Over the last few decades we have increasingly left natural light and fresh air out of our lives. Man now constructs buildings with no windows at all. Already many of our schools have classrooms with no windows and our children are studying in artificial light and artificial ventilation. Research indicates a lower level of academic performance among children who must learn in these conditions. We now have hospitals where the sick are supposed to get well with no fresh air and sunlight whatsoever. There are office buildings where people work all day under artificial light breathing artificial air and go home at night feeling totally drained and irritable. The windows we do have are covered with blinds, shades, shutters, curtains, and drapes that many people keep closed during the day as well as at night because of fear, lack of privacy, ignorance, or better television viewing. We are crawling into dark man-made holes and wondering why we don’t feel up to par.
The only explanation I can find for this trend is that man, left to his own devices, will shut God’s wonderful natural ways out of his life, even as he tries to “improve’’ on them. Man’s ways can never be better than God’s ways. You can have everything—the best food, water, plenty of exercise—but without enough fresh air and sunshine you will not have total health.
LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE
What about you? How do you live? Do you live in a dark house? Do you keep the shades drawn all the time? Do you work in a building with no windows? Are you awake all night and sleepy all day? Do you spend time daily in the fresh air and sunlight? If not, then come out of the darkness into the light because you are not living the way God intended you to live.
SUNLIGHT IS MEDICINE
Sunlight is a powerful healer, tonic, germ killer, remedial agent, and relaxer, especially when it is used in conjunction with the other seven steps. When you spend time in the fresh air and sunlight, your body drinks in their life-giving elements. Scientists are now discovering a great connection between light and health. They have found that natural light has a very significant effect on our immune system. Light is already being used for treating various diseases of the blood and skin, and for curing certain kinds of depression and nervous disorders. The value of sunlight for the sick has been demonstrated by hospital experience. They are finding a larger percentage of recoveries in rooms having abundant sunlight, and especially those that allow fresh air to circulate.
When the sun shines on the skin, the nerve endings absorb energy and send it throughout the entire body. This calms the nerves. We’ve all experienced how a few hours spent playing at the beach or working in the garden can make you feel like taking a nap. Another reason for this is that when the sun hits your skin it manufactures vitamin D in your body and then works as a great natural aid to calcium absorption. Calcium soothes the nervous system—this is why anyone suffering from insomnia or sleeplessness would greatly benefit from twenty to sixty minutes out in the fresh air and sunlight daily. Sunlight is one of the greatest sleep inducers, especially when you combine it with any form of physical exercise. If you were to spend ten to twenty minutes out in the sun gardening every day, your entire being would show favorable changes. You always sleep better at night when you spend enough time in fresh air and sunshine during the day.
LIFE COMES FROM THE SUN
Fresh air and sunlight are life giving and that’s what we’re after. We want more life, not sickness and a daily dying in our physical bodies. Without fresh air and light, we, along with all forms of life, would die.
There are hidden life-promoting qualities in food that is grown and ripened in the sun. Many of these wonderful healing properties can be obtained just by eating sun-ripened fruits and vegetables. The tremendous restorative powers in such foods serve to bring about great strength in the body. Because food grown in the sun is absolutely essential for life, try to see that fifty percent of each meal includes fresh fruits and or vegetables. If you have sunlight on the outside and sun-grown foods on the inside, you will have wonderful, glowing health.
In plants the sun produces chlorophyll, which is a wonderful healer and cleanser in the human system. In fact, it has been said that chlorophyll is “life from the sun.’’ That is why you’ll hear so many nutritionists and health-minded doctors recommending steamed beet tops, chard, spinach, parsley, endive, or red-leaf lettuce in your diet. All that natural chlorophyll is healing and cleansing.
There was a period a few years back when my husband and I had time to tend a garden. We dug up a large portion of our backyard, brought in some fertile soil, planted and grew all our own vegetables. It was greatly invigorating to work outdoors in this garden every day and it was wonderful therapy for the whole family. We had much success and the garden yielded huge amounts of beautiful sun-kissed vegetables. Whatever we wanted for lunch or dinner, we went out and picked from our garden just prior to preparing it.
Not only was gardening a fulfilling experience for all of us, there were incredible physical benefits besides. I noticed that my fingernails were the strongest and the longest they had ever been; my skin was exceptionally clear and healthy in color; my hair became thicker and had an exceptional sheen; I slept more deeply and soundly at night than I had ever slept before and I never woke up tired; I felt strong and energetic all the time; and people constantly commented on how rested and healthy I looked.
The results I experienced were also noticeable in all of the other members of my family. There was such a difference that I knew we were on to something: eating fresh fruits and vegetables, grown and ripened in the sun and picked just before eating, had miraculous healing and rejuvenating effects. And this is the way God has always intended us to eat.
Later, when that period of our lives ended and it came time for us to travel, keeping a garden that required daily care became impossible. But I found within five miles of our home a wonderful fresh-fruit-and-vegetable stand that, between April and November, sold fresh fruit and vegetables picked that day. It’s not quite as good as having your own garden, but it’s certainly worth the trouble to get the benefits of fresh foods grown and ripened in the sun. Search and see if there is not a place like that near you as an alternative to buying foods that have been picked prematurely and ripened artificially.
PHYSICALLY ACTIVE IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS
As you become healthier and healthier (living peacefully, eating food the way God made it, exercising regularly, drinking plenty of water, fasting and praying, and getting good rest), the greater your desire to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine. If, on top of that, you can engage in some kind of physical activity while you’re outside, it is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Any activity you do outside, even walking, increases your inhalation of fresh air. But realize that there is less oxygen in hot weather than in cold. That’s why you are more alert and active on a crisp fall day than you are during a heat wave. Avoid exercising outside in any extreme weather: if it’s too hot or too cold, stay inside. If you live in an area that has polluted air, stay inside on bad days and make doubly certain you are out soaking up the fresh air and sunlight on clear days.
BALANCE, BALANCE, BALANCE
People develop different kinds of problems from too much sun and then blame it on the sun itself. Actually the problem is their own toxic body that couldn’t handle the sun and their lack of wisdom as to how much sunshine they should get. God made man to be out in the sun. God also gave man enough sense to come out of it when it gets too hot. Some people go to extremes and bake in the sun, damaging their skin. Others look as if they’ve never seen the light of day because they do not go outside at all. Again there must be a balance. The rays of the sun give energy and life, but too much is destructive. Overexposure and sunburn are harmful and can cause a toxic reaction in the body. There are other health problems (not the least of which is skin cancer) that can occur from constant overexposure to the sun.
It’s important to make a distinction between periods of fresh air and sunlight becoming a natural part of your life and lying in one position on the beach for hours and hours. I am not urging you to run a marathon on a hot smoggy day or to swim when it’s snowing. I’m speaking of nice pleasant days with no extremes—be out there in them, enjoy them, and breathe in deeply. They are beautiful days that the Lord has made; rejoice and be glad in them.
FITTING IT INTO YOUR LIFE
Getting enough fresh air and sunlight did not come naturally to me. I was never one to go outside, especially on a daily basis. I rarely saw the light of day through most of the year, and then in the summer I would bake, burn, and peel my skin in a matter of six weeks. When I first began to be aware of how God intended us to live in sunlight and clean fresh air, I had to write it into my schedule. That sounds absurd, I know, but I found that I wasn’t the only one: many people in my classes had the same problem. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to do this step, they would just forget. So I started giving them a weekly schedule, and each day they had to spend ten to twenty minutes in the fresh air and sunlight. This helped them to establish new patterns of living and to break old habits. The same is true for you. You may have to write it into your schedule so that you will remember to spend time in the fresh air and sunlight every day.
If you ever feel yourself getting frustrated, irritable, or in need of a new attitude in general, try going for a walk outside in the fresh air and sunlight. You may come back in twenty minutes feeling like a new person. “No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun”.
Adapted from: GREATER HEALTH GOD’S WAY. Copyright 1999 by Stormie Omartian. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used with permission.
Stormie Omartian is the bestselling author of “The Power of a Praying” books (more than 4.5 million copies sold), Stormie, and Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On. Stormie and her husband, Michael, have been married for more than 28 years and live in Tennessee.
Have you tried diet and exercise programs only to find them less than completely satisfying? Well – now author and fitness expert Stormie Omartian provides a creative and practical approach to developing your mind, body and spirit. Drawing on her own experience, Stormie outlines seven steps to good health in her book GREATER HEALTH – GOD’S WAY.
This article also appeared in Faith & Fitness Magazine April/May 2008. Copyright © 2008 Faith & Fitness Magazine and Lifestyle Media Group. Faith & Fitness Magazine is a lifestyle resource to build physical and spiritual strength. It helps readers make connections between the Christian faith and the fitness lifestyle. To contact the publisher of Faith & Fitness Magazine, Brad Bloom, for reprint permission, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.