Your Faith Life and Wellness
By Kathy Ferguson, RN, Parish Nurse
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. 3 John 2
“Wellness isn’t just what you eat and drink, it’s how you LIVE (Michelle Steinke-Baumgard, 2020).” I read this quote as I was preparing this article and I thought, “Yes! This is what wellness is all about.” This year we will be exploring all of the aspects of health and well-being in the monthly e-news articles. January’s health and wellness article introduced us to all of the concepts that encompass our health: faith, medical & physical health, movement, vocational health, emotional well-being, nutrition, social & interpersonal well-being, finances, and intellectual well-being. This month we begin with what is our foundation for well-being: Our Faith. The ELCA Wholeness Wheel demonstrates this beautifully with faith/spiritual well-being surrounding all of the other aspects of wellness and influences each of them. The Rev. Stephen L. Ganzkow-Wold of the ELCA described spiritual well-being as “the adhesive that holds this all together.”
“We must consider our health as wellness in body and spirit together. We don’t exist in the spirit alone, and we don’t exist in the body alone. If we want real health, we have to start with the understanding that God cares about our bodies. We honor God when we care for our bodies and spirits together (Model for Healthy Living, Church Health Center).”
When we are healthy in our faith life, we feel more connected to not only to God but to those around us. Our beliefs and values guide us when we make decisions and lead us to develop a meaningful and faith-based purpose in our life.
A majority of Americans believe that prayer can help in healing. There has been research done in this area and some results indicate that an individual who is being prayed for, even by strangers, had an improved outcome. However, there have also been studies that showed that prayer had no effect on healing and a very small number that showed that prayer had a negative effect. I believe that the effect of prayer is something that is hard to quantify. The result of prayer may not be what is considered healing in the medical world. The result of prayer may be a sense of peace, renewed relationships with family and friends, and hope and joy in the belief that there is a better, eternal life waiting—these are all healing in my opinion. Prayer and faith may be experienced differently by each of us and therefore the results of prayer and healing are also defined differently.
How can you take action in improving the faith aspect of your health? Consider how the following may enrich your faith life and affect your health.
• Share God’s presence in your life with someone.
• Express thankfulness.
• Give generously of time or resources.
• Actively involve yourself at Bethel.
• Identify things that you are doing that feeds your spirit.
Question of the month: Think about a time when your faith helped you form a vision for better health. What happened in your life at the time?
Next month’s topic will be about the effect our physical and medical health has on our overall wellness.
Church Health. Model for Healthy Living: Introduction with Reflections (2014). Church Health: Memphis, TN.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The Wholeness Wheel.