Sometimes the Best Thing You Can Do for Your Health is Change Your Attitude {plus this week’s menu}

This past week found me crying in the library.

You see, I had another one last week – another migraine. No sooner did I say that I was feeling significantly better did I succumb to a migraine that even strong medication couldn’t put asunder.

I was defeated and frustrated.

A day or two after the headache finally abated, I had a routine dentist appointment and that day I had jaw pain and I feared another migraine. The last thing I wanted to do was sit with my mouth open and let someone clean my teeth. However, I went, and I’m glad I did.

I’ve been worried. I know something is “off” in my body, and I know that a lot of it is self inflicted through lifestyle choices and even food choices these last several months.

We can’t get pregnant, and some days I think about how far along I should be in pregnancy. I sit with an empty womb and imagine my belly the size of the pumpkin beginning to grow on the vine out back and think to myself, we’d be meeting our baby in a few weeks … if I hadn’t lost her.

But we did lose her, and we continue to trust God with our family size, and we continue to praise Him for all the wonderful blessings we receive each day. It’s like Jennie Allen said in her book, Anything, “We praise Him for the seemingly good and the seemingly bad because really, we don’t know the difference.”

So as I shared about the increasing pain in my jaw and the migraines that come once or twice a week and the chronic pain that threatens to take my joy, the doctor ordered an x-ray, an x-ray that would determine if this was self-inflicted (too) or degenerative in anyway.

The x-rays showed a completely normal jaw line. The same on both sides, strong and in line. Just fine when it comes to something happening TO me, and instead revealed something else I AM DOING to myself.

Stress. Anger. Worry.

Proverbs 17.22

“A joyful heart is good medicine.” ~Proverbs 17:22

As I lay on the sofa feeling sorry for myself, this verse ran through my mind. Over and over as if on repeat. I tried to push it away, but it kept seeping through the holes of self-pity, piercing my hardening heart.

I finally pushed back the blanket and said, “Fine. I’m in pain whether I lay here or not. I might as well fold the laundry and put my room back in shape…but I’ll try doing it with joy, Lord. I don’t want to, but I trust You.”

I chose joy in suffering by the grace of God. I chose to look to Jesus the founder and perfecter of my faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).

Jesus knows pain. He knows suffering, suffering far greater than mine.

And He did it with joy.

Through my faith in Him, His Spirit now dwells within me and it is that power at work in me to change me from the inside out.

When addressing my health, I know to go to the root cause of something, yet I’ve been chasing every symptom and ruling out issues one by one, not finding answers. I sort of hoped they’d find a degenerative thing in my jaw – at least then I’d have a firm answer, right? But they didn’t.

Instead, I ended up crying in the library because God knew the root cause of my sickness and He addressed it – gently, quietly with a fly buzzing around my head.

Dr. Asa in his book, Empowering Your Health, spends an entire chapter talking about our attitude. I was reading it in the library. Dr. Asa explained that emotions are powerful things, and for whatever reason, he chose to expand on anger in this particular section of the book.

The physical reactions that typically occur when you become angry are the following:

  • Cortisol production increases in the adrenal glands, which raises blood pressure and blood sugar levels, may cause infertility in women, and suppresses the immune system.
  • Fat storage increases.
  • Brain cells are killed.
  • Free radicals are overproduced.

Here I was reading a book trying to find an answer to my health concerns, a book I read many years ago when I found myself in this position, and instead of a nutrition and exercise plan, this single page in the book leaped out and brought me to my knees.

My attitude is making me sick.

change your attitude_edited-2
I felt the Lord speak to my heart as I looked up scriptures on anger sitting there on the leather couch with the smell of magazines and newspapers wafting the air.

There is nothing sweeter than conviction brought on by the Holy Spirit.

I never claim to hear the Lord speak audibly to me, but that day He spoke in the stillness of the afternoon break from the children my husband graciously gave me. I tried to get Him to hush. I didn’t trust that it wasn’t my own mind speaking, but He didn’t give up.

“Listen to me. Anger is the root of your health problems. All of these other things play a part, but the root is anger. You focus on putting to death anger in your life, and I will take care of your health. I have plans for your life. I need you to be well, but I need you to surrender all of you. I need you to focus on the refinement of your character, not your health.”

And there in the library with awkward stares and Bible laid open on my lap, I wept. I wept tears of repentance. I knew He was right.

“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” ~James 1:26

This was my takeaway verse that day. After wiping away the mascara, I packed my bags and headed home.

I went first to my oldest son and asked him for forgiveness. I told him Mommy had been angry in her heart and had sinfully acted out this anger toward him with her words. I hugged my baby boy and shared it all with my husband.

I had to go to bed early last night because I felt a headache coming on. I’m not healed, but I am on the road to recovery even if that recovery never reaches me until I enter Heaven’s gates.

God is far more concerned with my heart than He is my physical body, a body that will not go with me into Heaven. When Jesus performed miracles on this earth, He never healed the body without saving the soul.

Yes, I must steward my health well. There are steps I know I can take to get well, but nothing is more important than addressing my heart issues.

All suffering has a purpose. Sometimes it is to reveal sin in our lives. Sometimes it’s just a part of this fallen world. But always, it is to remind us of our need for a Savior.

I’m grateful for a God who never leaves us where He found us.

Christ is at work in my life refining me, and not even my health works apart from Him. He is in all things and we must surrender all of us to Him.

With that, here’s this week’s menu plan!

Emotions and attitude are powerful things when it comes to influencing your health. Change your attitude. Change your health! Plus get a real food meal plan for the week that includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas!

Breakfast

Monday – Egg Scramble, fruit, raw veggies, and nuts
Tuesday – Quinoa Porridge
Wednesday – Basic Soaked Muffins & Smoothies
Thursday – Oatmeal and fruit
Friday – Dried Berry Coconut Pecan Breakfast Cookies & Smoothies
Saturday – Peach French Toast
Sunday – Egg Scramble & Smoothies

If you want even more breakfast ideas, check out these 40+ Real Food Breakfast Ideas.

Lunch

Monday – Leftovers
Tuesday – Whole Wheat Pasta with White Beans and Spinach
Wednesday – Leftovers or Snack-y lunch
Thursday – Pasta Primavera
Friday – Picnic lunch {field trip day}
Saturday – Leftovers or Snack-y lunch
Sunday – Avocado, Hard-Boiled Egg, raw veggies and fruit

If you want even more lunch planning inspiration, check out these 30+ Real Food Lunch Ideas.

Dinner

Monday – Small Group
Tuesday – Glazed Mahi Mahi with Herban Rice (from Making Babies Book) & Salad
Wednesday – Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad, Bread, and Dessert {a reunion of friends at our house}
Thursday – Honey-Orange Chicken Skillet (from my 20 Minute Meals eBook) with salad and carrots
Friday – BBQ Nachos
Saturday – Pork Steaks with Lemon-Lime Pepper Sauce (from my 20 Minute Meals eBook), broccoli, and potatoes
Sunday – Family Party {taking salad}

Need some additional ideas for dinner? Check out these 30+ Real Food Dinner Ideas.

Other posts you might be interested in:

You can also see past menu plans here.

What’s on your menu for the week?

20 minute meals to save your sanity

This post contains my affiliate links. See my full disclosure policy here.

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13 Comments

  1. This really spoke to me today! I’ve been laying around giving myself a pity party and angry at my body lately. I have Lupus and it’s a struggle with a 19 month and 4 year old. I also need to make some lifestyle changes but my attitude has been horrible. Thank you for this post and your honesty.

  2. This post has made me teary-eyed as I read. Thank you for your honesty and humility in sharing your struggle and journey. I am thankful for God’s grace in your life and the insight He is giving you into what is at the root of the problem. Truly, Leigh Ann, I am just really thankful for how you are choosing to magnify God in this and testifying of His care for you. I’m praying for you tonight that He would restore your joy and that a “happy heart” would be the best medicine for you.

    1. Thank you, Lisa! He is certainly doing a mighty work, and I am so grateful. It’s certainly not an easy process, but I wouldn’t trade it for a thousand comforts. Praying for you too, sweet friend.

  3. Oh, I echo Lisa and I rejoice with you! Thank you for your honesty. So good to know we are not alone in needing healing in our soul. Repentance is not easy, but so needed! I had a moment with my husband this week where The Lord told me to “bare” all. It was so hard, but good. Praying for your restoration as well!

  4. I am suffering from chronic illness for 15 years and God knew I needed to read this. I went through a short time of being well only to have it come back, and now we feel God leading us overseas for treatment and whatever else He has for us there. But this time around, He had majorly impressed on me how important it is to be spirituallying healed as well. It all works together! God bless you girl!

  5. Absolutely! Anger is the root cause of many problems. It is very important to control our anger or else it can lead to a number of issues. Many a times it is seen that people tend to over react at petty situations, it is just because they are unable to control their anger on the right time. This ruins the environment and people even disconnect with you.

  6. I have struggled with chronic daily migraines for over 2 years now. Suffering does have a purpose in our lives, but it isn’t easy, especially when we just want to be able to serve our families. I hope you will keep us posted on your health journey and share anything that helps with your migraines in case it could help someone else too.

    1. I’m so sorry that you deal with them daily! 🙁 I will definitely keep the blog updated if I learn anything new. Right now I’m exploring adrenal fatigue and food allergies plus what I shared in this post. I feel like there are a lot of unknowns but also a lot that I do have to go on and I just need to take it one day at a time which is so hard. Like you said, I just want to be able to serve my family. However, God knows exactly how I need to serve my family! Walking in His plan is perfect even when it’s hard. That’s what I keep telling myself! 🙂

  7. Have you tried a chiropractor or Craniosacral therapist,or a massage therapist who knows myofascial release therapy? I have utilized all 3 after getting splitting headaches in the back of my head,and having jaw pain (I had a tongue tie reversed).