Feeding your Temple: Body, Mind, and Spirit

Feeding your Temple: Body, Mind, and Spirit

In college, I was quite the busy-body. I found my self-worth in participating in every possible activity, club, and organization. I was in the band, played tennis, and a member of student council. I was also a member of the student television news station, volunteered with the Chapel every Sunday, and I pledged a sorority. Can you say, “busy?!” The less I slept, the more meals I skipped, and the more coffee I drank, the more valuable I felt.

I was not taking care of my temple. Instead, I was abusing it as if that was a way to win God’s approval. As I write this now, it sounds so silly. I’ve matured a lot. But in my younger years, I had some serious insecurities and lacked self-worth. I literally hated everything about the body I was in. I hated my mind, I hated my body, and I hated my spirit. As a result, every part of me was mistreated by…me.

Thankfully, I’ve learned a lot since my college days. I’ve learned that there is nothing I can do to earn God’s love and make him value me more than He already does. How could I forget that He was the one who formed me in my mother’s womb? How could I forget that He created me in His own image? How could I not honor Him by taking care of the body, mind, and spirit that He formed—in detail—when He created me?

Since taking care of myself was a completely foreign concept to me, it didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t wake up one morning and begin eating healthy meals and taking time for myself. I truly struggled with how to start valuing and treating myself like a daughter of The King.

“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that are as healthy in body as you are strong in Spirit.” — 3 John 1:2

 

God is glorified when we take care of the temples He gave us, and it is important that we do so in body, mind, and spirit.

Feeding your temple: BODY

In college, I was barely eating. I skipped meals to make time for all of my activities, and when I did eat, I only ate cereal, ramen noodles, and fries from the dollar menu at fast-food restaurants. Talk about nutritious! However, I realized that I wanted to be energized to do work for God’s Kingdom, but the way I was fueling my body was leaving me tired, weak, and lethargic. It was time for a diet change.

If you’re active on social media and spend your life online—like most people do—you are most likely aware of the constant pressure to eat healthier, lose weight, and feel your best. However, with my focus being on God’s glory, I chose to change my diet to ensure that His temple that He created was thriving. He is my motivation for healthy living – not how my body looks.

So, if you are looking to make some changes in how you feed your temple, here are a few tips:

Take time out to prepare three healthy meals a day. Breakfast is as important as lunch and lunch is as important as dinner. It is so tempting to skip a meal when we are on-the-go, but we are truly doing ourselves a disservice when we do this.

Start small. It can be overwhelming to change every eating habit at once. Start with breakfast. Set an alarm for 20 minutes earlier than you normally get up to allow yourself time to prepare and eat a nutritious meal.

If you have a sweet tooth like me, look up healthy alternatives online to satisfy that craving. My go-to is a chocolate peanut butter smoothie that is made with raw cacao powder and organic peanut butter. Super healthy and super delicious! It doesn’t have to be hard to feed your body delicious, nutritious meals. You will feel more energized and your body will thank you.

Feeding your temple: MIND

I believe that this falls under the category of taking time for yourself. Let’s face it. We are busy people. This society thrives on “busyness.” I fell into that trap in college and I still have trouble with it today as a wife and mom.

Things have to get done! There is no time for myself! Sleep? What is that?

Sound familiar?

However, if we neglect sleep and fail to take time for ourselves, our minds become cluttered. And, I realized that when my mind is cluttered, I struggle to hear God and stay in tune with His presence. I am here to glorify the Lord through my every step and if I can’t hear Him, due to a cluttered mind, how can I glorify Him?

I recommend writing down areas in your life that you can see as mind clutter. For me, it’s social media, my busy schedule, and a constant need for perfectionism. Once you figure out what your areas are, write down ways to clear your mind from these things.

I’m going to make a commitment to find time every day to be social media-free. I am going to commit to saying “no” to something on my agenda that just isn’t important and replace that time with something a bit more relaxing.

What commitments can you make to clear your mind? Whatever they are, write them down to help you stick to them. Place Post-It Notes around your house with your commitments. Set reminders on your phone. Write them down in your planner. Ask an accountability partner to remind you of your commitments.

Feeding your temple: SPIRIT

Finally, it is important to feed your spirit. It is the spirit of The Lord that lives inside of you. It is the spirit that God intricately created that makes you, YOU. It is your relationship with the Holy Spirit. Feeding this area of your temple is so important.

However, can I be honest with you? This is the hardest area for me to feed and keep healthy. Can anyone else relate? Why is it easier to scroll through social media than it is to open our Bibles and receive the Truth?

I’ll be the first to admit that planning a healthy meal is much easier for me than devoting time to my relationship with God. I am so thankful for God’s grace and strength in this huge area of weakness for me.

One thing that has truly helped me in this area is getting connected in my church community. Serving in the Church and being a part of small groups Bible studies are both ways to fuel my spirit. They are great ways to ensure that I am taking time out to refresh with The Lord.

However, alone time with the Lord is equally as important and should be a part of our daily lives.

One of my favorite ways to incorporate alone time is to worship in the car while I am driving. No phone, no distractions, just me and the Lord.

While working on your relationship with God, keep in mind that we are not earning God’s approval by spending more time with Him. We cannot do anything to make Him love us more. We are strengthening our relationship with Him because He desires us so much! Don’t let the enemy turn your efforts into a guilt trap when you fall short, because, the truth is, we will always fall short. We are human.

Our Heavenly Father gave each of us these beautiful temples that were made in His image. It is imperative that we take care of them and treasure them just as He treasures us. When we do so, we are making ourselves even more available for Him to use us at His will for His glory, and we are fueled and ready to live the lives that God has called us to live.

What are some healthy ways that you use to feed your temple? Share them below.

Dying While Black

Dying While Black

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An African American man in a hospital bed. Studies show that pain in African American patients is often not addressed.
pixelheadphoto/digitalskillet

Several years ago, MapQuest directed me on a 10-hour drive to visit my father in a Florida hospital. Complications from diabetes, including blindness, kidney failure, congestive heart failure, and a below-the-knee amputation, had taken their toll. This time my father, 69, was hospitalized for an infection of unknown origin that physicians could not name, despite their many attempts to grow cultures.

I did not know it at the time, but my father was dying.

Once I arrived at the hospital from Durham, North Carolina, I could hear his screams from the nurses’ station. “Never mind. I hear him,” I told the nurse whom I had just asked the location of my father’s room. “I’ll follow the sounds.”

That any patient would be left in so much pain that his screams could be heard down the hall was unacceptable to me. That this patient was my father, a man I had always known as a big, strong former football player – the kind of man other men didn’t dare cross (but who was also loving and gentle) – was difficult for me to process. Yet, here I was, being guided to his hospital room by the sound of his cries. Despite being a trained philosopher with an interest in bioethics, I had not yet begun to think about the ways in which racialized health disparities manifest even at the end of life. My father’s excruciatingly painful process of dying was but one example.

The author with her father, John Wesley Wilson, on Easter Sunday, 1977.
Yolonda Wilson, CC BY-SA

Gaps while living, gaps while dying

It is well documented that African-Americans experience excess mortality, or deaths beyond the expected mortality rate. However, even if disparities in the mortality rate for African-Americans were rectified tomorrow, the fact remains that we will all eventually die. And how we die matters.

According to a 2013 Pew Research survey, 72 percent of American adults have given at least some thought to their end of life wishes, with 37 percent of American adults having given their end of life wishes a “great deal of thought.” Some of these wishes include decisions about pain management, maintaining quality of life, and whether to continue aggressive medical treatment for terminal illness.

Additionally, research shows that people tasked with making treatment decisions for loved ones who cannot express their own wishes sometimes experience distress about watching their loved one suffer. Even months or years later, they wonder whether they made the “right” decision.

Pain ignored

Black patients generally receive worse pain management in primary care environments and emergency rooms. Even black children are not treated for their pain to the extent that white children are. Some attribute this to false beliefs about biological differences between black and white patients, including the belief that black people have “thicker skin” and, therefore, do not experience as much pain as whites. These false beliefs lead to inaccurate pain assessments by physicians evaluating black patients and an unwillingness to take the pain complaints of black patients as seriously.

This disparity in black patients’ pain management continues even as black patients are dying. Families often want to ensure that their loved ones are as comfortable as possible once patients reach the point where death is near. Racialized gaps in pain management lead to a denial of humane comfort care that contributes to unnecessary suffering for black patients and their loved ones.

Symptoms ignored

Pain is ignored more in African Americans patients, and so are symptoms.
9nong/Shutterstock.com

Inadequate pain management is but one aspect of the lower quality of care that black patients report in general that affects when and how black patients die. In December 2015, 57 year-old Barbara Dawson was arrested and forcibly removed from Calhoun Liberty Hospital near Tallahassee, Florida, after she refused to leave without further treatment. Although she had been evaluated in the hospital, she was discharged despite her continued complaints of difficulty breathing. Hospital personnel apparently assumed she was faking her symptoms and called police to arrest her for being disruptive. Dawson collapsed before she could be placed in the police cruiser and was returned to the hospital where she died an hour later from an undetected blood clot in her lungs.

Dawson may or may not have been at the end of life when she arrived at the hospital. However, hospital staff allowed her condition to deteriorate by not taking her complaints seriously. She died only feet away from people who could have, at minimum, eased her process of dying. The hospital was later fined US$45,000, and Dawson’s estate settled a lawsuit against the hospital for $200,000 in 2017.

Less interaction

Dawson’s experience is a dramatic and appalling case. Nevertheless, one groundbreaking study revealed that physicians generally interact less – both verbally and nonverbally – with black patients who are dying than with white patients who are dying. At the end of their lives, black patients do not receive the same comfort care, including eye contact and touch, from physicians that white patients do.

The U.S. health care system can improve care for all patients at the end of life. However, this system still denies black patients the kinds of interventions that white patients often take for granted. This denial contributes to more painful, horrific deaths of black patients and compounds the grief of their loved ones.

In my father’s case, even as part of me still hoped for a miracle, the thing I wanted most in the world was for him to be as comfortable as possible. That this did not happen despite my best efforts still haunts me when I think about the end of my father’s life.The Conversation

Yolonda Wilson, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Howard University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

8 Ways to Pull Yourself Up When You’re Going through Hell

8 Ways to Pull Yourself Up When You’re Going through Hell

 

We don’t mean to lie, but when someone asks us how we’re doing, it is much easier to say that we are “fine” or “blessed” than to tell the whole truth. The reality is that we are not always fine. There are times when we are going through hell. We face personal hell—conflict in close relationships, failing health, toxic work environments, financial struggle, church hurt, and other distress. If that wasn’t enough, in the age of moral decline, we are also going through hell in the social and political landscape of our lives with political maneuvering, state-sanctioned violence against Black people at the hands of police, pervasive patriarchy and gender inequality, and racial disparities in education, employment, healthcare, and housing. Even if you are not distressed personally, with increased access to information, we are constantly bombarded with bad news, which can wear on our hearts and minds. Whatever hell you are going through, we offer these eight suggestions to pull yourself up:

  1. Breathe: In times of stress and hardship, notice your breathing. Often when we are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, our breathing tends to be shallow. Research has shown that deep breathing lowers stress, heart rate, and blood pressure. A simple breathing technique to try is to sit upright, shoulders relaxed, arms resting by your sides, with your eyes closed. Inhale through your nose for five counts, then exhale through your mouth for five counts, repeating this process 3-10 times. If you find yourself in a persistent state of hell, make time daily for deep breathing to help release tension and stress. Deep breathing won’t make the issues go away, but it will calm you and clear your mind to face the issues.
  2. Pray: In moments of trial, prayer is beneficial for many reasons. First, it invites us to pause and connect with God—to be reminded that we are deeply loved and are not alone. Second, prayer gives us an opportunity to release our burdens to the One who is able to bear the weight of all that we carry. Lastly, prayer reminds us that the hell we experience on earth is no comparison to the joy we will experience in the eternal presence of God, filling us with hope and power to forge ahead despite what we are facing.
  3. Phone a Friend: In addition to divine connection, human connection is vital to our well-being. In particularly burdensome times, talking with a friend—whether via text, telephone, or in person—has a way of lifting your spirits. Be sure to connect with friends who will listen deeply and empathize with you; I am reminded of the story of Job in the Bible when he was going through hell and his friends showed up. They cried with him and sat with him in his pain. Their presence comforted him greatly and did not become a nuisance until later in the story when they began to insert their thoughts and opinions about what he was going through instead of simply being with him.
  4. Play: In our culture and society, play is viewed as children’s business or trivial, but I would argue that play and movement are necessary for well-being, especially when in the midst of hardship. Think about it: In elementary school, even the most stressful days and bickering amongst friends was cured by a game of kickball, double-dutch, or running around on the jungle gym. Recreation has a way of creating us again and invigorating us for life. My preferred play is running. Join a pick-up game of basketball, head to the bowling alley with friends, or dance with reckless abandon with your children. Whatever you do, allow yourself to engage in an activity that brings you joy and gets you moving!
  5. Count Your Blessings: There is something about a posture of gratitude that helps to encourage us. When going through hell and everything seems to be going wrong, recounting the aspects of life that are going well and the people and things we are grateful for is an instant mood lifter. There is a saying, “I have more to be thankful for than to complain about” and when we think about and name our blessings, the pressure of our problems is allayed.
  6. Repeat a Mantra: Mantras are typically not associated with Christianity; however the word mantra simply means to think. It is a thought, word or phrase repeated to inspire, motivate, ground, or calm an individual. A mantra can be a quotation from Scripture that encourages you to persevere through tough times or a phrase that cultivates and strengthens your faith and resolve in times of suffering. I have a friend who when faced with obstacles that appear insurmountable repeats the mantra, “God is bigger!” It’s has helped her get through many distressing situations.
  7. Extend Yourself Grace: Sometimes we can be especially hard on ourselves, even when we are going through difficult times. The reality is that the expectations we have of ourselves we would never have of others if they found themselves in situations that mirror our own. When I am going through hell, trying to keep things together, I find it helpful to treat myself the way I would treat a friend. This means reminding myself that I’m doing the best I can or permitting myself to rest. It also means speaking kindly to myself when I fall short.
  8. Recognize that this is temporary: In the moment, it often feels like the hellish experiences that we are having will last forever, but the operative word in the phrase going through hell is “Going.” When facing various trials and tribulations, it is important to remember that where we are is not where we’ll always be; There will come a day when this hell will be a distant memory, and a testament to your grace, strength, resilience, and resolve.

End-of-Life Decisions an Act of Justice

End-of-Life Decisions an Act of Justice

Not long ago, I was sitting at the bedside of my mother as she lay in a hospital bed in the critical care unit on a ventilator. With a tube in her throat, her voice was silenced. We had no idea who she wanted to make decisions for her. We didn’t know her wishes should she experience a decline — we didn’t even know if she wanted to be intubated in the first place. In this case, her right to make decisions about her healthcare was not stripped of her but rather was not exercised.

As a justice-seeker and end-of-life spiritual care practitioner, I often bring up advanced care planning to my family’s dismay. My mother had been reluctant to have any conversation about it, shrugging me off, quipping, “Just make sure they don’t put any makeup on me in the casket.” Thank God, she has recovered and is doing well, but the reality is that she, like many African-Americans, do not participate in advanced care planning and making end-of-life decisions.

Poet and social activist Langston Hughes wrote, “There is no color line in death.” Yet, when it comes to advanced care planning and end-of-life care, the color line is obvious. African-Americans disproportionately engage in advance care planning and utilize hospice and palliative care at lower rates than whites, thus affecting the quality of life as death approaches. The reasons are myriad: cultural factors, economic concerns, negative perceptions of hospice and palliative care, and mistrust of physicians and the healthcare system. African-Americans have a strained relationship with the healthcare industry rooted in historical facts such as the exploitation of Black bodies for medical research throughout American history, such as the Tuskegee experiment, a decades-long “study” on African-American men with syphilis performed without informed consent and leaving the disease untreated, even after an effective cure had been found. Also, embedded in this lack of advance care planning and underutilization of hospice and palliative care is the theological understanding that pain and suffering are part of God’s plan for our lives. There are many people I have encountered in my work in hospice and in church ministry that bear unnecessary suffering, whether physical pain or emotional burdens because they believe that is their cross to bear. This is not solely my experience, but a widely held belief that hinders patients from managing their pain and families from receiving the additional services that would ease their burden of care.

Besides, we’re living our best lives and who has time to plan for healthcare crisis or think about death?

But what if living our best lives means considering healthcare decisions and end-of-life planning? What if making healthcare decisions is not merely a matter of physical health, but a matter of justice? In addition to racial, gender, economic, and educational equity, quality healthcare is a justice concern. And I would argue, given my particular role as a hospice chaplain providing spiritual care and emotional support to patients and families during end-of-life, that advanced care planning and comprehensive end-of-life care are part of quality healthcare. In the National Hospice and Palliative Care “Outreach to African Americans Guide,” Dr. Richard Payne, Professor of Medicine and Divinity at the Duke Institute of End of Life Care wrote, “Hospice offers the best hope not to be alone, to be with family, to have pain controlled, and to be connected to your faith and beliefs. We are as entitled as anyone else to have these hopes fulfilled.”

If Black lives matter, and they do, then one way we proclaim that we matter is by exercising agency in our healthcare, including making decisions about who can speak for us when we are unable, whether or not we want aggressive treatment such as resuscitation and intubation, and how we want to be treated at the end of life. Given the historical exploitation of Black bodies in medical research—often carried out without our consent or after death—raising our voices and making our own decisions related to healthcare is an act of resistance, declaring our dignity and worth in a country where our personhood is devalued a daily basis.

I hear you. People of a certain age should engage in those conversations and make their healthcare decisions known. But I’m young, I’m healthy, and I’m living my best life. I have plenty of time before I have to think about advanced care planning.

Just as there is no color line in death, there is also no age line. Crisis, disease, terminal illness, and death can come at any age—including in your twenties and thirties. And while healthcare decisions can be made at any time, the best time to make healthcare decisions is during times of calm, clarity of mind, and relatively good health.

Not sure where to start? Here are some practical suggestions:

  1. Consider: Reflect upon what quality of life and a good death means for you. Think about the person who would best speak for you in the event you cannot make decisions for yourself.
  2. Voice: Use one or more of the many tools available (living will, power of attorney, advance directive, or the Five Wishes document) to put your healthcare decisions on paper. If you have a chronic health issue, consider completing a Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) with your physician. When choosing a healthcare proxy, but sure to dialogue with them about your wishes and their ability to carry them out.
  3. Engage: Share your decisions with your loved ones and friends and encourage them to have the conversation and make their choices known. Move the discussion beyond your immediate circle to your congregation and community. As a matter of justice, the conversation on advanced care planning should be had far and wide.
  4. Revisit: Healthcare decisions will evolve as we do. It is important to note that these are not static documents, but that they should be revisited and revised as our lives and perspectives change. A general rule of thumb would be to revisit the document every ten years and with major life changes (marriage, children, the onset of disease, etc.).

Making healthcare decisions is not only wise for personal quality of life, but it also bears witness to the power of agency, advocacy, and the humanity of African-Americans. For some, it may seem like just a document, but for African-Americans, it is an act of resistance, and an act of freedom, and an act of justice.

For more information, visit theconversationproject.org.

Get Fit with These Black-Owned Businesses

Get Fit with These Black-Owned Businesses

One of the top resolutions on everyone’s list is losing weight and getting in shape. Working out can be no fun at all, but over the last few years people have created dynamic fitness programs that are fun and effective. Below is a list of not only the most fun and effective fitness programs but they are all black-owned businesses.

 KTX Fitness

workoutblackktx-resizeIf you spend enough time on social media you have most likely come across YouTube clips of Keith Thompson’s high-energy cycling classes. Thompson is the lead instructor at Atlanta-based KTX Fitness, an enterprise that specializes in helping people meet their fitness goals in a fun atmosphere. It is not uncommon to see Thompson dancing alongside cyclers as some of today’s top urban and hip-hop songs blast from the speakers. His cycling classes blend calisthenics with cycling to create a high-impact aerobic workout in which individuals burn approximately 1000 calories and ride approximately 15 miles, but cycling isn’t all that KTX Fitness does. They also have step classes, total body workout classes and a bootcamp. The majority of KTX Fitness class are held in Atlanta but Thompson also travels to bring the cycling classes to different cities such as DC, NY,  Cincinnati, Toronto most recently and more. For more about KTX Fitness click here.

Mr. Shut Up and Train

workoutblackmrsut-resizeAnother Atlanta-based fitness expert who you may have seen on social media is Rahman Grayson aka Mr. Shut Up and Train. The Mr. Shut Up and Train moniker might be familiar to you because of your  friends who participated in his free fitness challenges. Through his fitness challenges, Grayson crafts a workout plan that forces people out of their comfort zones and into the training zone. Yet he seeks not only to whip people into physical shape but he trains minds to pursue and accomplish goals that seem impossible. The free workout plans are but a small portion of Grayson’s work toward creating fit and healthy people. He also offers personal training services everyday people and athletes and celebrities alike. For more information about Mr. Shut Up and Train click here.

Black Girls Run

workoutblackbgr-resizeBlack Girls not only Rock but they Run too and they have been running under the Black Girls Run banner since 2009. Founders Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks created BGR in an effort to tackle the growing obesity epidemic in the African-American community as well as to provide encouragement to novice and veteran runners. Six years later, BGR has expanded to 69 running groups in 30 states across the United States with over 52,860 African-American women running. The organization commits itself as much to its veteran runners as it does to new runners. On any given run they suggest that novice runners find a “running crush”  and pace themselves with that person as a way to establish goals. As you can imagine, BGR fosters a sisterhood among women who begin as strangers and transform them into sojourners on the journey to optimum physical fitness. To find out about BGR runs in your city, click here.

Brukwine

workoutblackbw-resizeBrukwine is not for the faint of heart nor is it for those scared of the four-letter word “sexy” as it pertains to the female body. With that out of the way we can get into the grit of what Brukwine is. Created by dancers Tavia and Tamara, Brukwine is a Reggae/Dancehall-based fitness class that provides women with a total body workout while teaching them the latest moves from popular Caribbean culture. Tavia and Tamara are both trained dancers who, among other dance disciplines, studied dancehall in its birthplace of Jamaica and have toured the world and served as dancers for artists such as Sean Paul, Rihanna, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, and many others. Brukwine is currently only holding classes in New York. For more information on Brukwine click here.

So who will you workout with this year?

This list is far from comprehensive so if you know of any other black-owned business fitness please leave them in the comments.

How Spirit-Filled Thinkers Can Influence the Cut-Throat Healthcare Industry

How Spirit-Filled Thinkers Can Influence the Cut-Throat Healthcare Industry

Video Courtesy of Jerry Anderson


Dr. Shreni N. Zinzuwadia, a critical care specialist in Newark, NJ, quietly brings her faith into the emergency room every day.

“Whenever I’m resuscitating somebody in a cardiac arrest, I know that it’s not me. They’re either going to survive because God wants them to survive, or they’re not, because that’s just their destiny. I never think it’s me actually saving a life. I go into every single room doing everything I can to help them survive, and then, I know it’s not in my hands. I know it’s in the hands of a higher power,” said Dr. Zinzuwadia, a Christian and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School.

Being a person of faith and a leader in the medical industry can be challenging because the field is traditionally all about science and evidence-based medicine. People don’t talk about faith.

“I think it is frowned upon. We’re in a society that’s Christ-rejecting, so you are going to be the odd man out if you want to bring your faith into your practice. I keep it to myself, and I get a sense of each patient and see where their head is at. If I feel like there’s an opening to share faith than I do.”

Many aspiring healthcare professionals get into the industry because they genuinely want to help people. Some feel called to support underserved urban areas, others assist rural communities. But even the most dedicated professionals are starting to question whether the years of education and training were all worth it given the cut-throat decision-making when it comes to deciding who gets what care and how much is paid for it. On top of that, the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) reports that by the year 2020 the U.S. will face a shortage of 91,500 physicians. By the year 2025, that number is expected to climb to 130,600. Facing these daunting figures, it’s more important than ever to encourage Christians who are leaders in the healthcare field to boldly share their ideas in the spirit of transforming the industry to be more Christ-like – or, at the very least, to be more empathetic to people in need of care and those who serve them.

What’s really going on?

So why are doctors leaving what has traditionally been considered a highly respected and desired profession in one of the wealthiest countries in the world? In the article “Physicians aren’t ‘burning out.’ They’re suffering from moral injury,” Drs. Simon Talbot and Wendy Dean report that doctors are caught in the crosshairs between honoring their Hippocratic Oath and making a profit for stakeholders (i.e., hospitals, health care systems, insurers, patients, and doctors), often at the expense of affordable quality care. In their assessment, the need is great for courageous leadership willing to pave the way for physicians to perform their duties without the extra bureaucratic baggage draining the system.

“It’s routine for insurance companies to deny claims and make the hospitals and physicians work doubly and triply hard to get paid for services rendered. It puts us in such a position where we’re not getting paid, and insurance companies, specifically, have just decided they will not pay you what you’re asking for. Whatever you’re charging, they’ll arbitrarily decide they’re not going to pay you that. They’re going to pay you 30 percent of that. And there’s no platform or representative for doctors to fight them,” said Dr. Zinzuwadia.

The billing and insurance claims and coverage complaints are of particular concern to people of color, and African Americans in particular, who aren’t adequately represented in the medical field. In an NBC News article by Dr. Shamard Charles’ titled “The dearth of black men in medicine is worrisome. Here’s why,” Charles  explains that it’s crucial for more men like him to enter the field because black doctors are more likely to serve in underserved communities where there are higher rates of chronic disease and incarcerations are rampant. He’s convinced that more black doctors in the healthcare system may establish greater trust in the system and a stronger doctor-patient relationship in troubled neighborhoods.

So how do Christians turn things around and have an impact?

People in positions of power and influence need to encourage and develop Christian business leaders who are biblically and theologically trained. Men and women of this caliber must be able to navigate the complexities of the system while embracing a deep and vibrant faith in Christ in the face of an increasingly Christ-rejecting society. Spirit-filled individuals of this nature will most likely exhibit traits mirroring what is known as transformational and/or servant leadership.

Christians in healthcare can model a positive leadership style by living a life of integrity and working to change beneficial policies. Though there are many, at least two leadership styles have proven effective in influencing job culture — transformational and servant leadership. Numerous scholars, including famed author James MacGregor Burns, affirm the power and influence of transformational leadership, a widely regarded leadership style with the ability to enact impactful social change among individuals and cultures by motivating followers to become leaders.

Another famed servant leader, research scholar, Robert K. Greenleaf, believes that servant leadership is based on the heartfelt desire to serve others. This kind of leader is preoccupied with his follower’s development as a person over the actual job itself. It’s easy to see the two traits modeled in the Lord Jesus Christ and relayed through the centuries to the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The exciting news is that Spirit-filled Christians are empowered to live out these principles practically in positions of authority because of the indwelling Holy Spirit, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor 5:17).

Leonard Mlodinow, author of “Why you need to become an elastic thinker,”expertly captures the essence of what’s demanded of the modern workforce. He writes about the need for contemporary workers to become elastic thinkers or employees who can adapt quickly to change and can think openly about new ideas. This principle bodes well with healthcare industry business leaders who are no less challenged by the call to adapt quickly to uncertain market conditions birthed from emerging technologies. But the question arises, does elastic thinking complement or conflict with Spirit-filled living in Christ? The call is clear for Christians to have a mindset on Christ and a passion for being led by the spiritual principle “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2). Elastic thinking involves a great deal of mental exertion and time that can potentially rob you from experiencing the “peace of Christ that passes all understanding.” Yet, at the same time, it can be beneficial in sharpening your mind to approach problems afresh with a new perspective.

Christian healthcare business leaders have an opportunity to influence and shape the future healthcare system by being the catalyst who shape the culture by personal life example, policy recommendation, and administrative posturing. Healthcare business leaders can also reinvigorate the development of critical relationships between the Bible and theological training with the health profession.

“I think we should all be faith-based. We would all treat each other better, respect each other more. We’re a little more selfless in our interactions with people when we’re faith-based. I just feel like it should permeate everything we do,” said Dr. Zinzuwadia.


References

Charles, S., MD. (2018, August 22). The Dearth of Black Men in Medicine is Worrisome. Here’s why. Retrieved August 27, 2018,

Fibuch, E., & Ahmed, A. (2015). Physician turnover: A costly problem. Physician Leadership Journal, 2(3), 22-25.

Mlodinow, L. (2018, April 13). Why You Need to Become an “Elastic” Thinker to Succeed in Today’s Working World. August 26, 2018,

Rapaport, L. (2018, August 24). General surgeon shortage growing in U.S. August 26,

Talbot, S. G., & Dean, W. (2018, July 25). Physicians aren’t ‘burning out.’ They’re suffering from moral injury. Retrieved August 26, 2018.

Weichun, Z., Sosik, J. J., Riggio, R. E., & Baiyin, Y. (2012). Relationships between transformational and active transactional leadership and followers’ organizational identification: The role of psychological empowerment. Journal of Behavioral & Applied Management, 13(3), 186-212.

Yang, C. (2014). Does ethical leadership lead to happy workers? A study on the impact of ethical leadership, subjective well-being, and life happiness in the Chinese culture. Journal of Business Ethics, 123(3), 513-525. doi:10.1007/s10551-013-1852-6

Weichun Zhu
Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations College of Liberal Arts
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 865-9116
Email: [email protected]

John J. Sosik
School of Graduate Professional Studies at Great Valley The Pennsylvania State University
30 East Swedesford Road
Malvern, PA 19355
Phone: (610) 648-3254
Email: [email protected]

Ronald E. Riggio Kravis Leadership Institute Claremont McKenna College Claremont, CA 91711 Phone: (909) 607-2997 Email: [email protected]

Baiyin Yang, 
Department of Human Resources and Organizational Behavior School of Economics and ManagementTsinghua University Beijing, China 100084 Phone: 86-10-6279-6314 Email: [email protected]

Leonard Mlodinow

James MacGregor Burns, Burns, J. M. (1978). Leadership.New York: Harper & Row.

Robert Greenleaf, Greenleaf, R.K. (1977). Greenleaf servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness.Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.