ZEST FOR LIFE
WHAT WE WANT TO LEARN AND PRACTICE:
This is the last week of the faculty of Zeal, or Enthusiasm. What we want to learn and practice this week is to celebrate life every day. Get high on life. Have a passion for being alive and sharing yourselves with others in healthy ways. We want to be spiritually motivated to live fully and successfully - but we want to understand the partnership between enthusiasm and order in our lives.
EVEN GOD TOOK A DAY OFF
You know, according to scripture, even God took a day off. (Genesis 2:2) "And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done."a
The faculty of Zeal is represented in the Bible by the disciple Simon. Suné Richards writes: "Simon the Zealot had been of the Zealot sect, a rebel party, heirs to the fighting spirit of the Maccabees. They saw taxation as slavery, and though their purpose was a righteous one since they wanted no other rule but God, they had not learned the folly of using their zeal in the unrighteous way of violence. Simon, who represents a fiery zealot with a cause, did finally become gentle and loving through his associations with Jesus and the other disciples, and he made the ministry his life's dedicated work. Because of his nature, he always believed that Jesus had come to establish a kingdom on earth, and like others, he was sure that Jesus would eventually overthrow the Roman rule."b
Overzealous people tend to be overly active and overly involved in myriad projects; they have too many irons in the fire, lack healthy boundaries to others' demands and needs, and drive themselves at full speed ahead. Sooner or later, they often come to a screeching halt; they burn out or break down.
We must set positive priorities in our lives. We have to decide what is most important. We use our faculty of order. Order is a close partner of enthusiasm. Together they form a complementary, winning team.
So ask yourself, "Am I a human be-ing or a human do-ing?" Am I able to shift into relaxation mode and stop thinking about work and talking shop? Can I take a sabbath for my spirit, soul and body?
Because sabbath is not a specific day of the week. Sabbath is resting from our work, resting in God. Finding time and space to take care of the body, soul, and spirit.
AVOID CHILD NEGLECT
We want to avoid child neglect. Let the child in you out to play in safe, spontaneous, healthy ways. The birth stories of Jesus tell how King Herod wants to get rid of the child. The wise part of us (the Three Wise Men) wants to honor, respect and protect the child.
How are you treating the child in you? Are you giving that child plenty of rest, good food, protection from the elements, and a loving, nurturing atmosphere in which to live and grow and play? Or are you opening a space for the King Herod in you to kill the child.
WHAT DO I DO FOR FUN?
What do you do for fun? One woman came to her minister, tired, drained, and burned out. The minister asked her, "What do you do for fun in your life?" The woman couldn't think of anything. It shocked her. She turned her attention to exploring that neglected area of her life. She talked with her family. They made out a big "Family Fun List" and put it up on the wall in the kitchen. She became healthier. Her family became closer and happier. Years later she said to the minister, "The wakeup call for me was that one question you asked me. It changed my life!"
FUN LIST: So tell me: "What do YOU do for fun?"
Name something you do for fun that's free - like a frolic in the park:
Name something you do for fun that's expensive - like a mud bath:
Name something you do for fun with another - like play games:
Name something you do for fun by yourself - like singing in the shower:
Name something you do for fun that's noisy - like playing a drum:
Name something you do for fun that's quiet - like praise meditation:
GET IN TOUCH
The lack of zeal or enthusiasm results in apathy, boredom, expecting others to do our work for us, and looking to outer events to entertain us. We can still "stir up the gift" of enthusiasm in us by using all our Twelve Powers to create an interesting and useful life each day.
Get in touch with other people. For many people, the only time all week they are able to get hugs is when they come to church. We live in an a-part-ment society where we get out-of-touch. We know how essential it is for the health and normal development of babies that they be touched. We grown-ups also need genuine contact that is safe, friendly, and energizing.
So get out from in front of your television and go do something with other people. Have you looked at the event list for the local senior centers? Have you looked at the calendar of events for our church? Go do something with other people!
Then there is music therapy. Music, like most of the other positive prescriptions I am giving here, stimulates our joy, relaxation, serenity, excitement, pleasure, health, and vitality. All the prescriptions here release endorphins, those powerful, opiate-like, feel-good chemicals produced in the brain that relieve pain and produce euphoria. Have music that you like in your life. There are all kinds of music to enjoy; maybe you will want to dance or move to music.
ROOM WITH A VIEW
You need a room with a view. Patients who see green grass and trees out of their hospital windows get better sooner and have less pain following surgery than those who look out on a wall. Look out the window, take a walk around the block or to the park. See a tree, birds, rain, clouds, the moon, or stars. Seeing something of nature is revitalizing. Put plants, flowers, or some type of beauty around you. An aquarium in your home or office can be refreshing and peace-giving. It can be as simple as stopping on the way to work and picking up a single flower to put in a vase on your desk.
GETTING SOME LIGHT ON "S.A.D."- SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER
If you live in a northern area where you face dark, cold winters with long nights and short days, you may crave light and sun. If you have Seasonal Affective Disorder, you may want to plan a midwinter trip to a sunny vacation spot. It may well improve your spirits, moods and health for the rest of the season.
HE WHO LAUGHS - LASTS
He who laughs - lasts. (Proverbs 17:22) "A cheerful heart is a good medicine, ..."c A hearty laugh is "internal jogging." Read the comics in the paper - not just the serious stuff. Allow yourself to laugh. Get funny videos. Smile more. Be glad you are part of a happy, upbeat, spiritual community. Help keep your church peaceful, positive, and fun to attend. Bernie Siegel, MD wrote, "If God told you to be happy for the rest of your life, what would you do?"d Think about it.
Is your recreation re-creating? Do you "shift-gears?" Thomas Harris, MD, said in his book, I'm OK - You're OK, that we need two hours of fun every day to stay mentally and physically healthy.e Two hours of fun. Are your vacations restful, fun, adventurous, and spiritually satisfying? Do you look forward to your vacations to have renewal, fun, and adventure? Do you plan mini vacations often? Is regular meditation a daily practice of spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, relationship renewal for you?
GIVE YOURSELF A-WAY
Give yourself a-way. Volunteer for the health of it! People who volunteer and tithe of their time and talents are healthier. It is sometimes called, "The Immunity of Samaritans." Their immune systems are stronger. They attract prosperity and abundance of good. Service to others is an excellent antidote to the blues, loss, grief, boredom, low self-esteem, and loneliness. (Genesis 2:18) Then the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; ..."f
ENTHUSIASM MOTIVATES AND MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
Divine enthusiasm or Zeal in us helps us avoid both burnout and boredom, so we live fully and productively according to our divine destiny in wholeness and service.
There is a rhythm to the universe. Everything is ceaselessly vibrating, moving, pulsing. It is a dance, a symphony of life. Even rocks are a part of a living planet. Know for yourself, "I am one with the upward, onward progression of life." When we are spiritually motivated, we do not have to strain and drain to attain. The very rhythm of all that is carries us forward in life.
Our enthusiasm and forward progress in life doesn't come from trying to pump ourselves up, but rather from centering ourselves in our inner Power and letting it move through us. Then, we are motivated by the God-Spirit within. Then we are in the driver's seat rather than driven by conformity, greed, peer pressure, fear, or threats as the "motivators." We drink from the nourishing springs of divine enthusiasm that inspire, refresh, and renew us. This is especially important in a long-lasting relationship, job, school, or any affiliation. Things can get dull, stale, and routine. We need to be refreshed so we can stay lively and vitally engaged.
Motivational speakers and seminars are everywhere today. We all have been inspired and uplifted by some motivational speakers. We need to remember that "motivation" comes from "motives." It means, to move to action. Where are we moving to? What are our motives?
Stephen Covey wrote a landmark book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He wants to restore the "Character Ethic" to our motivational and success efforts.g He is a Mormon who researched through 200 years of success literature in America and found that, until recently, success was taught in terms of things like "integrity, humility, fidelity, temperance, courage, justice, patience, industry, simplicity, modesty, and the Golden Rule." But after World War I, he sees the motivation or motives shifting from the "Character Ethic" to the "Personality Ethic." It became more popular to use your mind and behavior to get what you want. So, you look a certain way, act friendly, listen to others to get ahead and get rich. While we can certainly be helped by developing our personalities, communication skills, self-image and positive mental attitudes, Covey wants us to go deeper to our basic goodness or essence. He believes we must work from the inside out with ideals and a strong commitment to character development and service to humanity
So, Zeal is intensity, ardor, enthusiasm - the inward fire of the soul that urges us onward. Zeal is the affirmative impulse of existence, its command is "Go forward!" But... "Take time to be holy." Turn a portion of your zeal to do God's will; to the establishing of His kingdom within you.
Let it be your way
dBernie Siegel, MD
eThomas Harris, MD, I'm OK - You're OK
gStephen Covey The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People