I sat in my counselor’s office with my hands on my lap. She asked me a question that surprised me: tell me about a time when you felt fully alive, your best self, fully free. I didn’t have to think too long to recall a certain day that I knew was a gift from God. I woke up to a sunny, 90-degree day (my favorite). I felt good and had nothing on my schedule, so I hopped on my bike. I put a MercyMe playlist on my phone, put an ear pod in my ear, and took off for the trails. I hadn’t felt this good in years; I felt power in my legs, breath in my lungs and sweat dripping down my face. I was beside myself with glee. After a twenty-mile ride, I jumped in the lake to cool off and marveled at God’s goodness to me.
The reason that day stands out to me is because it happened right in the midst of my terrible health relapse. That wild, wonderful day was a fluke of sorts. I couldn’t explain it. Up to that point and in the days that followed, I was exhausted, had bone-crushing headaches, dizzy spells, and lots of scary neurological symptoms. There’s no explanation for why that day worked out the way it did, but I’ll never forget it.
I looked up at my counselor and she smiled. She said,
“I’d say that’s a picture of what healing and wholeness might look like for you; like God is giving you a glimpse of how He wants to restore you.”
She was righter than I realized. It occurred to me that though many summers (my favorite season) had come and gone, for me, it’d felt like one long winter for several years. Part of what God wanted to restore to me was a summer season of the soul; something I desperately longed for. And the strength I felt surging through my body? God gave me a glimpse of a measure of health and strength still yet to come. I knew it.
In my book, Fully Alive: Learning to Flourish--Mind, Body & Spirit I write that what happens in our souls, happens in our cells. We are fearfully and wonderfully made and all of our parts — body, mind, soul, and spirit — are intricately connected.
The condition of our soul impacts the condition of our health (and visa versa). We have to look at all aspects of who we are if we really want to flourish.
The world has made such an idol out of physical health and appearance that much of the church seems to find it wiser to neglect conversations and efforts around health and fitness. But it’s not wiser. We’re our best selves when our hearts and our bodies are healthy and whole.
Recently on Middays I spoke with fitness expert Alisa Keeton. We talked about the intricate connection between our spiritual lives and our physical lives. In her book, “The Wellness Revelation: Lose What Weighs You Down So You Can Love God, Yourself, and Others” she writes out this prayer:
“My entire body desires to be healthy and whole. Heal me. Restore me. Please open my eyes to what You are doing, not just in me alone, but in all of creation.”
She further writes:
“Once we’ve surrendered ourselves to God’s strength and power, we organically develop a thirst to maintain unbroken fellowship with Him. Because outside forces will try to pull us away from His ways, we will always be in need of His sovereign and loving hand to guide our desires.”
I don’t know where life finds you today, but I do know that God cares about the lies you picked up when life let you down. He cares about the angst in your soul. And, He cares about the parts of your health you wish were different, better.
Ask God to bring to mind a memory that speaks to the ways He wants to restore you. Ask Him to heal you from the inside out. Then dare to follow His lead. Believe Him for the impossible. Do what He says. And see if He doesn’t lead you to a level of health and wholeness you never thought possible.
Healthy and whole
“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.” 3 John 1:2