What does healthy mean to you?
[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]W[/mk_dropcaps]ould you want to be healthy the rest of your life? My guess is your answer is yes. Who wouldn’t right? We ask this question a lot in my work. If you think about it, it is a very open ended question. What you consider to be “healthy” may be someone else’s picture of perfection and seemingly unattainable. Thinking about that I looked up what “health” and “healthy" mean. The definition of “healthy” means to be in a state of health. “Health” is defined as the state of being free from illness or someone's mental or physical condition. That really describes it a lot right?... NOT! I know I’m being tongue and cheek here because this topic is worth pausing on. If our only physical goals in life are to be "healthy" based off this definition could be put: “I don’t want to be sick.”
That is a very vague goal. I have used this as a goal myself, but it didn't motivate me to make any massive changes. The lack of specifics and taking the time to define what healthy looks like I believe is the main reason. It isn't a bad goal, just not a specific one. How can you shoot for a mark you haven't clearly identified. Sounds frustrating!
Perhaps, the ambiguity we have when it comes to our health is why so many of us get frustrated with the process. No wonder we try the latest fad diet, start a workout routine, or our attempts at managing our sleep and stress fail. We don’t know why we are doing it! To have a goal to "not get sick" isn’t going to motivate any of us beyond making us more germaphobic.
On the other hand, defining "health" for you does not have to be like you coming up with a manifesto of what your ideal state of health for life. Instead, when we identify what feeling our best would mean to us, we discover the motivation to own our current state, however dissatisfying that is, identify what areas we are struggling in, and begin to make changes to the habits we have been stuck in. Only then will what efforts we make help us to change course.
This leads me to my next point. I don’t think we can fully define what health looks like for each of us, if we only look at health as a physical or a mental condition. Addressing your health like this, is to divide up all the parts of your being. We are not just our bodies. We are not just our minds. We are not just the spirit that lives within us giving us life. We are all 3 parts in one. Spirit- Soul- Body. The Body is made up of many different systems (skeletal, cardiovascular, neurological etc..) The Soul is made up of the mind, will(choices) and emotions. The Spirit is what sets us apart from all other animals, the divine and unique creatures we are made to be.
What western culture has done is seek to divide, to separate and categorize our beings. By doing so, we think health in one area is disconnected from health in another. Convincing us that one doesn’t influence the other. Many of us know innately this is false. You've had an experience where by thinking anxious thoughts you literally made yourself anxious. By worrying you'd be sick, you got sick.
We forget that our health requires we look at the state of our WHOLE being. Or in other words the WHOLE picture. This concept is in scripture:
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.- 3 John 1:2[/mk_blockquote]
There is no question in this verse of the interconnectivity of our beings. As one part of us flourishes, the other parts are positively impacted. The inverse is also true. The truth of our divine interconnectedness has been rolling around in my mind for much of this year. As I observe how people pursue their health I see just how disconnected their approach is. To help equip myself and others with a term to clarify my definition of the kind of health desired, only one comes to my mind. “WHOLE HEALTH".
Whole means to be undivided, uncut, unbroken, undamaged, full, complete. This is not a destination we can reach. Or a journey we can do on our own. Rather, I believe having the goal of WHOLE HEALTH means we are willing to go on the journey of learning how best to fuel ourselves, and support others in doing the same. We need tools and systems, but also relationships full of encouragement and accountability. Since WHOLE HEALTH encompasses all parts of what make us unique it will be the state required for us to fulfill our unique purpose.
By the time you finish reading this post my goal is that you will take a quite 5-15 min to picture what health looks like to you. What would life be like without aches and pains? If you were strong and flexible in all the right areas? If you were free from excess weight, full of energy, focused, at peace, secure with your unique strengths, and aware of how valuable you are? How would you feel then? Picture it in as much detail as you can including all of your senses.
How much more motivated, confident, and clear would our journey be when we take the time to define what success looks like? God wants this for you and me. However, He has given us the responsibility to walk it out. That means to see His purpose for us come to pass a key step is to be bold enough to stop, define, and then share this definition. As you make progress you can celebrate wins along the way. This keeps us out of frustration and on the right path toward whole healthy living.
Please comment below or on Facebook and share what WHOLE HEALTH looks like for you.