Hello Beloved! Last week we considered the role and significance of our spiritual and natural eyes. We also noted the unique vulnerability of our eyes to deterioration on account of heredity, nutrition, lifestyle, age and gender. We learned of the risk factors and symptoms of the leading cause of blindness, Age-related Macular Degeneration and once again gave the call to schedule a Comprehensive Dilated Eye Exam. This week we want to share tips for protecting your natural and spiritual eyes from disease.
Protective Measures for the Natural Eye
Step 1: Know that your eyes are vulnerable. This awareness will help you to proactively and intelligently plan for their protection. Heredity, nutrition, lifestyle, age and gender are all factors that impact the health of your eyes. Consider each factor (as it is unique to you) and its relationship to your eye health in your partnership with an ophthalmologist.
Step 2: Visit your ophthalmologist as recommended. Ensure that you are transparent with her about any changes in your vision. Also, be honest about your general health. Don’t take it upon yourself to determine which information is relevant to your eye health and which is not. Share openly and let her do what she has been prepared and called to do, i.e. help you take care of your eyes. If you have diabetes you should go every year. If you are an African American, 40 years and older, an adult over the age of 60 (especially Mexican Americans) or have a family history of glaucoma, you should see your ophthalmologist every 2 years. (https://www.cdc.gov/features/healthyvision/index.html).
Step 3: Pay attention to your family history. Begin to have conversations with loved ones about their eye health. In doing so, you will gain a better understanding of your risks for eye disease and raise awareness of the importance of eye health in your most intimate circle of community!
Step 4: Eat for eye health. Good food is both delicious and nutritious. That means we get to delight as we gain the benefits of good health it helps to secure. “Eat right for your Sight” by Jennifer Trainer Thompson and Joanna M Seddon is a resource recommended by the American Macular Degeneration Foundation. It provides guidance on what foods are best for maintaining eye health and creative recipes so that you will enjoy eating them! The New York State Department of Health also shares some insights you can begin incorporating into your diet in order to promote eye health. Check it out here: https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/0911.pdf.
Step 5: Amplify the impact of healthy nutrition by coupling it with regular exercise. Exercise is especially helpful in that it works to reduce the likelihood of other lifestyle diseases known to impact eye health, i.e. obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes, among others. Learn more about the CDC’s recommendations for exercise here:https://health.gov/paguidelines/moveyourway/materials/PAG_MYW_Adult_FS.pdf.
Step 6: Give up smoking and avoid places where there is a likelihood of exposure to secondhand smoke. Ready to kick the habit? The CDC has free resources to support you in making this life-affirming change: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/quitting-resources.html?s_cid=OSH_tips_D9404.
Step 7: Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV light. The American Academy of Ophthalmology shares: How to Choose the Best Sunglasses: Six Things to Consider.
Protective Measures for the Spiritual Eye
Step 1: Know that your eyes are vulnerable. The environment in which we live can influence the health of our spiritual eyes. This environment is comprised of people and shifting circumstances. With respect to the people in our lives, we must rely on the Holy Spirit’s help to rightly position and treat with those people who occupy our spheres of influence. Who belongs? Who is an intruder? The ones who belong will sharpen you as iron sharpens iron and fuel your faith in Jesus Christ, through their words and actions. (Proverbs 27:17 and Hebrews 10:24 - 25). With respect to shifting circumstances, we must place our confidence in our unwavering God so that we do not become anxious and discouraged and submit our concerns to Him in prayer. (Isaiah 26:3 and Philippians 4: 6 - 7).
Step 2: Prioritize communion with your God. As an ophthalmologist is the only one who can determine the health of your spiritual eyes, so the Holy Spirit (God living within you) is the only One who can determine the health of your spiritual eyes. Invite Him to search you and know your anxious thoughts. Invite Him to create a clean spirit within you, so that you may be counted amongst the pure in heart who see God. (Psalm 51:10 and Matthew 5:8) Spend time with Him in solitude and silence. Put it in your calendar. Do it daily.
Step 3: Feast on the Word. It is a lamp unto your feet (so that you may know where you stand) and a light unto your path (so that you may know where you are to go). (Psalm 119:105). It is the entrance of light that chases the darkness and gives understanding to the simple. (Psalm 119:130) It is the double-edged sword that reveals our inner thoughts, providing the groundwork for repentance. (Hebrews 4:12 - 13). It is God-breathed, useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV).
Step 4: Amplify the impact of the Feast by living the Word. It is in the exercise of the Word, i.e. our daily obedience of the Word, that we come to live in the blessedness of God. Live the truth you know. (James 1:22 - 25). Do not grow weary in doing so, for you will reap if you faint not. (Galatians 6:9).
Step 5: Rely on the grace of God to reject sin and cling to Christ.
(1 Corinthians 10:12 - 13 and Galatians 5:24 - 25).
Happy temple building!
Take care. Bless many.
Jeanette Bailey is a believer in Jesus Christ, who believes that health, wellness, healing and wholeness is obtainable with a Christ-centered and evidence based medically sound approach. Her life's mission is to help individuals, families and communities
Carolyn Sinclair McCalla is a daughter of God, with a passion for encouraging women to embrace the fullness of God's love for them in Jesus Christ. She leads the Be-Held Community: a group of women seeking, living and being transformed by the truth of God’s Word together. She is excited about this addition to the Be-Held Community, which will provide practical, sustainable, Christ-centered and well researched resources to support women in cultivating a life of holistic self-care: spirit, soul, and body.