To continue our blog about setting goals, this week, we focus on the physical goals.

It may be weird to be writing about spiritual goals at this point in the series, but the physical affects almost everything else.

In 1976 Sister Callista Roy developed the Adaptive model of nursing that stated humans are complex bio-psycho-social beings who interact and adapt to their environment. In the years that followed, a spiritual component would be added to the description. As a nun, Roy had developed a model that incorporated a very Hebraic way of understanding human beings made in the image of God. When all of these components worked together, we experience “wholeness” or balance. 

The word “shalom” means wholeness. When the Jews greeted one another with “shalom” they were wishing the blessing of God upon one another. When Jesus spoke of abiding in Him, he was communicating the idea of shalom, or wholeness. This was the blessedness that the Psalmist spoke of in Psalm 1:

Blessed is the one…

whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither
    whatever they do prospers.

(Psalm 1a, 2-3)

Jesus pointedly used the imagery here of a tree when he spoke of abiding in Him so that we could bear more fruit. The opposite of shalom, translated peace, is anxiety. The root word for anxiety means to be pulled apart or stretched in different directions. We are all too familiar with feeling drawn and quartered as human beings in modern society, but Jesus is speaking of wholeness. We can only experience wholeness when all facets of the RPMS are balanced and working as God intended. Our bodies are not just a collection of systems, the systems are inexorably linked and interlocked. In Western medicine, we embrace the ABCs or Airway, Breathing, Circulation. Everything is about the blood to a Western Doctor. Eastern medicine approaches everything from the opinion that the central nervous system is the key to everything functioning properly. The organs are powered by the electricity stored in our bodies nervous system, and if the nerves aren’t conducting properly, then the organ will not function at optimum levels. They can both be proven right scientifically, but they each prioritize one of the bodies systems. Wholeness, peace, or shalom comes from the integration of all of our being being in harmony with the design of our creator. Our physical, mental, social and spiritual aspects blend together and cross into one another, but God alone is the one who can bring them balance.

It’s funny when I meet with a bunch of aging men still in denial that the warranty has run out on their post-40 bodies. Fighting the flab, eating veggies, and other stuff old people like to talk about makes this part of the exercise part comedy, part confessional. 

But often people neglect the physical with the excuse of the spiritual taking priority. They might quote, “For bodily training profits little…” when Paul coached Timothy to train spiritually, but Paul was probably more physically fit than any of us. I mean, look at what he went through, how much he traveled. How much he endured.

John Wesley, a missionary who nearly rivaled Paul’s endeavors, believed that ministers of the gospel needed to be fit simply so that they could endure the challenges of being an itinerant circuit rider. He “beat his body” as Paul said, so that he could sleep outside, sleep without a bed, and go with very little food. Extreme by our standards perhaps, but Wesley traveled an insane amount of miles, and if anyone needed to be fit, it was him. He actually started riding a carriage the last few years of his life because he started to get pressure sores at 79 years old and could no longer ride a horse for long miles. So strongly did he feel about the link between a minister’s body and soul that he wrote a medical textbook, hoping that it would serve the ministers under his direction. 

So what are your physical goals?

For me, I’ve needed to work out regularly after being in my textbook dungeon. I’ve been running, hopping around with Shawn-T (Insanity Workout), and trying to practice intermittent fasting, and stretching. This 47 year-old body isn’t what it once was, but I pray that it will hold up until I’ve finished the race. God gave me a car, and I intend to drive it until it’s written off by the insurance company…and to do that, I’m going to have to keep up the maintenance.

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