Did you know that God cares about your whole health, not just your spiritual health? Perhaps because our whole health can impact our spiritual health (and to a degree vice-a-versa).
In Exodus 18, Moses hears that his father-in-law is in town: “Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. And they asked each other of their welfare and went into the tent” (Exodus 18:7 ESV). Welfare here is also translated as well-being, health.
In the third letter of John, he writes: “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul” (3 John 2 ESV).
So our welfare, well-being, and good health matter to God.
A healthy soul, and a healthy mind and body (as far as it’s up to you), gives us strength and endurance to live for God’s glory, help us flourish in the stress, prevent or bounce back from illness, endure the ups and downs of life, and serve God, family, and others with our best.
How can we have a healthy mind, body, and soul? Weave these T. H. R. E. A. D. S. into your life.
I’m a firm believer in Christ-centered, Bible-anchored therapy. I’m also an advocate for medication. Personally, I’ve seen a therapist and taken medication for years. They have served me, and therefore my family and church well. At the same time, therapy and medication don’t have to be a life sentence but to get you through a tough season. Also, join a church small group, and/or connect weekly with a church community of dear friends. Still, while close community with others can be therapeutic, a professionally trained Christian therapist is equipped to better get at the core issues.
A hedge is a barrier, a boundary. You have to set a hedge, or boundaries in your life. Boundaries around your time, energy, availability, and emotions are a must. If you don’t set boundaries, someone or something else will. “No” is a complete sentence, says Anne Lamotte. Perhaps say no to your phone, emails, and social media during specific blocks of time. Regarding emotions, Lamotte says to think of your life as having an emotional acre. You get to choose who is allowed on that acre and for how long. Put a hedge around that acre.
God created Sabbath for our rest, refreshment, relationships (beginning with Him), and restoration. One day a week detach from work, social media, emails, mindless shows, and let your body, mind, and soul rest. Enjoy coffee and conversation with a Christian friend(s). These can be tough for single moms, and families with little kids and kids with special needs. So pray about it. Try to plan ahead for it. In addition, sleep is of great importance. Beware of taking your phone to bed with you, or binging on shows until 2 am. Shoot for 7 -8 hours of sleep. Your body, mind, and soul will thank you.
Beware of allowing your body to waste away day after day in a chair, vehicle, behind a desk, or in a recliner. Daily twenty-minute walks are a good start and practice. Forty-five to sixty minutes is the sweet spot. You can prayer-walk, or listen to a sermon, book, or podcast. You can youtube search for all kinds of quick, at-home, body-weight workouts also. We splurged and purchased a treadmill a couple of years ago. While walking or jogging, you can watch shows and podcasts. The time flies while you sweat!
In John 15:7 Jesus says: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” He mentions His Words, and prayer (ask). Remaining, or abiding in Christ is finding space to get alone with Christ, meditate on His Word, and pray. See it as a relationship, not a duty. Also, abiding is being conscious of and dependent on Christ throughout the day. So memorize Scripture. Listen to worship music. Read or listen to books on prayer. Ask that Holy Spirit stir your affections more deeply for Jesus.
Eating well is non-negotiable for your whole health. Sugar and processed foods can wreak havoc not only on your body but especially on your emotional and mental health. Moderation is key. Aim at eating healthy at least 85% of the time. Include drinking lots of water (Try the 8 x 8: Eight ounces of water, eight times a day). Also, pay attention to your social media and news diet. It’s often more poison than information. Make sure that social media and news don’t make up 85% of your life.
God has wired into humanity that serving others (with boundaries of course) fills our cups and brings us joy. Serving gets us out of our heads. It’s exercise for the soul. I’m often surprised how self-denial to serve others instead of self-indulgence brings the satisfaction our hearts and health craves.
Which of these did you find most helpful?
Here’s to a healthy 2022!
(Featured photo by Jamie Street)