CHAPLAINS' CORNER: Learning to stay sharp

"Over There: March ARB Deployed" was the theme of this year's Military Ball at Raincross Square Riverside Convention Center.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Michael Blair)

Col. Robert Stormes, 452nd Maintenance Group commander, and his wife walk through a sword arch at March Air Reserve Base's military ball in Riverside, Calif., Nov. 20, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Michael Blair)

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. -- One thing that drives me nuts is having a knife with a dull blade. Unfortunately, most of the knives in my house are dull and in need of sharpening. However, it wasn't always that way.

When my wife and I were engaged and registering for wedding gifts, I remember taking hours trying to find the perfect set of kitchen knives. I didn't care too much about what kind of dishes to get or what color placemats, but what I did care about was how sharp my knives would be. I wanted my kitchen knives to make a samurai warrior proud!

Eventually, I learned that no matter how sharp your knives are when you buy them, you need to keep sharpening them on a regular basis for them to continue to function the way they were created. Knives were created to be sharp, yet as most things, over time, they become dull and lose their effectiveness.

Proverbs 27:17 says, "Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."

When I read that proverb, I can't help but think that we are all like a set of kitchen knives. We were created to be sharp, yet through the course of life, we feel ourselves getting more and more dull. The pressure of work, the monotony of life, complicated relationships, etc., all have their way of making us dull.

Without proper care, we will not be able to function in the way we were created. How, then, do we sharpen ourselves?

First, we have to realize no kitchen knife can sharpen itself. No matter if you are an introvert or extravert, you need someone in your life to help sharpen you. It happens in community. Second, we need to sharpen all areas of our lives: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

➤ Physical Exercise your body on a regular basis. The goal is not to become a world-class athlete, but to keep your body healthy and fit. Furthermore, watch what you eat and make sure you eat vegetables and fruit to compensate for the greasy pizza you ate last night.

➤ Mental If you are like me, at the end of the day all I want to do is veg out with the TV or do something mindless. While there is a time and place for this, we need to be careful to not go overboard with mindless activities. Let's keep sharpening our minds by reading a good book, studying something new or by having a stimulating conversation with a friend. Let's not be afraid to engage in some mental pushups!

➤ Emotional I know some of us are more emotional that others, but we all have emotions and we need to connect with our emotions on a regular basis. How are you feeling? Are you encouraged? Do you need to get away to the beach or the mountains or a place that feeds your soul? Do you need a vacation so you can relax and mellow out? Sometimes the people who can read our emotions the best are your spouse, friend, or even your supervisor. Don't be afraid to ask.

➤ Spiritual Who or where do you look for help in time of need? Let God speak to you through meditation, prayer, and scripture reading. Let's not neglect our spiritual lives and remember what this can do to sharpen our lives. Make time to pray, meditate, and read.

Grizzlies, if you feel dull and in need of a sharpening, take time today to sharpen at least one area of your life. Also, include a wingman! Ask someone to workout, have a stimulating conversation, give an encouraging word and say a prayer for them. We are all in this together and we can't afford to have any dull Airmen! Take time today to sharpen your wingman.