July 23rd is at the height of what is called, the Dog-Days of Summer. It is in the middle of the long stretch of summertime heat which keeps going on and on. We wonder if it will ever end and if we will survive it.
Dog-Days of Summer is an odd name that has nothing to do with Fido stretched out on the floor at your feet, but rather, is about the star in the heavens which at this time of year shows its brightness (20x our sun) — Sirius in the Canis Major constellation — the Big Dog. It was once thought that this star compounded the heat of our sun, making these days/weeks/months of heat stretch on.
We have learned how to sustain ourselves through these dog-days of summer — drink plenty of water, keep out of the direct sun, take a dip in the pool, find the nearest AC.
But how are you sustaining yourself during these pandemic days/weeks/months? Always — in order to sustain — it is a matter of body, soul, and mind. So, let us consider these three.
We find ourselves being at home much more than usual due to the pandemic and the dog-days of high summer temperatures. In these times, we are spending much more time sitting in front of a screen — the smart phone, the computer, the tablet, the TV. Simple, everyday movement is much less. Be mindful of this and get up and move about — walk around and stretch. Get the heart pumping, the muscles moving, and your breath deepening.
In order to sustain yourself and not get down and exhausted in this long pandemic season, keep the body fit. Eat well and move well. But in order to do so, you must have a plan. If there is no plan, then what we eat is what we see at arm’s length, in the frig, or cupboard. Plan a weekly food menu. Get rid of the junk/no-value foods. Have at the ready, the quick pick up snacks of veggie sticks and fruit.
To sustain yourself through the long-haul, take care of your body; and also take care of your spirit and emotional self.
We all know that the media outlets are 24/7 and we can become consumed with the latest of the coronavirus and politics. How do you keep your spirit from plunging downward into despair or upward into outrage? A response may be to avoid the networks and cable media or those constant updates from your phone apps. However, if I totally avoid, I am also in the dark. I want to be informed for decisions I need to make and ways I need to be in prayer.
So, what to do…
Before engaging in the overwhelming amount of news and information, prepare your spirit and mind. Like the way you prepare your body for a physical workout, prepare your spirit before engaging the news of the day.
Many times a week, I have a workout routine to get my body moving. Before I start my workout, I do some stretching.
Some circles with each arm to get the shoulder joints loosened a bit.
Stretch the neck.
Shake the legs out.
Shake the hands out.
It wakes up the muscles — lets them know that some exercise is coming their way.
Ok, we are ready to go…
Then I begin the push-ups, the pull-ups, the deep squats, and add some weights for resistance and a healthy amount of cardio.
Before engaging in the workout of hearing what is going on in the news or engaging in conversation and debate on social media, make sure you have done some stretching to warm up and engage your spirit. Otherwise, your spirit may freeze up, just like an un-stretched muscle seizes up causing sharp, deep pain.
Several scripture passages which stretch the spirit and lift head and heart toward heaven:
- Isaiah 40:26-29 — Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name…The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.
- Psalm 8:3-5 — When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place— what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor.
- Philippians 3:13 — Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
Anytime is a great time to step aside from the screen to do some moving of muscles. Anytime is a great time to step aside from the overwhelm of the news cycle and breathe and pray and keep your spirit in balance. Look to the heavens and be inspired to keep moving forward into the call of God in Christ Jesus.
On the Road with Christ,