First, a quick review — in Part 1 we talked about true wholeness being more than simply bodily health. The wholeness that God intends for us includes health and peace in all three areas of spirit, soul (mind + emotions) and body.
Working on each takes conscious effort, usually it’s a chosen undertaking. For sure a person can spend all of life not desiring health in any area, but for the sake of this discussion, I’m assuming if you are reading this you have a desire for health in one or more of the three. Most of us tend to concentrate on one part and not as much on the others by default, and this can ebb and flow during all of life. (I don’t think it’s a problem unless the others are purposely excluded or avoided. Then we’d have to explore why, to get past that roadblock.)
I suggest that all three are very interconnected and make a whole person; sometimes health in one very much hinges on another. Living in full potential is possible when we are prosperous in all three areas.
So how do we get to that “utopia” place of wholeness that God intends?
It’s found in relationship, with continued, focused partnership with His voice. We were created to live in connection with God. First, we spend time working on the spiritual part of ourselves, and then trust Him to lead us into the true paths for healing and strengthening the other two.
We have a measure of responsibility for the health of our spirits, souls and bodies, but there are other parts we need Him to take care of for us. We only know what part is ours and what part is His by listening. And just when we think we have it figured out, it can change — that’s why the continued listening and awareness are important.
For example in Part 1, I told you about the time a few months ago when God told me He had taken care of my own body when I couldn’t, but that soon He would be returning that responsibility to me. He did that so that I would begin to change my thinking and my behavior to stay healthy.
The same thing happened to the people of Israel (Judges 5:11-12) when they finally came into the land that He had promised after 40 years of wandering. He had provided food and water miraculously for all 40 years, but when they came into their promised land, the provision immediately stopped and they became responsible again for their own livelihood.
What an amazing and loving God who knows us so intimately that He provides for us when we can’t provide for ourselves!
We feel fragmented when we are unbalanced with health in one area at the exclusion of the other one or two.
I can be strong in spirit, (which I am now usually always… this is not a statement of arrogance, just the result of where I’ve spent my time) but I’m still not healthy if I am worn down, not sleeping, or eating poor quality foods.
I can even be strong in spirit while still being drained in my soul because of sadness and grief. Again, sometimes we have the responsibility for our own emotional health and other times we need God to heal the places that hurt that we can’t heal on our own. God desires to lead us into full health but also helps us in our weakness.
I’m convinced the most neglected part of our wellness is in the area of the soul. Often in Christian circles we are taught that emotions are wrong somehow or that directly addressing emotions is inferior to “just believing” the words of Scripture. This results in people who live their entire lives in bondage, denying what God came to heal. While it is true that Jesus gave His life for freedom from sin, He also died for freedom from harmful emotions.
He (Jesus) was despised and rejected — a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. Yet it was our weakness He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. (Isaiah 53)
There are many deep soul issues that can manifest as problems in our physical bodies and also keep us from being spiritually strong. These include but are not limited to past abuse, bitterness, resentment, loneliness, rejection and trauma.
While continuing in partnership with God, He will speak to us, unearthing these hindrances and teaching us how to be free of them. Often becoming free from a harmful emotional wound requires our repentance and for us to break our agreement with that thing.
He can also lead us to appropriate counseling if need be. On the outside a person can look physically fit and healthy, but soul hurts are part of a person that are not always seen by others….however, God sees them clearly.
Healing from wounds in the soul can often lead to physical healing in the body. I have a friend with a testimony of God healing her of an emotional wound which resulted in her losing 85 pounds in the last year without changing anything else she was doing.
Another friend of mine says that for years in her life she was so obsessed with eating healthy that her life was entirely off balance. God revealed to her that her excessive compulsive attention to food was based on fear (which was from a situation in her past). She was able to become free of that emotion which brought a greater balance back into her life. She still eats healthy but not out of fear, and she allows herself to enjoy occasional treats with enjoyment and freedom.
A side note, healing from harmful emotions is often not pretty in the process. Usually healing of any type looks like upheaval before it looks like healing. Don’t let that throw you off.
This all probably sounds like a lot of work, a lot of focus, and perhaps facing something you are more comfortable not facing.
I’m not going to say that it’s fun, I’m only going to say that it is worth everything it takes.
When you get to the other side of some of this stuff, whether it’s a better relationship with the Holy Spirit, more freedom from painful emotions or a healthier body, (or hopefully all three) you will never want to go back.
We are all on a journey. Be kind to each other. Make allowances for growth in others.
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. (3 John 1)