your part to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Look at your healthcare like a new-car warranty.  You wouldn’t run your car out of oil just because you have a warranty, so don’t mistreat yourself either.  Remember, insurance is like a safety-net on a construction site, it can catch you if you fall, but it’s not the foundation you are building your life on.

Regardless if all of your professional medical needs were provided for, you should still want to be proactive in caring for your body.  We have an obligation to be wholistically healthy, as Paul wrote, “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23 ESV)

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