On Wellness and Wholeness


A couple mornings ago as I was praying, I asked the Lord about wellness. Scripture does tell us that if anyone lacks wisdom, we should ask God and he will give it generously (James 1:5). And I'm in need of some wisdom now especially when filtering through the numerous resources on wellness--how to eat right, sleep right, move right. Most of these sources are science-based but also mostly trendy and faddish in my opinion. With so many options vying for my attention, how do I start pursuing wellness?

I'm convinced that it is not as if the word of God can only tend to my "spiritual life" and has nothing to say about wellness in other aspects. I can't separate spiritual wellness from the rest of me--the physical, mental, emotional, and social aspects of me.

What does it really look like, Lord? What do YOU say about wellness? How do I keep it simple? How do I make peace with food? What are the ways that I self-medicate instead of finding true rest in you? 

Then I got my answer, or at least my starting point from Chapter 3 of Steven Mathewson's Risen: 50 Reasons Why the Resurrection Changed Everything.

"...then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed." (NIV)
"...let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well." (ESV)
The word "healed" means "whole, well, healthy" so the ESV translation also fits. In the preceding verse (v.9) to be "healed" means to be saved. So, as Mathewson writes, "Acts 4:10 is healing from all the effects of sin. It is healing from the physical, emotional, legal, relational, and spiritual consequences of sin." However, I should point out that while this promise of healing and salvation are real, we will experience full healing "when the time comes for God to restore everything." For now, we are living in the "times of refreshing" to which Peter refers in Acts 3:19-21.

For me, wholeness and wellness begins with a relationship with Jesus. To be reconciled to God means receiving forgiveness and a clean slate, and becoming a new creation. But this newness can and must be lived out in the day-to-day. The goal? To become like Jesus.

I'm not sure where these thoughts will take me but at this point, I am determined to be more disciplined in my pursuit of this daily wellness. I just want to be like Jesus. It may mean going cold turkey on certain habits, others may require smaller steps that add up to effect change. I'm convinced that God doesn't want us to live complicated lives but rather a life that is anchored in him. We have his word, we have his Spirit.

He's the one who designed my mind, body, and spirit so he alone knows how to fulfill my deepest desires and needs. The disciplines themselves don't bring about transformation but they are a means of grace.

The spiritual disciplines allow us to draw closer to God but in and of themselves, they are simply tools.
Physical discipline is a form of stewardship but with the acknowledgment that God is sovereign over our bodies.
Mental and emotional discipline teaches us to set boundaries for our sake but also show us the need to be vulnerable and cultivate healthy relationships.

These are some ideas brewing in my mind and provides fertile seedbed for future blog posts. I have so many questions and things I want to try. Let's see where this goes.

How do you understand wellness? What are some resources that you find helpful in your pursuit of wellness?

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