Our Health - A Matter of Stewardship

“Many United Methodist pastors are on a quicker road to heaven than they should be”. These were words written in a June 8, 2011 article by Heather Hahn with the United Methodist News Report www.umc.org, She wasn’t making a statement about going to heaven as much as she was speaking about the state of health and well-being of clergy in that denomination. She was speaking of the increase of obesity and chronic medical conditions over the years among clergy.

At one time, clergy were among the healthiest of vocations, physically speaking. Now times have changed, and so have the self care among persons in the set-apart ministry. The UMC and many other denominations and faith communities have formed initiatives to bring greater awareness among their leadership and parishioners to be more proactive in creating resources and opportunities for self care. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, for instance, is working collaboratively with The Mayo Clinic to provide a healthcare assessment and a plan for care for those ordained in the ministry of that denomination. Many other faith communities are also recognizing the need to bring awareness and encourage their membership to take seriously the need for their health. A local church in Columbia, SC, St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, has a whole ministry around wellness, and is guided by these words:
God created humans in the image of God to be cared for by us – “The Bible tells me so”

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power.
For you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created”  Revelation 4:11
“For it was you who formed my inward parts:
You knit me together in my mother’s womb
I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works”   Psalm 139:13-14

“He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk numbly with your God?”   Micah 6:8
When you think of “health” and “healthcare”, what do you think of ? Most think of the body, maybe their mental health. God calls us to attend to our bodies, minds and spirits! And not to each part individually, but to how body, mind and spirit are integrated and are a whole. Healthcare is a holistic matter. Our healthcare is a Stewardship issue!

When we are tired, we are usually tired not only in body, but our mind has difficulty focusing and our spirit has difficulty connecting with others because, well, we are tired! WE describes all of who we are! When you or I make a statement about ourselves, we do not separate the parts of us, we make a statement of “I” or “me”. “You” means all of you! So why do we separate ourselves when we think about our health?

I (that is all of me-body, mind and spirit!) feel very blessed to be a part of a great ministry and organization in Pinnacle Leadership Associates who recognize the importance of both personal and corporate health and care. By perusing the enewsletters and Pinnacle website you can find whatever connects to your needs for wellness and health of either self or organization.

I am a part of two of these opportunities coming up in the months ahead. The first is on November 10, Saturday at Christus Victor Lutheran Church in NW Columbia on Discovering Your Spiritual Type. This will be a 2 ½ hour workshop to integrate personality style using the Peoplemap inventory and exploring personal Spiritual type utilizing Corrine Ware’s book Discover Your Spiritual Type. Further information may be found at http://www.pinnaclelead.com/church/calendar.html#peoplemap-spirituality . This is not a workshop on spirituality as much as it is one to explore how you, being your unique self, find meaning and connection with God and living that out. This recognizes an integration of who you are and how that impacts your search for meaning. This would be a great focus to take back for a Sunday School class focus or group study, as well!

“Living Well, Living Whole, Living Holy” is the second opportunity, and is designed to embrace a wholistic approach to taking care of the caregiver. Being one Friday a month for 5 months starting January 2013, each day will start with a time of greeting and adevotional, followed by conversation with each other and Parker Palmer’s book, Let Your Life Speak: Listening to the Voice of Vocation and an afternoon of group physical activity after a simple lunch. We encourage all levels of physical abilities to participate as you are able. The purpose is to help you, as one who serves others, to care for yourself in a holistic way. You are invited to join Pinnacle Associate Debra and Martha on these Fridays, from 10A to 3PM in the beginning of 2013. Locations vary from one date to another, so check out the link above to learn more. What a great gift this would be to give to yourself and to others you help and journey with! Most importantly, you are caring for the one gift God has given you first and foremost-your Life! You can find further information on this at the link given above.

In this ever increasing fast-paced society, we cannot depend on others to help us slow down or take care of ourselves. We can only give to others what we have within ourselves to give. An adage that I remind myself of often is “You can’t pour from an empty pitcher”. When we do not “fill” our own pitcher, our own self --body, mind AND spirit –we have nothing to offer others. The best gift we can give to those we care about is to be a good steward of ourselves! Then others can live by example and they have the best of what we have to offer.

Martha Beahm, Pinnacle Associate