Wellness is the sexy topic right now, wouldn’t you say? I can’t scroll through Instagram for 30 seconds without seeing somebody’s new vegan protein powder or workout routine. I’d group myself into the “wellness guru” category too. You can probably catch me posting pictures of my dinner or the latest essential oil blends… every day.
I wish I had more time to tell you my whole story, but in short, I’ve become really passionate about the topic of wellness over the last two years. But there’s also been times I’ve been too passionate about wellness. That’s what I want to talk with you about my friend.
As easy as it would be, I’m not here to give you a workout routine and a bible verse about running the race with endurance. Instead, I’m going to tell you about the ways wellness tends to creep into the position of authority in my life. I’m looking at the ways I’m elevating a GOOD thing (wellness) over the BEST thing (Jesus). Will you join me?
“Wellness” and the Christian
Discussion around healthy habits, diet, non-toxic products, etc. is really trendy right now. And it should be. Stewarding our bodies, mental health, and spirits should always be in trend.
But before we jump into the conversation around the topic, let’s define our terms. The meaning and intention of “wellness” can be all over the map.
The world will tell us that the meaning of wellness is to be healthy for the purpose of living a long and happy life. Good health is typically associated with happy living, positivity, and success.
The Biblical approach to wellness
But if we exegete scripture correctly, living a long and happy life isn’t at all foundational to the gospel narrative. In Matthew 16, we see Jesus’ call for our life.
If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.Matthew 16:24 ESV
So if denying ourselves is our calling as the body of Christ, wellness must be more than happiness and a long life.
A biblical view approaches wellness in a selfless way. Tending to our health empowers us to live out the gospel, and gives us greater capacity to love God and love others. Maximizing our health is completely in line with scripture. Our bodies are a temple of the holy spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV) and our wellness can glorify God! It is for the purpose of glorification and service.
So, I’m sure we can all agree that wellness is a good thing. For goodness sake, it’s what my entire blog is about! But here’s the hard part: We need to reflect on the way health and wellness actually looks in our lives. Are we pursuing health in the name of Jesus or the name or something else? There are only two options.
Here are three ways that I’ve seen wellness take the throne in my life.
Idolatry is basically anything that we place above God, including our health.
I can be the first to admit my faults in this. My extremely unhealthy lifestyle a few years ago led me to do a full 180 with my health. So, during my senior year of college, I decided to get serious about my wellness. The year prior, my emotional, physical, and mental health sucked. I knew another year of exhaustion wasn’t sustainable. So I implemented healthy habits with sleep, diet, and mental health.
Soon after I got into my rhythm, these healthy habits had me feeling really good. I was finally living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle! If you look at my actions, everything was great and the problem was solved. But my heart was struggling.
My healthy habits became my god. It was what I thought about when I woke up, when I went to bed, and a heck of a lot of time in between. Instead of using my habits as an avenue for intimacy with God, they replaced intimacy with God.
Friend, let me say this bluntly: If we elevate our health over our God, we’re missing the point entirely.
Hope in habits, not Jesus
I don’t know about you, but I so easily find myself putting my trust in my habits rather than the Lord:
- If I eat healthy, I won’t get sick.
- If I swap out my toxic products, my body will stay healthy.
- If I take care of my mental health, I won’t have any mental illness.
But putting our hope into these finite things gives us no guarantee in permanent fulfillment. But thank goodness we have someone who does.
It can be easy to take God out of our health process because of the availability of medicine or the “control” we seemingly have over our health. It’s easy to take our diet plans, natural products, and medicine and run for the hills. Again, these are not bad things. But our hope needs to be anchored in Jesus, not his gifts.
Maybe after reading through the first two temptations, neither resonated with you. That’s okay, that was me a few years ago. This might sound more like your situation:
My junior year of college was rough. I took twelve too many things onto my plate, and if you’ve ever done that, you can probably guess how the story ends. I wasn’t able to take care of any area of my life well. It was one of those seasons that consisted of pizza, the same pair of leggings every day, and sleep deprivation. I was in a constant state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion. And let me tell you, it really took a toll on my relationship with the Lord.
Our ultimate goal should be to know and love God. And that can’t happen very well if our physical, mental, and emotional health is failing. Trust me, I’ve experienced it firsthand.
I know for many of us, health isn’t a big priority. Maybe you’re in an insanely busy season, or it simply doesn’t matter that much to you. And friend, I’m not here to shame you if wellness isn’t your passion. It doesn’t have to be! But we must recognize its importance in our walk with Christ.
What about you?
Girlfriend, I don’t know where you’re at in your health journey right now. Maybe you’re one of those organic-essential oil-sustainable-leaf-eating-gals who’s jumped headfirst into wellness. Or maybe you’re doing pizza and leggings combo like I did, and crawling through each day. Or somewhere in between.
Wherever you’re at, let me remind you that your journey towards wellness is for a greater purpose. It’s not about the workout routines and the fancy protein powder. It’s about stewardship of our bodies for the sake of God and others. It’s about seeing wellness as worship rather than for a selfish gain. I need this reminder every day.
Lord, remind us our wellness won’t free us. Only you will.
Hey gal! I’m the founder of My Holistic Heart, where I look at mental, physical, emotional, and relational health through a biblical lens. I love thrifting, decorating, and any spontaneous adventures I can get my hands on. Other facts if you need more: enneagram seven, sushi lover, and currently living in Denver CO!