The vast majority of people have an instant physical / chemical reaction when challenged by someone else. Adrenal glands go into red alert and begin sending signals, chain reactions galore, and we feel a lot. There are a very rare few who are able to challenge themselves and produce anywhere near the same reactions. Someone else can spark a fire in us (good or bad) in a heartbeat, while it may take us anywhere from hours to weeks to pump ourselves up enough to be truly motivated toward change. There is hardly a more sensitive trigger in our puzzle than when we are challenged “spiritually”. Our faith, no matter its family foundation or current devotion, is more private and personal to us than almost anything else. Maybe that has to do with civil liberties, or maybe it has to do with the eternal nature of spiritual matters. But today I want to “challenge you” to consider how our spiritual health impacts our life and the pieces in it. Your view of spiritual health may be different than mine – and that is the first step toward health…accepting that we are different. Accepting one another, loving one another, and belonging to one another is healthy and challenging.
I have really swung from one end of the spectrum to the other in this area of my life. I have felt like a warrior and a worm. I have had the confidence of the son and the shame of the prodigal. I have been a shoulder to cry on as the trusted advisor and I have wept like a baby to my friends. My dear friend Steve Bowen told me in 1997 – “I have been on the top and I have been on the bottom…and I will be in both places again.” – boy was he right about that.
Spiritual health: must be worked on, not worried about; it must be cared for, not carried around like a banner; it must be fed and watered, but not watered down. Every person has a set of core beliefs – they have come from family, from study, from life – and they are the spiritual compass with in. They guide the conscious mind and heart to move us toward what we know is right, and steer us away from what we know is wrong. But, without care and effort, our spiritual health can decline and our choices skew from what we hold true. Our spiritual health is a vital part of life in pieces – and it must be cared for.
Obviously, there is so much to unpack here, especially since so many of us come from different places; faiths, cultures, genders, ages, ect. But begin today by asking yourself – how do you care for, focus on, or pay attention to your spiritual health? What are the key ingredients in your mind (mental health) and heart (emotional health) that are needed for your soul/spirit to be healthy? Physical health has some overarching themes like diet and exercise that are broad enough for most individuals to find their niche and work on getting healthier. Spiritual health is similar, life and doctrine are two main components that we will examine over time to grow, build, and mature spiritually. No matter where you are in your spiritual health today – I challenge you to seek ways to grow healthier so that we can take this ordinary universal trait and be the special men and women we want to be.