Does Our Spirituality Influence Our Health?
I have been always interested in the relationship between spirituality and health. I’ve noticed that when I feel closer to God, I’m more likely to pay attention to other areas of my life. Similarly, being spiritually dry can cause imbalances in other areas of life. Taking time to cultivate spiritual growth also helps me focus on God and reframes my purpose in life. According to FamilyDoctor.org, spirituality is the way we find hope, meaning, comfort, and inner peace in life. Research demonstrates that the body, mind, and spirit are connected.
Dr. David Anderson, co-founder of StayWell Health Management, states that approximately 40% of all deaths in the United States are premature due to unhealthy lifestyle choices such as tobacco use, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, misuse of alcohol and drugs, as well as accidents. Other contributors to early death include genetic predisposition (30%), social circumstances (15%), poor access to quality health care (10%), and environmental exposure (5%).
Our behavior and choices influence not only our future, but our bodies, minds, and our spirits and souls. Health influence the way we relate to God and others. Prayer and meditation also contribute to a sense of peace and calm. Maximizing health is an important aspect of our spiritual pursuit.
Maximizing our health provides energy and focus for spiritual priorities.
When we feel well, we have more energy to invest in maintaining spiritual disciplines and ministering to others. When we’re fatigued or in pain, it’s hard to maintain a schedule, exercise, stay hydrated, and eat healthfully. Sometimes just reaching for a water bottle can seem overwhelming. The more we can maximize our health, the more energy we have for spiritual priorities.
Caring for our health is part of stewardship of God’s gifts. Stewardship isn’t just about giving money to God. It’s about managing all the resources He’s entrusted to our care. One of the most important facets of our stewardship is caring for our bodies, which are the physical means through which we express love for others. Caring for our health enables us to carry out the double-love command: love God, and as a result, love others as we desire to be loved.
Health struggles can draw us closer to God as we learn dependence and trust. Even when we do not enjoy good health, caring for our health can be an act of devotion to God. When we are ill, struggle with pain, and deal with physical frailty, we can choose to turn to God, trust Him, and thrive in our dependence upon Him. Life often doesn’t give us the answers we want, and it’s in those times that our faith is put to the test. These moments often draw us closer to God than times of health and prosperity.
How has God used your health to grow your spiritual life? Or has your health pulled you away from pursuing faith?
In what ways do your physical health and spiritual health connect, and how do you balance both areas to your benefit? I’d love to hear from you.
Peace and Health,