Words by Mallory Bingaman
Wellness is a tough thing to grasp, because it really encompasses every part of you. When I was at the doctor recently, I explained to her that my anxiety had escalated and that the past couple of months were extremely challenging. I was in tears. The thought of how I had been struggling was embarrassing to me. I hated that I didn’t even have a good reason to be crying. I have two good jobs, a loving fiancé, a supportive family, great friends and a church home that truly welcomes all of me. Yet, my body was fighting with my mind and the tears kept coming. She was comforting and patient as I tried to make out my thoughts. “Have you been taking care of yourself?” That question is one that always convicts me, because I know that I haven’t been. Sure, I have a lot of things to be thankful for in my life, but if I am not taking care of me, of course I will fall apart. Friends, our bodies are earthly and they need attention! We cannot expect to run on empty.
So, how can we be taking care of ourselves in order to be well? As a twenty-three year old, I am discovering that I am cheating myself out of wellness simply by being lethargic. We often hear the importance of working out but don’t know how to implement it for ourselves. We see our friends and their parents running marathons together, people going to climbing gyms, yoga studios everywhere and my brother is even a strength coach for Olympians - it is intimidating! My counselor reminded me that it isn’t about what is good for everyone else. Marathons, yoga and climbing are all great things! However, if I am trying what works for others instead of what will work for me? I will be disappointed in myself and play the silly comparison game. I am allowed to start small. I can celebrate a long walk and running some stairs at my apartment complex. You can too friends! The Lord wants us to take care of our bodies - they’re such gifts and vessels for His glory. It is hard to be excited about Kingdom work if we are sluggish and lacking the energy to do it!
Wellness also means making time for true rest. Get full nights of sleep - it is okay to check in early and get some sleep! We really do need it to help us function at our best. Treat yourself to quiet moments alone with Jesus. Take time to really sit in his presence, listen to worship, read his word and just talk with Him. I know there are so many things to be doing in the world today, but if you’re not making time for the Father you will find yourself empty and anxious. Here is something really important to remember: GOD LOVES SPENDING TIME WITH YOU! You’re His child! He likes to hear about your day, your dreams, your hurts, your questions, and your mess. He is a Father the refuels. He is a Father that listens. He is a Father that comforts. He is a Father that provides. He is a Father that enhances our lives and brings wellness to our minds and hearts. He will give you a Kingdom mindset and joy unending. All of this is so essential to remember, because we are far too often controlled by the mess of the world, our bank accounts and our to do lists - things that aren’t eternal!
Let the Lord set the rhythm for your wellness. Start each day with Him and explore the things that bring you life. Rejoice with Him in every little victory: eating a healthy meal, taking a walk, starting a new book, a full night of rest, making time for hobbies, making a friend. Most of all, allow Him to teach you ways to love who you are in Him. When we discover how much He loves us, we are more likely to want to take care of ourselves because we see our true worth! We are all worthy of love, because the Father created us well. My friends treasure yourselves, because Jesus treasured you so much He sacrificed himself in order to give you abundant life. So, I encourage you step into abundant life with Him and seek wellness.