By Kristen Allen – Troy, Ohio
What I have discovered about health in the past five years goes beyond what we see and is so unique to each of us.
When I first took an interest in health and wellness, it started with fitness. It was actually through training for my first half-marathon that I got to know Jesus more personally. We would talk on my runs and just be together.
It wasn’t always so clear for me at first, but it was a new adventure that brought not only health to my physical body, but also joy to my soul.
There is something about physical challenges that can cause us to reach for something beyond ourselves, giving us the courage and mindset to overcome the day-to-day obstacles. As Philippians 4:13 says:
“I can do ALL things THROUGH Christ, who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:13 NKJV (emphasis added)
This is a great reminder of all that we can accomplish because of what Christ accomplished for us. He chose to set his mind and heart on God despite the physical challenge he went through. That is the same power that lives in us.
The Mental and Physical Connection
Fitness looks different for each person, but I do believe that movement itself is a unique piece of the puzzle when it comes to our mental, physical, and spiritual wellness. It quite literally has the power to change our mood, mindset, and thoughts.
If we reflect on Jesus and the way his culture lived, we’d see that they moved around on foot, and walked a lot! Sermons, healings, testimonies, friendships and joy all depended on their being able to physically move and have the stamina to be a part of their life-changing times.
It makes me wonder about the impact physical wellness plays in our role as children of God—the assignments he has for us and for generations to come. Health not only enables us, but it honors our heavenly Father when we take care of our vessel.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV
This inspires me to be thankful for my body and to steward it with the Holy Spirit each day.
Learning to listen to the Spirit of God is not always easy, especially when it comes to our habits and health choices. I think sometimes we like to be selective with the things we talk to God about, but He knows each one of our strengths and weaknesses.
What really shifted things on my health journey is when I started leaning into God’s love and acceptance for me and choosing to see myself the way he did.
To be empowered and hopeful in our health, we have to have that personal connection with God, because it’s not always going to be easy.
Healing My Heart & Body
There was a time in my life when God moderated my attention on fitness to turn my focus toward other areas that I may not have considered as health-related. Father God was healing my heart and enveloping me with the fruits of the Spirit to give the nourishment and strength I received in that season.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
These characteristics of God’s identity are the things we need to be successful in our journey of wellness.
The physical and spiritual are connected, and the Holy Spirit can be the bridge, the encouragement, and the coach we need to go the distance and keep the flow.
When I was training for the marathon, I was surprised about the importance of pacing myself. If I started out too strong, I might burn out and not finish. If I started out too slowly, I may not build the momentum to continue and finish.
Just like our journey in health and the goals we set, it can be easy to run out of gas, get discouraged or even distracted.
God knows our gears, temperature, and exact needs to set the pace, so we can be excited to take the first step or get back up again. Even if we fall many times, His love will be there to pick us up, wipe off the dirt and point us forward.
Kristen Allen lives with her husband Eric, and their young son, Cypress. She has been working in the health and wellness field as a personal trainer, nutrition coach, and mind-body specialist. Currently, Kristen is a stay-at-home mom and loves to encourage other moms on their health journey.