Once again Parish Nursing is emphasizing the interrelationship of spiritual, mental, and physical health. We all struggle with this: trying to remain calm, trusting in the Lord to provide for our needs, trying not to worry about our children, grandchildren, other loved ones, not worrying about ourselves, our church, or our country. We tell ourselves that “it is in the Lord’s hands” only to pick up the issue all over again. We struggle to forgive and forget, to have faith in ourselves and our Lord. Yet, we worry and fret. When we are chronically stressed, the body produces an overabundance of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These are linked to high blood pressure, damaged arteries, weight gain, high blood sugar levels, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other disorders such as cancer. “Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
We know what to eat to be healthy but we like fast food. We believe the studies which show that people who don’t smoke, keep their weight at a reasonable level, consume a healthy diet, get sufficient exercise, and drink alcohol only in moderation will have a healthier life but we do not consume a healthy diet, or get enough exercise, or keep our weight down.
The apostle Paul asked the Corinthians, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God and that you are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Because we know this is true, we need to be more diligent in taking care of our whole selves.
If we do not feel well physically or are suffering from a mental or spiritual illness, we may be less likely to attend church or faith-based activities which provide the very social relationships which we so badly need. We are social creatures. We need each other. We need love, affirmation, and belonging. We need our church, which is our community. We need a real connection with the God of the universe. Remember there are three areas of us: body, mind, and spirit. A problem in one area of human health will impact the other two areas.
Here it is Easter time. It is time for a new dedication to Jesus. “All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being.” (John 1:3) We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) — an interplay of body, mind, and spirit. We are a whole person. We must each take care of all aspects of ourselves. It is our responsibility to our Lord, our creator.
In Proverbs 17:22: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” So strive to be happy and of good cheer for this is health promoting!
Finally, pray. Two of the most powerful prayers are “Help me” and “Thank you.” In all things, pray. Do we want the power of God in our life? Pray. Do we want peace? Pray. “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”
RN, MSN, for the Parish Nurses