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story.lead_photo.caption The cover of Ronnie Floyd's book Living Fit: Make Your Life Count by Pursuing a Healthy You, released June 2018.

Northwest Arkansas' Cross Church pastor Ronnie Floyd has met and ministered to many people whose daily lives were out of balance in one or more aspects, but that can be addressed from a spiritual perspective.

He counts himself among those who have needed to get an area of their lives back on course.

Living Fit: Make Your Life Count by Pursuing a Healthy You, Floyd's latest book, is intended to help others learn how to find that balance and navigate life with a healthy and spiritual approach.

Split into five topics -- spirituality, physical health, relationships, finances and emotional health -- Floyd emphasizes the importance of viewing one's life as a Christian from a holistic perspective. He likened the need to monitor these aspects to a car dashboard with five gauges.

"You don't really pay attention to but one or two of [the gauges]: your fuel gauge, if you're wise, and your speedometer, which obviously would be wise," Floyd said. "And sometimes we don't even pay attention to some of those [gauges] until they start blinking, or we get an alert, or the car ... breaks down."

In Living Fit, which was published last month, Floyd shares his story of growing up in Texas with a schedule steeped in athletics, including twice-daily workouts as a football player in high school. As that gave way to college and graduate studies, marriage, family and pastoring churches, Floyd said after substantial weight gain he could no longer ignore his physical health -- something he said ministers commonly do.

"Typically, we don't want to be involved in this or that [vice], so pastors a lot of times will say logically, 'Well [there's] one thing I can do -- eating can be my vice, this is where I can get my relief,'" Floyd said. "Before you know it, you're walking through life X number of pounds way beyond where you ought to be, and it affects every way you see yourself, every way you think about yourself, and even all of your decisions and the way you operate."

Floyd said getting back on track involved increasing his physical activity -- exercising six days a week -- but also asking himself some questions: "Am I the healthiest me that I can be? And what does healthy mean to me? What does that look like for what God has given me in my life and in my body?'"

The goal of living fit, said Floyd, is not to feel guilty or strive for complete perfection across all areas of life, but being "the best person God wants me to be."

"Nobody conquers all disciplines," Floyd said. "You can find the most disciplined person who might look ... amazing, but I promise they work at it. And it's not easy and they will slip, they're going to slip and sometimes we need to slip in some of those things. But [on] the other side of it, the key is being on top of [being disciplined] most of your life [as] best you can."

Viewing life holistically also means realizing how one aspect can affect the others for better or worse. Floyd emphasized an extra call among people for emotional health, saying that without it, conditions such as ingratitude, a sense of entitlement, discontent and skepticism can take hold of a person.

According to Floyd, a lack of emotional health leaks into other areas of life, and that a lack of health across all aspects can be seen by taking a look at society.

"You look at the country today, and you see all of the volatility right now," Floyd said. "Why is all that happening? Well, we got a lot of unhealthy people out here.

"We've got to give a great call to people [to become healthy] whether they're Christian or not. ... But the key is we've got to see the gauges and know how healthy or unhealthy we are, because if we don't ever know where we are we can't know where to go.

"That's really the heartbeat of what I've tried to tell people in the book -- is that there's a way for you to get there. And your health is not going to look like everybody else's. But God has a great future for you, and you've got to go find that -- and the healthier you are the more you're going to be able to realize your life."

Special to the Democrat-Gazette

Religion on 07/07/2018

Print Headline: Living Fit: Healthy should include body and soul

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