Sorry 80s music lovers, the title is the last reference to Dead or Alive that you’re going to get. But you’re welcome for getting this tune stuck in your head ALL. DAY. LONG. Like a record, baby.
Eh hem. Moving on.
Raise your hand if anyone has ever told you that you’ve got it easy. Whether it’s a crotchety but well-meaning aunt who says you don’t know what real work is or a mom who says you have WAY more help with the kids than she ever did, we’ve all heard it. And it’s true in many cases. Our lives are so overflowing with blessings. We have more than any generation before us. Even America’s poor are wealthier than 80% of the world’s population (no really). So why are we so depressed? Why are we so overweight? Why are we so sick?
First, let me tell you, “there’s nothing new under the sun.” I know this may be contrary to stuff you’ve read elsewhere, but I’m here to say that things AREN’T worse now than ever before. Generations before us, people were wealthy. Plenty of people have had it easy before. Plenty of people have been depressed. Plenty of people have eaten unhealthfully. Romans were bulimic ON PURPOSE so that they could eat endless amounts. For real. Puking for the soul purpose of eating and drinking more. Grody. So what is different now? I would argue: NOTHING.
Before I delve into that truth bomb, let me revisit the purpose of this blog. We are sisters encouraging each other and YOU to do the best mom-ing you can. That is going to take spiritual health, physical health, and mental health. But can you possibly believe that, as Christians, these are all interconnected?
I invite you to view these three areas as almost inseparable (I say almost for a reason. More on that later). At the center is the heart of it all: Jesus. Without the most important component–spiritual health–all else is positively worthless. In contrast, a healthy spiritual life bears abundant fruit. “I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he WILL bear much fruit.” That’s right. A Mommy connected to Jesus will bear fruit simply because she is just that, connected to Jesus.
So how does that connect with mental and physical health? I like to view it similar to a solar system. Our spiritual health is at the center, like the sun, constantly keeping any other area of our lives in orbit. Without that pull, we fall into bottomless bleak darkness. You could be an Olympic athlete with the most positive outlook on life, but without Jesus you are dead in sin, obliviously spiraling out of orbit. It might be a fun ride now, but it will be an unpleasant crash eventually. As Christians, our physical and spiritual health are orbiting around our “Jesus epicenter,” constantly in check. But if one stops it’s movement, the other will collide into it and risk destroying the whole system. Explosion.
Every one of us has likely experienced such an explosion in our lives. Something in our own personal solar system wasn’t working. Maybe our spiritual UNhealthiness left our physical and mental health careening out of control into neverland. “God couldn’t love someone like me. And if he couldn’t, why should anyone else? Why should I care?” Explosion.
Maybe we had been doing ok spiritually, until the panic attacks set in and messed with our minds. Then we stopped exercising and eating right because life itself had become a chore and every aspect of our lives wasn’t worth it. Especially those trivial things like food and activity. Explosion.
Or maybe we started out by eating so poorly and living such an unhealthy lifestyle that our mental health crashed. We never felt good about ourselves because the food we were putting into our systems was pure garbage and we never headed for the treadmill to get those serotonin boosts. Explosion.
Back to our previous question. If everyone today is experiencing these explosions, why would I say that NOTHING is different between now and generations in the past? What about GMOs and the complete destruction of wheat and all the technology and sugars and pesticides and toxins and everything else making us sick? Yes, you could argue that these are problems. But really, these are merely symptoms of a sickness as old as time itself: sin.
“Well thanks for the sermon, Anna. Here I was waiting for something profound, and you’ve come back to ‘sin.’ I heard it in church yesterday. I get it. Sin: BAD. Jesus: GOOD. Twinkies: BAD. Carrots: GOOD. Lying on my duff all day: BAD. Treadmill: GOOD. I need help fixing this sickness of sin, not more reminders of what’s causing all this trouble!”
Ok, ok, imaginary (and kind of bossy) reader friend. Chillax. There is a cure.
We are all sinners, so how can we possibly reconstruct our destroyed “solar” systems? What’s the cure-all?! Maybe you are one who is in the midst of an explosion. Maybe you are asking yourself, “How can I make this stop? It is impossible. I give up.” Or maybe you are past the point of asking questions and have already given up. Well, I have amazing news for you: You are NOT alone.
The God of heaven and earth; the God who created, with A WORD, every solar system in this universe; the God who knit you together in your mother’s womb, will not abandon you. He will rebuild your Solar System with A WORD: Jesus. And you? You believe that this Almighty God can work a life-changing miracle in you. One step at a time (sometimes one step forward and two steps back), you will rejoin the land of the living.
One last note: I did say ALMOST. Depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders are nothing to mess with. If you are struggling and you need help, please get help. It’s real and it is sometimes beyond your control. Please seek help! Very often God uses doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, and others as a way to carry out his plan in your life. There are also many physical ailments that prevent people from being able to carry out certain activities. These mental and physical struggles do not mean that your solar system is destroyed. Your lives still revolve around THE SON, your system might just look a little different. 🙂 And as my mama always says, “variety is the spice of life.”
Watch for Post 2 in this series for info on what specific things take our physical and mental health out of orbit.