Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Why wellness matters (but the Gospel matters more...)

Falling asleep to crickets instead of careening vehicles is certainly one of the blessings of growing up on (and visiting) the family farm.  Summertime brings an abundance of sweet corn, watermelon and as many tomatoes and cucumbers as your heart desires (while also being entertained by silly cows)!  But a belly full of home-grown goodness pales in comparison to a soul full of love, wise counsel, and passionate discourse on many topics.  Sprinkle in lots of belly laughs, practical jokes, hard work, and board games, and you get a small picture of what we enjoyed as kids.  Going home provides a good body-mind-soul reset!  

It's been a full couple of weeks for Paul and I, visiting churches and praying about where God might have us next.  But the support of family and friends along the way has been invaluable. As my sister jokingly reminded me, we have enough family stops to keep us going for a while. It has been a blessing to stay in numerous homes and find the encouragement we need for the journey ahead, especially considering this road trip won't be over for at least another two weeks! :)  

Being on the road makes it harder to squeeze in exercise time, but it's certainly not impossible.  Taking walks with Paul and using whatever floor space I can find to do a yoga routine has been a fun challenge.  Though it's been an adjustment to shift my focus from my wellness ministry goals to the greater goal of finding a church to serve in as a ministry team, it is well worth it.  I'm reminded of 1 Timothy 4:7b-8 : "On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." (NASB) Our passion for Gospel ministry is greater than my desire to encourage women in body-mind-soul wellness, but that God-given passion is still important.  I want to sit with women and encourage them in their marriages, visit them in the hospital, help them set up their homes, pour over Scripture, and hold hearts and hands as we laugh, pray, and weep through life together.  But I also want to encourage them to care for their bodies as well as their mind and soul.  Caring for our bodies may not seem to have lasting eternal value, but I know from my own experience, that when I have NOT properly cared for my body, I am limited in my ability to serve God and others.  It is certainly very important to remember as well that caring for myself physically honors God because I am His daughter and worthy of that effort and personal sacrifice of time and energy. 

This time on the road is also giving me a good opportunity to pray and consider how I'd like this wellness ministry to take shape.  Shifting this blog to more of a wellness focus is easy enough to work on away from home. But again, the overall direction of my future ministry depends on where we end up, and what God is calling us to there.  God (and my sweet husband) are reminding me to take things one. day. at. a. time.  Isn't that always the battle?  But a battle worth fighting.  

Just a couple of weekends ago, my favorite preacher spoke on Romans 12: 1-2: "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (NASB)  

It was a special blessing to my heart, not only because I think he is the best preacher east of the Mississippi, but also because God put this passage on my heart as I have been thinking about wellness ministry.  As we've pursued God's leading for our next assignment, both Paul and I had been thinking about this passage, and didn't know it!  

Our desire separately and together is to glorify God in body, mind, and soul, and offer our entire lives for His service.  What that will look like exactly, we don't know, but we know that sacrificing our desires for the sake of the Kingdom is always the right choice.  Sinking my teeth into some oh-so-good, farm-fresh peaches, berries and melon reminds me that spiritual fruit tastes even sweeter.  I won't be surprised if God has a nice big farm waiting for all of us Perrys in heaven, filled with fruit that lasts for eternity.  

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