When wellness is compromised, it’s not just me or you that suffers. Our state of mind, body, and heart touches the lives of everyone around us, yes? So, if it’s hard to think about making a fuss over wellness for your own sake, perhaps a step in the right direction starts with thinking about how others are affected when you’re offering the broken bits and pieces rather than the whole, healthy you that God intended. That’s where I had to start … there and knowing that I couldn’t keep living with myself unless something changed drastically.
Can I just tell you, I’m so glad you are here with me?! See, I believe that it’s no accident that you are reading this; I think it’s meant to be. And that means there is hope here for you – whatever your circumstances are – and that’s reason enough to focus in so you don’t miss the message in this that is designed specifically for YOU. Regardless of your situation, making your wellness a priority is a reasonable, legitimate, healthy priority. Your wellness is worth it, because it affects you and everyone else around you!
I’m going to cut to the chase and ask the question: Have you ever had a broken heart? Our hearts can be broken by many things: chronic illness, strained relationships, work pressures, traumas, just the stress of life. When our hearts are hurting, our bodies definitely feel it. And when something’s not right with our body, our emotions are affected too.
Our bodies are amazing creations with a level of cellular activity that makes rush hour in downtown Dallas seem like a lazy saunter through the park. So, one key to wellness is recognizing that we are miraculously multi-faceted beings, and when one area suffers, all areas are affected. Dr. Judith Orloff (and others) have said that when it comes to your overall wellness, your emotional health is every bit as important as what you eat and how you exercise. Pause and sit with that thought a moment: food, exercise, emotional health. Equally important.
It’s a mistake to think we can separate our emotions from what’s going on in our bodies. I know that may sound obvious to you, but I know I picked up the idea along the way that we are supposed to have a kind of stoic joy that stuffs anything that we think God (or others!) might put in the category of complaining. Anyone ever recall being told, “Don’t be an Energy Taker”? Ugh. I HATE that term. So, let’s just nip that in the bud right now! We cannot compartmentalize our emotions and our bodies that way. We aren’t meant to bounce between silos … we’re interconnected, beautifully enmeshed beings.
While it’s absolutely true that complaining can drain the life out of a situation, it’s important to recognize the difference between a complaint and a lament. It’s possible that what some of us have been conditioned to think of as complaining actually falls into the category of things the Bible calls “laments.” And, we find all kinds of laments in the Scriptures, particularly in the book of Psalms. In his book entitled Prayer, Tim Keller shares this quote from J.I. Packer that I just love:
[In the Bible] … “when bad things happen to good people … they complain with great freedom and at considerable length to their God. And Scripture does not seem to regard these complaining prayers as anything other than wisdom.”
So, go ahead and tell God what’s in your heart and on your mind! He can take it! You’re not going to hurt His feelings. Psalm 34:18 (among others) reminds us that “God is close to the brokenhearted. He rescues those who’s spirits are crushed.”
Whether you’re sad because you’ve felt sick for sooo long, angry over a strained or broken relationship, frustrated over stress at work or home, devastated by the brokenness of the world … whatever it is, invite God into that space with you. That is soooo much healthier than stuffing those emotions! And if you don’t want to talk to God about it because you’re really, in your heart of hearts mad at Him … well, then that’s something to explore at some point. But, the good news? I can tell you from experience that He won’t be surprised one tiny bit. Isn’t that a relief?!