A lot of our health, both emotionally and physically, is determined by what we consume. It’s not just the food we eat. It’s much more than that.

The dictionary gives four definitions for the word consume:

(1) To ingest food and drink (as in, “Americans consume way too much sugar.”)

(2) To use up a resource (as in, “Our house consumes 30 percent more energy in the Winter.”)

(3) To completely destroy (as in  “The forest fire consumed 30 houses in its wake.”)

(4) to be consumed emotionally (“Carol was consumed with guilt.”)

There is little doubt that the food we eat has an effect on our health. But are there other influences in our lives that hurt us? What else are we swallowing?

Are we sapping our strength by feasting on depression or lethargy?

Are we devouring outside influences that destroy our determination and hope?

Are we drinking the dark ales of guilt, anger, hate, and fear?

We would never consider drinking poison, yet so many of us willingly allow poison to enter our minds. Reports of war, religious rants of impending doom, and, just to bring it closer to home, statistics on survival rates of leukemia victims.

Another source of poison can come from friends or even family. Do you have ‘toxic’ people in your life? You know, people who are too needy, or always angry, or even turn their anger towards you?

I try to stop consuming the various toxins around me. Though I’m intested in politics and world events, I spend a lot less time listening to the news. I surround myself with friends who are happy most of the time and sad only some of the time. I have friends whom I can support and be supported by. If someone is angry with me, I try not to focus on that, but instead pray for him and calmly look for ways of resolution.

Being a middle child, I always tried to fix things and took on other peoples fears and worries. But one day, my little brother – one of the bravest men I’ve known – said to me, “Jim, there is a God, and you’re not it.” When ever I start trying to mediate I stop and remember his wisdom.

So, the bottom line of this rather long post is: don’t consume, or be consumed by, the toxic people or influences that come your way. Deal with what you can and let go of the rest.

W. Bartley put it succinctly in a short rhyme:

For every ailment under the sun
There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it;
If there be none, never mind it.

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