A few weeks ago, I sat down to work on my May PowerSheets – preparing for the tasks ahead of me and the goals I wanted to work toward this coming month – and the phrase that kept coming to me was “healthy and whole.” Knowing better than to question my heart/mind/spirit/soul and God, above else, on matters such as this, especially when all are in agreement on a particular subject, I thereby declared May my personal month of “Healthy and Whole.”
Where my primary desire for this came from was having dealt with an ongoing ear/sinus infection for several weeks – from mid-March up until just recently when I finished a second round of antibiotics within that time period. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever been that sick for that long. It’s not like me to be down longer than a week when I deal with the yearly sinus infection or seasonal allergies, but for whatever reason, I was pretty much toast for close to six weeks. I wouldn’t exactly say that I’m 100% back to normal – I still have some lingering ear issues I’m monitoring – but I’m definitely feeling better than I have in almost two months. And for that, I’m thankful.
The one thing about not feeling well is that, in addition to resting and sleeping and just wanting to stay put for long periods of time, the lack of activity allows the mind time to wander. And although it was tempting (and sometimes I fell into the temptation) to get discouraged and feel down about not being up to par, I am happy to say that I really drew close to God in this time and did my best to focus on His good and faithful promises. And in doing so, I heard Him speak to me about how to move forward in the direction of “healthy and whole” over the coming month and moving forward …
Emotional Health: Acknowledging and being honest with myself and others about my feelings. I am one who can handle a lot all at once – multitasking is no issue for me and I can go, go, go from sun-up to sun-down, but when I wasn’t feeling well, I had to accept my limitations and be honest with my husband, family, friends, and colleagues about what I was feeling. The worst thing I could do to myself was work to maintain the appearance that all was fine and I had it all under control, which I knew would have eventually led to burnout and me just putting myself behind even more. I also started working my way through the book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality which talks about the intersection of our emotions/feelings with our spiritual health and well-being and WOW! God knew what I needed to hear back when I ordered it in the fall and it’s exactly the message I’ve needed in this season.
Mental Health: Giving the lies and the spirit of defeat and exhaustion over to God. Praying over my mind and asking God for His protection over my thoughts and the attitudes/behaviors that flow from those. Looking at things from the perspective of gratitude versus negativity, abundance versus lack. For instance, being thankful that when I’m not feeling well, I have the ability to work from home, access to good, quality healthcare and medicine to get better, a support system that checked in on me and encouraged me, and an opportunity to rest and “just be,” has made all the difference in this process of healing and restoration. For people like me who have struggled with perfectionism and control, it’s so important to know and believe that it’s okay if you take a break, if you give yourself permission to rest, if you say “no” and disconnect for a bit. It’s healthy and it’s needed.
Physical Health: Taking a break from exercise on the days where my body and mind were just plain weary and not pushing myself to get outside and keep at it, even though I have had another long-distance race scheduled for the past month. Choosing to believe that if God wanted me to be well, He would do the miracle and make me able in time to run the race and not stressing out if that wasn’t His plan. Also getting plenty of rest and sleep, drinking plenty of fluids (water, of course, powerade zero, and herbal tea have been good for me), using my essential oils, stretching, and keeping track of my symptoms – because they were so up and down, it helped to document what made me feel better and what made me feel worse.
Relational Health: Practicing boundaries (i.e. taking breaks from social media, not letting distractions in when spending time or talking with people). Putting my relationship with God first, and my marriage next, above any other human relationship, and giving it the attention, care, and time it needs to grow and flourish. Initiating connection with family and friends (i.e. getting together, praying for them, sharing a meal, calling or texting to see how one is doing, and making room for comedy/laughter.) I have been very blessed with a wonderful support system and honoring these relationships is one way I have been able to focus on the good in life and be healed.
Spiritual Health: My routine rhythms of quiet time with God in His Word, prayer, and praise; listening to worship music and the Revelation Wellness podcast; worshiping God through art and creativity; writing and reading; and spending time outside in nature have all been life and breath to me as well. These are things I simply cannot do without – they are essential to my well-being on all levels, not just the spiritual. And I find that the more I spend time with Him, the more I am strengthened for the things ahead of me, and I’m also able to help others on their journey – God’s love and the Spirit at work within me gives me the supernatural ability to empathize and be compassionate in a way I simply am not on my own. Another book I felt inspired to order back in the fall is Heart Made Whole and I’ll be reading this later in the month.
So these are the things I’ve been inspired to do in my time of not feeling well, as well as things I’m currently doing to get well and stay well moving forward. I’m not sure where life finds you in this season, but if you’re like me and craving health and wholeness, I encourage you to give some of the things I’ve shared a try. We’re called to take care of ourselves, honoring the temple (bodies) God gave to us, so let’s be good stewards of this gift!
Blessings of peace and health to you, friends!