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Steps to Being Emotionally and Spiritually Uplifted

By Gary F. Zeolla

 

A year ago I was not doing very well in regards to my health, my emotional state, and my spiritual state. But today (June 28, 2014), I am doing much better in all these regards. An article on my fitness Web site details the steps I took to turn things around health-wise (see Regaining Muscular Bodyweight and Strength). In this article, I will detail the steps I took to turn things around emotionally and spiritually.

 

Repenting of AK and NAET Involvement

 

AK stands for Applied Kinesiology (a.k.a. “muscle testing”). It is an alternative medicine diagnostic procedure. NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques) is an alternative medicine treatment for allergies. I discuss what is involved with both on my fitness Web site (see NAET Allergy Treatments and Applied Kinesiology). But a couple of years ago I added a note to the main page as to why I no longer recommend either. Simply put, there is NO logical or scientific basis to either of them, and they are dangerous, both physically and spiritually. I discuss these points in detail in the article Dangers of Applied Kinesiology and NAET.

In that article I state, “Could I have subjected myself to something demonic, and that is why I now doing so bad health-wise? I really don't know, but it does frighten me.” But what I didn’t do at that time but did a year ago was to REPENT of having been involved in these practices. And yes, I do believe it is a sin that needs to be repented of. The reason it is a sin is to turn to a completely unscientific and illogical treatment method for health problems is an act of desperation, and that is a denial of trust in the LORD. This I believe is the point of the following verse:

And Asa was diseased in [his] feet in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, until he was very diseased; but in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but the physicians (2Chronicles 16:12; ALT).

This verse has been the source of much controversy. There are some who say it teaches that seeking medical treatment of any kind is unbiblical. But I think that is taking things too far. The problem with Asa was, I believe, two-fold.

First, the physicians at the time were often more “witch-doctors” than medical doctors. In other words, they utilized ungodly spiritual practices rather than scientific methodology in their treatments.

Second, the verse says Asa “did not seek the LORD.” So he sought the physicians INSTEAD OF the LORD, not in addition to Him.

Putting that together, I believe this verse teaches we should seek the LORD first when health difficulties arise, and ask for His guidance when seeking medical treatments. And I believe He will only lead us to treatments that e will only lead us to medical treatments that are are logical and scientifically sound, without any unbiblical spiritual associations with them.

But that is not what I did. I knew AK and NAET were spiritually questionable, as I discuss in the aforementioned article, but I went ahead with them anyway. And I did not seek the LORD and pray about it. As such, all of that needed to be repented of.

Moreover, I learned how to perform the AK on myself. And AK can be used to “test” about just about anything health-related, or so I was led to believe. So over the years I would often use it to find out what I “should” do about anything related to my health. But it would often lead me astray. Moreover, I was using this silly muscle testing rather than praying about what I should do.

So I had to repent of all of that, and cease to use the AK, and that was a hard habit to break. But I did it. And now I pray to get direction in my life.

 

Not Giving God the Glory

 

I powerlifted rather successfully back in college, but as a result of health problems, ceased to do so in 1982. But then in April 2003 I started to compete again, and did rather well, despite now being in my 40s and suffering from many health problems. I continued to compete until June 2009, when my health worsened and I once again had to cease. For details, see the powerlifting section of my fitness site.

Through the entire time I was powerlifting in the ‘00s and gaining some acclaim as a result, not once did I ever mention the LORD or give praise to Him for enabling me to powerlift again. I just took the glory to myself, or worse, gave credit to the NAET treatments, despite the fact that by that time it was obvious I was getting worse as a result of the treatments, not better. For instance, I had two interviews with my local newspaper, but in them I did not mentioned the LORD at all, but instead sang the praise of NAET.

In other ways I missed opportunities to testify for the LORD as a result of my powerlifting prowess. At contests, when people spoke to me, being impressed by my performance, I never gave the LORD the glory. When I posted my workout logs and contest reports on my fitness Web site and in powerlifting forums, I never thanked the LORD for my progress or performance, despite the fact that one of the forums had several Christians in it that regularly mentioned the LORD in their posts. I guess I didn’t want to offend any non-Christians who might be reading my posts, since it wasn’t a Christian forum per se.

So this was another thing I needed to repent of:

23Thus says the LORD, “Stop letting the wise [person] be boasting in his wisdom, and stop letting the strong [person] be boasting in his strength, and stop letting the rich [person] be boasting in his wealth; 24but let the one boasting be boasting in this: to be understanding and to be knowing that I am the LORD, doing mercy and judgment and righteousness upon the earth, for in these [things is] My desire,” says the LORD. [1Cor 1:31; 2Cor 10:17; cp., Gal 6:14] (Jeremiah 9:23-24; ALT).

But now, as I am working out at a higher intensity, I am once again posting my workout logs on my fitness Web site, but this time I will mention the LORD when appropriate. If non-Christians reading it get offended by an occasional mention of the LORD, so be it, I ‘m not going to let that deter me from writing what I want in my own logs (see Full Workout Logs 2014 - ?).

 

Music

 

I discuss My Experiences with Secular and Christian Rock Music in a three part article on my Christian Web site. In that article I discuss how I have found Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) to be very spiritually uplifting, and it is. But I also mention how I was also listening to secular rock music, especially while I was working out. But this is related to the previous point.

I hadn’t listened to secular rock music for years prior to my powerlifting again. But I started to do so as I needed the hard rock and heavy metal to get me “psyched up” for a heavy lift, especially once I started working out alone in my home gym.  But I now realize this was another form of not giving the LORD the glory in my being able to powerlift again. It was He that had given me the ability to lift heavy again, but now, to do so, I was turning to an unchristian source for “inspiration.” And as I got used to listening to secular rock working out, I would listen to it at other times as well.

My “excuse” for doing so was there weren’t enough sources for or variety of CCM to listen to it all of the time as I listen to music much of the day. But I now realize that even an occasional listening to secular rock can be emotionally and spiritually depressing, and that contributed to my doldrums. But I have taken steps, or things have happened, to correct those perceived problems with listening to CCM all the time.

First, the only CCM being played on the radio in the Pittsburgh area where I live that I knew of was on WORD FM (101.5), but that was only on weekends. So I had my dial-type radio alarm clock set to “Wish” (WSSH, 99.7 FM, a secular soft rock station). But then one morning the tuning got messed, but when I tried re-tuning it in, I “just happened” to hear Christian music. I left it on that spot, but then looked for it on a digital radio to find out the exact frequency.

It was 89.3 FM. So I did some “googling” to find out what the station was. It was KLove. So I went to their Web site, and found out it had been around for years. I was upset that I didn’t find it earlier, but pleased to find out it was not just a Pittsburgh station, but is actually a nationally syndicated station. To find the frequency in your area, go to their Web site and type in your Zip Code. Or you can just listen to it on their Web site. So now I not only get woken up to Christian music, but listen to KLove most of the time when I have a radio on.

But more often, rather than a radio, I listen to music on my PC. For years, I had been using Rhapsody for music on my PC, both when I was working and working out. It has CCM, but not a lot of variety, and mostly softer rock, and KLove is only soft rock. That is why I listened to secular rock to work out to. But as I started lifting hard again, I realized I needed Christian hard rock. So to rectify this problem, I did two things.

First, I decided to go “old school” and asked my parents to get me a music box (radio/ cassette/ CD player) for my birthday in March 2014. And for such “old-fashioned” tech, it works very well. And I have over 200 Christian cassettes and over 100 Christian CDs, mostly hard rock, so that is perfect for my workouts.

Second, I recently got a smart phone for the first time (a Samsung Galaxy S5), and I was trying to listen to KLove via their Web site on its speaker while checking Facebook. But then for some strange reason, a notice popped up that headphones had been attached, and the speaker stopped working. I messed around with it for a while, but couldn’t get the headphones icon off or hear KLove. Pandora was on my phone, so I set up an account and tried it, but still no sound. Then I thought of just plugging in headphones and unplugging them, and the speaker worked again. Since I now had Pandora set up, I figured I might as well check it out. I was pleased to find it had an even greater variety and amount of CCM than Rhapsody, including much Christian hard rock and even white metal (a.k.a. Christian metal). So I now listen to it on my cell phone, and I switched to it from Rhapsody on my PC. And I even listen to it on my HDTV via my Roku. So that strange and frustrating occurrence on my smart phone proved beneficial.

So now, between KLove, Pandora, and my music box and old cassettes and CDs, I got plenty of CCM to listen to. So there is no reason to listen to secular music, and my emotional and spiritual state has benefited as a result.

 

Talk Radio

 

When I am working on my PC, I usually can only listen to music, as trying to listen to any kind of talking is too distracting, but not always. It just depends on what I am doing. And at various times away from my PC, I would listen to talk on the radio, most often conservative talk radio. I would mostly listen to WPGB, 104.7 FM. It airs Glen Beck at 9 am, Rush Limbaugh at noon, and Shawn Hannity at 3 pm. I’m not too thrilled with Glen, but I would listen to Rush and Shawn as often as possible.

I agree mostly with the points they make, but not so much with the way they say it. They can be rather sarcastic, dogmatic, and even brash. And that type of attitude can wear off on listeners. But that is not good for those of us who are called to defend our Christian faith, but “with gentleness and respect” (1Peter 3:15; ALT3).

But more importantly, their main point is that Barrack Obama is screwing up the USA. He is screwing up the nation’s economy; he is screwing up the USA’s foreign policy, and thus the USA’s standing in the world; his comments are contributing to the moral decline of the country, he is screwing up the nation’s health care system via Obamacare, and maybe worse of all, he is expanding the power of the Executive Branch far beyond constitutional limits. These are strong statements, but I mostly agree with them.

However, there is nothing I can do about it. So listening to such diatribes hour after hour, day after day is just depressing. So I stopped almost completely listening to talk radio, and listen to KLove instead. And since I have, my mood has definitely improved.

Now I do need to clarify. It is good to know what is going on with this country. So listening to such talk radio on occasion might be good. If it inspires you to get politically involved, fine, if that is what you believe the LORD wants you to do. But for me, that is not an option. So constantly being reminded about the terrible direction this country is going is just depressing. But by listening to KLove when I have the radio on gets my spirit uplifted, not dragged down.

 

The News

 

Similar to talk radio, is the news, be it on the radio, TV, newspaper, or Internet. Listening to or reading it can be very depressing, for a couple of reasons. First off, the news generally only reports bad news: “If it bleeds, it leads” is long-standing news motto. Second, much news is very bias, against both those who are politically conservative and against Christians.

To avoid the latter, I generally watch Fox News. But that got depressing for the same reason as talk radio. Fox often points out the horrible direction this country is going, along with detailing the many biases against conservatives and Christians in the mainstream media. And as a Christian and a conservative this can also be depressing.

For quite some time, I was watching, listening to, and reading a lot of news. I felt it was good to stay informed, and I actually found the fights between conservatives and liberals to be exciting to listen to. But along the way, I think all of the bad news and fighting was dragging down my spirit. So now I have cut way back.

In the mornings I will listen to the short news report on KDKA (1020 AM, the world’s first radio station!). And I record my local noon news (WTAE, an ABC affiliate), and watch it as I am resting after eating lunch. And most days I will take a few minutes and glance over the headlines on Google News, and maybe read a story or two. But that is it for mainstream news.

Otherwise, Fox News is my “default” TV station. By that I mean my TV is set to Fox News. So when I turn it on, I wait to see what they are talking about. If it’s interesting I might l watch for a minute or two. But that’s it. Then I’ll start a TV show. When that show is ended, I might once again watch Fox for a bit, but then I will start something else. In this way, I get the gist of what Fox is talking about, without watching so much as to get depressed.

It is good to stay informed. So I am not recommending not listening to or reading the news at all. But keep it limited and be aware of the bias that is in much of mainstream news.

 

TV and Movies

 

Most TV shows and movies are a cesspool. Immoral sex, violence, foul language, disrespect for parents, disrespect for the law, disregard for human life, disregard for the feelings of others, back-biting, bullying, lying, disparagement of God, disparagement of any sense of morality, and most of all, disparagement of anything Christian. For these reasons, many Christians do not even have a TV. And I can understand that approach, as that was me at one time.

But now, due to my health problems, I am forced to rest for many hours each day. I might pray or listen to Christian music for some of this time, but watching TV is really the only way to fill up the bulk of it. Through the years, I have tried to be as discriminating as possible in terms of what I would watch, only watching things that weren’t “too bad” while avoiding the worse. But as TV has gotten worse and worse, it has gotten difficult to find anything that is not offensive to watch. And watching such fifth can be spiritually depressing.

My Facebook friends will attest to the fact that there has been many times when I have posted about a TV series I had been enjoying but then was very frustrated when it took a decidedly immoral turn. This left me little to watch. But I have corrected that by giving myself more options as to what to watch, but it did cost some money.

First, I replaced my tube TV with a HDTV. That made my TV watching more enjoyable. I have a full cable package. But my DVR can only hold so much, so I had to limit how much I recorded of the 100+ HD stations. So I got a DVR Expander. This enables me to record any and every TV show that looks at all interesting. As such, I always have lots of recorded shows. So if I’m watching something and it offends me, I can just delete it and move to the next recorded show.

 Second, I got a Roku. This enables me to access a variety of Internet-based programming. And that gives me even more options for worthwhile things to watch. Most especially, I signed up for Amazon Prime a long time ago for the free two day shipping, but somewhere along the way they added Instant Video to it, which has lots of free movies and TV shows available. Since I was already paying for it, I figured I might as well use it.

Between all these sources, I am never “stuck” watching something immoral. I can even find many Christian shows, and many others that might not be Christian per se but are at least “spiritually neutral” meaning they are at least not offensive. And many of these shows are heat-warming or an adrenalin rush. Either way, they are emotionally uplifting.

Sports would fit this latter category. I find sports to be uplifting, in that if “my team” wins I rejoice, and it gives me a lift; if they lose, I just turn it off, shrug it off, and watch something else. If I were still competing I’d have the same attitude: rejoice and praise the LORD if I do well, but try not to let it get me down if I don’t do so well, but vow to do better the next time.

Pirates’ baseball fills a good bit of my TV watching time now. But once baseball season is over, I might sign up for Parables.TV. It is a streaming and OnDemand Christian Internet service. I already record a Parables movie each Saturday off of Daystar, a Christian cable station. And they are always excellent and very spiritually uplifting.

The point is, much of TV can be emotionally and spiritually depressing.  But this can be avoided if you give yourself enough options. You can even find programming that is uplifting. It might cost some money, but it is worth it if you’re going to watch much TV.

For much more on this subject, see the new section on the Web site: TV and Movies.

 

Conclusion

 

Repenting of things that need to be repented of, turning from sinful habits, turning to the LORD for direction in life, giving God the glory in all you accomplish, listening to uplifting music while avoiding depressing music, limiting listening to how bad things are in the world today, and doing what is necessary to avoid filling your mind with ungodly thoughts from TV and other media sources while watching uplifting programming. These are the steps I took to turn my emotional and spiritual life around, and they are steps anyone can take.

 


Steps to Being Emotionally and Spiritually Uplifted. Copyright 2014 by Gary F. Zeolla.

The above article was posted on this Web site June 28, 2014.

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