Who will take responsibility for your wellness if you don’t? Yes, God knows the days we have left on this earth just like He knows the number of hairs on our head. And while we may not decide the day we step into eternity, our choices do have a tremendous effect on the condition in which we run and finish this race called life.
Complete wellness may never become a reality this side of heaven. But don’t let that discourage you from taking responsibility for the choices you can make that will largely define balance in all areas of life.
Wellness may mean different things to many people. Sadly, many settle for a definition of wellness that parallels their outlook in other areas such as their finances, career, spiritual fitness, and family dynamics. Often wellness to some can mean mere survival or lack of disease rather than vitality and optimum health. God has blessed you with a body that deserves wise investment and true wellness requires purposeful and intentional consistent, sustainable self-care in multiple aspects of one’s life. True balanced wellness is proactive, mindful, and purposeful. It displays that we are responsible for our choices and we are God’s temple. Wellness is revealed by a life that is flourishing and prospering, not just surviving.
I once heard a pastor explain how our bodies are literally a vessel that simply takes us from one point to another on our journey from the beginning to our final destination. We typically regard our motor vehicles enough to schedule proper maintenance, provide quality fuel, and care to ensure longevity. Aren’t we of much greater value?
For many of us, it may seem selfish to invest time, money, and energy into our wellness. But in actuality it is one of the truest acts of respect and obedience to care for and to be good stewards of the priceless gift of life we have been given.
It is true that for most of us, daily responsibilities may be overwhelming and even exhausting at times. Maintaining jobs, families, children, care-giving, friendships, neighbors, church, hobbies, conflicts, injuries, finances, trials, and losses are all very real challenges. But the old cliche sayings about how we truly have nothing without our health, are actually steeped in truth ans wisdom.
I had a very difficult valley to walk through, about ten years ago when we lived on a farm way out in the country in a very remote and rural area where the nearest city was over an hour away. I was caring for my dying grandmother, my newly disabled mother, and my profoundly disabled child as well as homeschooling my middle child. I had no siblings or support except for friends (two of my dearest friends coincidentally died during that time), a kind neighbor, and the occasional respite provider I would occasionally hire to come over for a few hours so I could run errands or walk aimlessly around the grocery store with eyes blurred from sleep deprivation. My husband had a very long commute and worked 10 hours a day so I was literally on my own with enormous pressure and responsibility. I was weary and sleep deprived yet somehow managed to juggle all the balls in the air and still maintain my writing and coaching career, although scaled to only part time, during that difficult season.
Looking back, I have absolutely no regrets and am so honored that I was allowed the opportunity to serve my family. But if I could do it all over again, I would have been more intentional in how I cared for myself while I was in the trenches. Once I lost my precious grandmother and mother, and I was in less of a crisis mode, as my life returned to its new normal, I began to see the toll on my health and wellness that several years of stress, self sacrifice, and sheer exhaustion had taken. It took me nearly a year to truly recover and regain optimum health, wellness, and balance again. To this day, I still have some residual scars. For instance, I am now a light sleeper.
I did maintain good nutrition, supplementation, and some exercise as best as I could, even while in the thick of it. But looking back, as a care-giver, my sleep was terribly lacking, my spiritual growth slid at times, and I could have invested in more self care, things that I now make a priority, such as massage, hobbies, bible study, and simple, little things like music, flowers, a walk, or a favorite meal.
One of my best friend’s has had a decline in her health the past decade. I hate to see it. She pours so much time and energy into her grown children, grand-kids, aging parents, and declining husband that there is never anything left for her. It grieves me that her entire family sucks her dry and never once do they think of her needs. I won’t get into a debate on healthy boundaries or priorities and I’m not here to judge. I will say, however, that she is a shining example that unless we advocate for our own needs and wellness, nobody else is going to do it. And as her friend who loves her, I am often concerned as to what could happen long term if the scales don’t tip in a healthier direction, sooner than later.
What small, purposeful steps will you take today towards wellness? Supplementation? Exercise? Gluten Free? Sugar Free? Fermented food? Stress reduction? Gut health? Meditation? Prayer? Bible study? Debt reduction? Essential oils? Massage? Acupuncture?
Nobody will take the initiative to ensure your wellness but you. I am proof that is is possible to persevere with God’s power and still make progress towards wellness and balance no matter what valley or season we are walking through. With God’s grace we can progress in our wellness journey, even with intentional and persistent baby steps.