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15 February 2021
A personal journey to a healthy mind, body and spirit
Words Christine Waller
2020 was a season where we all needed a whole bunch of grace. July 2020 was when I chose to offer that grace to myself.
I was in the middle of an ‘interesting’ year and felt like I was travelling okay, considering the circumstances in our world. Deep down, though, I knew I wasn’t living my best life.
A check-up with my doctor presented me with a different picture. There were high blood pressure issues, my cholesterol levels weren’t looking that impressive, I was getting headaches and blurred vision and my depression and anxiety were starting to make noises in the basement of my life.
My lovely doctor had a stern, but grace-filled chat with me and encouraged me to choose to make some changes. “Your health”, she reminded me, “is about concentrating on the whole person – a segment every day.”
I left with a referral to a dietician, the promise that I would connect with my psychologist, that I would make time to do something in my week that energises me and that, overall, I would be kind to myself.
And so, my journey to grace-filled, ‘segment a day’ health began. This process lined up with a Bible verse that was really resonating with me – Romans chapter 12, verse 1. It says, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering” (The Message translation).
I was hopeful, but gnawing at the back of my mind were the many times that I had tried this before. If you can name the weight loss program – I can guarantee you that I’ve tried it!
This time though, I wasn’t just focusing on the segment of weight loss and the number on the scales, but all the segments that I hadn’t made the time for, or realised the joy and freedom in – those that make me the person that I am.
A second difference was a gift that God sent me via social media. I shared on Facebook about starting this journey and my friend Yvonne messaged me and asked whether we could support each other. Six months later, we still message each other on Saturday mornings to check in, encourage and share a whole bunch of grace.
Everyone’s life segments will look different and that’s how it’s meant to be. God made us each unique. Here are some of the segments I’m focusing on throughout my week:
MENTAL HEALTH Looking after it proactively rather than reactively. The creative journalling based on author and social research professor Brené Brown’s technique that I’m working through with my psychologist is fabulous, and has been so helpful.
DIET Filling my supermarket trolley with vegetables and fruit instead of processed foods.
HOBBIES Taking time to do things I enjoy such as jigsaws, Lego, high teas, reading and cross stitch.
PHYSICAL Enjoying Parkrun. I also aim to walk every day this year.
FUN Watching movies, bush walking, catching up with friends.
FAMILY Date nights, spending time individually with my adult kids, catching up with interstate or overseas family through phone calls, Zoom, and in-person when the borders open.
STUDY I am studying a diploma in Community Services.
MUSIC I am continuing to learn the harp.
SPIRITUAL Starting each day on the lookout for what God is doing and living the life that Jesus modelled through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Being involved in a ‘life group’ where we read scripture and share the challenges and joys of living our faith, sharing podcasts, prayer and music. Remembering that God is in the details of my life.
As a result of these changes, I commenced a ‘jigsaw café’ in my home. Six to eight people would ‘book in’ for the 3-4 hour session, receive a jigsaw to start on, make new friends and enjoy a ‘cuppa’ together.
Similarly, I began a ‘Lego Masters Café’ and an ‘Escape to the Chateau’ high tea where we watched the British documentary series of the same name and shared a socially-distanced high tea. Using something that I enjoy was a great way to connect with people during the COVID-19 restrictions.
Six months in and I have lost the first 10 kilos that the doctor suggested, and my blood pressure and cholesterol have greatly improved. More importantly, I am learning to value myself.
Singer and songwriter Lauren Daigle wrote these words in her song You Say, which six months ago could have come from my pen:
“I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low
Remind me once again just who I am because I need to know.”
My identity is who God says I am. Loved and enough – just as I am. Even when I’m not making progress, I know that I am imperfect and I’m enough!
Over these past six months, I’ve learnt that it is wise to practise the pause, to regroup and celebrate where you are, right here, right now. I can’t focus on every segment at the same time, so I hit the pause button on that area until it’s time to hit release again.
My daily intention is to continue with this new rhythm and to live authentically as God made me to be – healthy in body, mind and spirit. In this journey I need a whole bunch of grace – why don’t you join me in 2021 and live your best authentic life?
Major Christine Waller is a Salvation Army officer (pastor) serving in Adelaide, South Australia.