Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. ESV 3 John 1:2
My wife and I continually notice the connection of body, mind and spirit in our ministry. When someone is depressed, struggling at work, and then develops a sickness, it’s not long until they want to drop out of church. In the same way, if they have a financial crisis, then tension in their marriage, we won’t see them for a season. If they struggle with their children, then find themselves wrestling with anxiety, they disappear as well. In short, it seems our spiritual life is tied very much to our physical life. Perhaps for this reason, John prayed his friends would be in good health, because he realized this impacted the state of their soul.
For this reason, I set aside Saturdays to take stock of my personal self. I consider my physical body (struggling with bronchitis this week). It’s just a frustrating cough, but it’s robbed me of meaningful sleep, caused me to sleep on the couch, and left me a tad weak. This makes me feel distant from Paula, causes me to sleep late to rest up and thus miss my devotions, and leaves me cranky with the kids. Suddenly a minor illness has impacts on my soul and spiritual formation. Likewise, depression or anxiety will impact my spiritual life and vice versa. Unconfessed sin that leaves me feeling distant from God can lead to depression and anxiety. Lack of sleep will lower my ability to fight against sin. Deep prayer times will boost my mood and give me strength when I’m weak. All of these things are interconnected and learning to carefully evaluate them gives me guidance for the week ahead.
By taking time to evaluate my physical, spiritual and emotional condition, I can make necessary adjustments. For this week, I realize I need to adjust my quiet times to allow for more sleep and attempted rest. When I’m up coughing, I can redeem that time in prayer. The frustrations of sickness can teach me of the frailty of this life and make me yearn for heaven. I can learn from and even thrive through this little bout of bronchitis, but only if I take the time to evaluate my body, spirit and emotions from God’s perspective.