I often hear that pursuing wellness can be overwhelming, especially when attempting to approach the topic from a whole-person, Christ-centered perspective. Focusing strictly on nutrition and exercise is much easier than considering what else might contribute to our overall wellness.
Don’t get me wrong – focusing on nourishment and moving our bodies is a great start! The problem is when we believe this is the end-all, be-all when it comes to health.
If this is the perspective that drives our pursuit of wellness, we may still feel as if we are coming up short regarding our health even after making nutrition and exercise changes. We may even struggle with adopting the views of the world when it comes to health versus seeking to honor God with our decisions for wellness.
Instead, we must pursue wellness from a whole-person, Christ-centered perspective. Then, our lifestyle choices in every area will be informed by an understanding of why we are pursuing health in the first place. Honoring God in our choices for wellness should be our utmost goal.
Wellness involves caring for all aspects of ourselves (spiritual, physical, relational, mental, and emotional), as we recognize that God has sovereignly created us in particular ways for a specific purpose.
Caring for ourselves in each of these areas enables us to grow in wholeness in Christ so that we can live out God’s calling on our lives.
Striving for wellness in these areas should stem from Christ being at the center of our pursuits. Jesus is not a component of our lives. Rather, he is at the center, and all else flows from this central point.
Moving toward wholeness in Christ requires the integration of the whole person. God has created us as whole people in his image. Our bodies are not separate from our souls, and the physical is not compartmentalized from the spiritual.
Therefore, wellness involves the whole person. God has created us in particular ways for a specific purpose, which means that everything about us has a bearing on our health. Here are a few ways in which we see the relevance of the whole person regarding overall health:
1. The physical body, in all of its intricacies, testifies to the hand of our divine Creator.
For example, our bodies’ systems (digestive, circulatory, respiratory, and more) work together to help us function and survive. Regarding health, each of these systems needs to be considered both individually and in relation to one another.
If there is an issue with immune function, such as in the case of autoimmune disease, we need to consider how that is affecting the other body systems. Or, if there is a problem within the digestive system, we need to discern how that impacts overall health. There is much more to say here, but I believe this is a helpful start.
2. Additionally, our individual characteristics (our genetics, personality traits, sin struggles, and more) and our experiences (our family histories, personal experiences, potential trauma, and more) can significantly impact our overall health.
These factors also need to be taken into account when we are discussing whole-person health.
Again, God has not created our bodies in a piecemeal fashion. Therefore, each part of us, as unique individuals created in God’s image, needs to be considered in regard to the whole person. We need to be thinking about health from a Christ-centered, whole-person perspective.
3. Lastly, it is important to recognize that biblical wellness is not the absence of disease or suffering, contrary to other definitions of wellness.
Rather, we know as believers that God uses suffering for our good and his glory. Therefore, it is possible to live well and pursue wellness in each area of our lives for the glory of God, regardless of our circumstances.
A Christ-centered approach to wellness is desperately needed to help us fix our eyes on Jesus as we seek to live well in each area of our lives. We want to be healthy whole disciples who value healthy whole discipleship. Therefore, our wellness pursuits need a whole-person approach that stems from Christ at the center.