Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us~ Hebrews 12:1
2015 will go down in history as the year that refused to go away quietly. For our family, 2015 ended with a rather brutal case of the flu. I got hit the hardest and because I am blessed with a husband who worries too much, I spent the better part of a day at the local urgent care clinic.
I am not a fan of urgent care. Waiting is NOT my thing and urgent care is all about waiting. It’s just what you do. First you wait to speak with the receptionist. Then you are moved to a reception area to wait some more. Then the medical assistant escorts you to a sad little cubicle; and at that point the waiting really begins. They even make you wait to leave.
The waiting aside, the thing I find most troublesome about urgent care is being packed into a room teeming with sick people. I have nothing against sick people per se, but there is something about being confined in an enclosed space with a dozen or more sneezey strangers harboring who-knows-what kind of strange sickness that I find truly unsettling.
I was waiting in the reception area, attempting to distract myself from thinking about the number of viruses that could potentially be mutating into the next outbreak, when the medical assistant called my name. I was ushered into the back room, where she pointed to a scale and informed me that that I needed to be weighed before I could see a doctor.
I attempted to resist. I hate to be weighed even more than I hate to wait. I don’t own a scale. In my opinion, voluntarily being weighed is a little like begging for bad news, and I like to think I’m smarter than that. But good manners eventually won out over my dread and I obediently stepped onto the scale, but only after removing my shoes and coat. A few minutes later I found myself sincerely wishing that I could have taken off more than just my shoes and coat.
I will not tell you how much I weighed. In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that it was a large number, one I haven’t seen on a scale since my pregnancy years. After the heartbreaking weigh-in I was escorted to the cubicle where I had plenty of time to think while I waited for the doctor.
I was shocked and horrified by the number on the scale. One of the reasons I hate scales is because they don’t lie and they have no way of softening the bad news. But it wasn’t the number that bothered me the most. It was the fact that I didn’t even notice the pounds sneaking on that really bothered me. It’s the sort of thing you would think one would notice.
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks: weight is not the most dangerous thing we can miss sneaking up on us. Spiritual health is far more important to the big picture and even easier to neglect.
One of the reasons spiritual health is so easy to neglect is because it cannot be measured by looking at a person or the number of spiritual activities we participate in. Spiritual health can be faked, at least on the surface. A person can look good on the outside, say all the right things, be in church every time the doors are open and even read the Bible daily and still have a sin-sick soul.
Spiritual health is measured in attitudes and actions, rather than by appearances. One sure sign of good soul health is when we can see and celebrate the hand of God in more than just the times of ease and plenty. Our spirits are healthy when we see people the way God sees them. When we understand that people are, the end, never simply the means to an end. Our spirits are healthy when we are engaged in activities and relationships where God is at the center.
We know our spirits are healthy when we are content with what we have but are still seeking to grow in whatever calling God has given us. The key to staying spiritually healthy is to stay close to God, to keep Him at the center of every question we have, every concern that comes our way, and every celebratory moment we are privileged to experience.