When I think of spiritual wellness and our ability to thrive, I can’t help but think of a buoy in the water and the buoy’s ability to always be at the top of the water surface. Sometimes the water is calm, with no boat chop or weather affecting its smoothness. It is certainly less common to experience smooth water than it is choppy water, which parallels our lives.
Now if that water gets a little choppy from boats or the weather, that buoy still has a function. It still has purpose. It may not always be at the top of the surface, but because of its attributes, it will recover and fulfill its purpose as intended. I would reasonably say that this is mostly how life is represented. The buoy is always going to perform its function based on the character of the water at any given point.
A spiritually fit person—that is, they understand life’s meaning, are connected to soul purpose according to biblical principles, have an understanding of love and grace received from God, and living a joyous and hopeful life—is not bound to society’s moral fluidity and is engaged in spiritual disciplines, for constant growth is similar to the buoy.
Regardless of the type of precarious situation or stress one finds themselves in, a spiritually well individual continues to thrive despite the circumstances. Conditions are irrelevant to this individual, just like it is to the buoy.
With this theory, we can add to it the notion that perspective brings some relativity to the conversation. For example, someone who lives in Boston, Chicago, San Diego, or any large metropolitan area, for example, will have differing perspectives from someone living in rural America or, in much of Montana’s case, frontier America.
Despite these perspective differences, the assessment of their spiritual health remains the same. The components of spiritual wellness are based on God’s truth and are absolute. There is no relativity when it comes to love, hope, purpose, equality, liberty, justice, identity, morality, and so forth. And misrepresenting anything that God has ordained as absolute is a detriment to our spiritual wellness.
To continue with the metaphors, an individual not spiritually attuned to God’s truth is like a rock. No matter what happens with the rock or its size, shape, or smoothness, it will fall to the floor of the body of water eventually. Again, a rock is a rock, and its ability to perform like a buoy is impossible. It will perform as a rock despite the circumstances and characteristics of the water it finds itself in. It is not optimal to be like a rock when it comes to our spiritual health.
If we look at some of the circumstances we may find ourselves in like addition, trauma, loss or death of a loved one, or loss of occupation, the individual with the buoy-like spiritual resilience will be able to recover quicker, unlike someone without hope or the understanding of God’s love and mercy, a disconnect from purpose, and a misaligned identity, who will struggle to find their way through the circumstances they find themselves in.
What formulates our spiritual wellness and frankly our ability to float versus sink is our comprehension of who God is based on his holy Word and connection to the Holy Spirit, the authority of the spiritual realm. God is the master formulator of soul purpose, hope, love, forgiveness, and all things spiritual. I submit to you that the difference between plain living and thriving is based on one’s connection to these facets of God’s formula for life. Not only do we live in a physical world, but we also live in a spiritual world, and we all have access to the creator of both.
Along with the aforementioned absolute truths, another strong indicator of our spiritual wellness is our understanding of grace, or forgiveness. We are all flawed individuals who need forgiveness, but all may not recognize the nature of forgiveness. Along with love, it is the most powerful offer given to all by God through the blood of Christ. And just like love, there is no condition in which we can align with in order to have access to it. We are not to forgive and love others only based on satisfying conditions. We are to forgive and love others because it is commanded of us and offered to us from God.
Without a connection to God, our spiritual health is compromised, and we end up going through life seeking internal instead of eternal desires, essentially pleasure instead of purpose. And seeking pleasure over purpose minimizes one’s ability to thrive and at the same time live in impact.