Life to the Full
Updated: Mar 9, 2022
I think we would all agree that, like sand shifting beneath our feet, COVID made us feel less than secure. Initially the threat was against our physical health as we watched the virus ravage the most vulnerable among us. Now as we start to emerge from the Pandemic, everyone is taking notice of the ways our mental, social, and Spiritual health suffered.
As Lisa Carlson, the immediate past president of the American Public Health Association, expressed, "We don't have a vaccine for our mental health like we do for our physical health," Carlson added. "So, it will take longer to come out of those challenges."
As one who loves learning about healthy habits to incorporate into my life, the latest nutrition plans, essential oils, fitness trends…I have found myself contemplating how habits might also help us combat these mental health challenges. Two years ago, a healthcare professional helped me radically alter my habits to cure my insomnia and it’s been life changing. A good night’s sleep does wonders for your physical and mental health!
What are the healthy habits that promote mental health, allowing us to thrive?
Jesus said: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10 NIV)
Healthy habits are those habits that help us live life to the full.
Most of us are pretty clear that eating lots of junk food and never moving our bodies would be unhealthy habits that steal life from us. None of us want to be careless when it comes to our health and how we treat our bodies.
But is it possible that some so-called “healthy” habits can steal life from us, too?
When we make food or fitness choices out of fear, obsession, or anxiety, life is being stolen.
When we beat ourselves up for eating dessert or missing a workout, life is being stolen.
When we prioritize our to-do list over a much-needed nap while the baby sleeps, life is being stolen.
When we continue “attending” church online merely out of convenience, life is being stolen.
It’s hard to admit, but there was a season of my life where I declined invitations to join friends for dinner out of fear that I wouldn’t be able to stick to my eating plan. During that season, my relational health suffered. Life was stolen.
The path to “life to the full” is one of balance. Balancing emotional health, physical health, Spiritual health, and relational health.
Jesus is our example. Luke 2:52 (NIV) tells us, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”
Isn’t wisdom the ideal of mental health? And physical stature a picture of physical health? Doesn’t favor with God and man imply Spiritual and relational health?
Jesus lived life in balance and wants us to find the balance that allows us to live life to the full.
So, find time to connect with friends and family AND start the day connecting with the Creator of the Universe.
Get outside to get some exercise---go for a walk with a friend or play a game of tag with your kids in the back yard AND take that nap on the couch when you can.
Eat the broccoli AND eat the chocolate. In moderation, of course!
Love people well AND set up boundaries for those who are unable to love you well.
Forgive others AND forgive yourself. Always choose grace over guilt
Invest in your relationships with those you love AND in your relationship with the Lover of your soul.
Live life to the full AND glorify your Father in Heaven (Matt. 5:16 NIV)