By Rev. Dr. Candace Adams
Most people know that they should have an annual physical. Typically, a physical includes an exam and blood work. These two components provide a medical doctor with critical information regarding one’s overall physical condition. This routine exam enables a doctor to detect if there are any health concerns that need to be addressed.
What would it be like for Christians to have an annual spiritual wellness exam? Unfortunately, there isn’t blood work or an exam that can easily detect a spiritually undernourished soul. Yet, I believe there are ways for an individual to assess his or her spiritual wellness. There are ways that a person can become more aware of how he or she is fashioned to engage in a meaningful relationship with God and others.
Spiritual wellness, which is a critical issue, is often unaddressed in the local congregation. Yes, we talk about sin and the need for repentance. And there are sermons preached about the importance of prayer and Bible study. But, do most parishioners understand what spiritual wellness is and how to maintain it?
Spiritual wellness is a person’s attentiveness to maintaining an intimate relationship with God through spiritual disciplines and a well-rounded spiritual support system. A spiritual support system includes spiritual mentors, spiritual friends and spiritual directors or guides. There are numerous spiritual disciplines including: prayer, scripture reading, meditation, fasting, Sabbath keeping, journaling, worshipping and hospitality.
Spiritual disciplines and a spiritual support system do not necessarily create a complete picture. A person may go through the motions and not be truly connected to God, which points out the complexity of the issue. Moreover, spiritual wellness is never static. One’s spiritual condition is constantly changing. However, regular spiritual care builds up and protects the spirit.
Spiritual wellness is evident in a person’s life through the Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self- control. Spiritual wellness positions individuals to faithfully serve God.
Spiritual wellness need not be a mystery. It is something that a person can cultivate and sustain. Yet, too often a person has been given a spiritual wellness regiment that doesn’t fit his or her God-designed connection style. He or she has been told to do exercises that are not satisfying. They don’t promote a life-giving connection with God. Some individuals actually leave church because they are unable to relate to God in the method that is “prescribed” by the church leadership.
As a spiritual wellness practitioner, I deeply desire to assist individuals to connect with God in a manner that celebrates who they are created to be. I don’t believe that there is one set way to connect with God rather we have all been fashioned to relate to God according to our unique design. When we discover and embrace our relational style, we are able to freely love God and love others.
On Saturday, September 14, I will offer a virtual workshop, Spiritual Wellness Journey, where individuals will assess their spiritual wellness (self-inventory) and determine how they best connect with God. This workshop is for anyone who desires to learn how assess one’s spiritual wellness and identify his or her unique God-shaped connection style. If you would like more information, please contact Rev. Dr. Candace Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is it time for your spiritual wellness checkup? If so, sign up today for the Spiritual Wellness Journey workshop.