So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his [beloved] who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.
—Romans 8:28, The Passion Translation (TPT)
Maybe you’ve heard the 1960s song that’s used in the soundtrack of The Boss Baby, a recent and delightful animated film that debates whether love is a finite resource. You may remember singing this in your bell-bottom pants: ♫ “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.”♬ It’s just as true today as it was then.
As February, the love month (Valentine’s Day and my daughter’s birthday!) draws to a close, I want to expand on the meaning of wellness. What the world needs now as much as ever—besides love—is faith, purpose, and joy. Wellness is more holistically expressed in these four spiritual virtues. Wellness is more than physical health (eating well, reducing stress, and exercising regularly). Wellness requires spiritual practices as well as physical actions. Whether you exercise or not, you can strengthen your overall wellness by including more activities that connect you to your divine nature.
As you strengthen your spiritual wellness, you may discover that you have more energy and zeal for increasing your physical routines. Your emotional health will also improve. Here are easy suggestions for enhancing and integrating more love, purpose, faith, and joy into your lives.
The book of 1 John tells us that God is love and that God’s love for us is unlimited. It also says that we can’t truly love God unless we love God’s people (1 John 4:7-21). An added incentive to loving others is that when we love ourselves and others, we are healthier. There is evidence that being in a loving relationship (partners, friends, family, pets) can reduce the stress hormone, cortisol, and release more of the feel-good hormone, oxytocin.
Practice: Try being more loving by offering loving acts daily. Example: “Listen to the person who is talking without interrupting.”
Live Your Purpose
We all have a calling on our lives that is our response to God’s purpose and plan for us. You may have more than one purpose. Your purpose doesn’t have to be BIG. God uses small offerings. (Remember theloaves and fishes?!)
Practice: Begin with a small action and keep going. You will know by the outcome that you are fulfilling God’s plan for your life. Be open to a different path. Listen to your heart to know if an activity excites you.
Build Your Faith
You may have heard the saying “Step out in faith.” That’s what I did when I moved to Houston at age 25. I had no job, no family or friends there, and no place to live. I took my savings and moved from the coldest winter ever in Detroit to sunny Houston. I soon had everything I needed because I believed that God would move mountains for me—and God did. I don’t recommend that extreme a test of faith. But in case you are thinking you must be old before you have real faith, it’s not true. Your faith comes by believing and then acting. (I do recommend having a plan, too!)
Practice: Read your Bible. Memorize two or three scriptures to recite when you feel alone or when you want to grow in your faith. Try: I can do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
Experience More Joy
Joy is a way of living that transcends what is happening in the present moment. Joy allows you to get up in the morning with gratitude despite crying the night before. Joy is being grateful anyway despite setbacks and disappointments. At the center of joyful living is the ability to be thankful for what is good in your situation.
Practice: Offer a daily prayer of gratitude for one thing in your life. Repeat the prayer throughout the day. “Thank you God for my daughter and granddaughter.”
By living with more love, purpose, faith, and joy, you can have better wellness and health. These spiritual virtues are not only what the world needs now, but I need them now, too.