Balancing Physical and Spiritual Wellness

Betty - Pella, Iowa
Entered on March 25, 2009

“I believe wellness is more than physical fitness.”

Four years ago while I was training to run a marathon, I realized that training for something of that magnitude was more than a physical event. It also required mental conditioning, and I needed a mental plan. I memorized scripture verses from the Bible for each mile of the run. The verses I committed to memory numerically progressed with the miles for easy recall while running. This spiritual nourishment fueled my running time. Despite my fail-safe plan, ten days before the race I hit a road block. A disk in my neck herniated, and I was unable to run the marathon.

My visit with the neurosurgeon included two options. I could have a surgery where an incision would be made in the front of my throat, the doctor would push aside my esophagus and trachea in order to reach the herniated disk and replace it with a bone plate taken from the body of a pig. The second option was to get a steroid injection to the spinal column to decrease the bulging disk tissue. I dreaded the thought of doing EITHER option, but I was in pain, so I settled for the least intrusive and made an appointment for the steroid shot.

When I got to the doctor’s office, I was given two valium and was told to wait for my turn to see the doctor. There was a very large gentleman (twice my weight) sitting next to me, and I wondered how many valium he had taken. When I asked the nurse how she decided how many valium to give, she inexplicably said, “Everyone gets two!” Consequently, before I knew it, I had trouble turning the pages of the magazine in my lap. When my name was called, my husband helped me wobble down a hall and plop down, face first, on a table. The next thing I knew, I was in the car riding home.

During this time of physical healing, I was hurting spiritually too. I needed mental conditioning to speed my recovery. I searched the scriptures and found one that came alive for me. I focused on the love of God, and the gifts he gave so I could receive inner healing. I recited that truth every morning before I stepped out of my bed. I also added scripture reading to my morning routine. The steroid shot was successful, but I believe that it was the combined power of the physical steroid injection and the daily spiritual nourishment that healed me.

Even though running that marathon did not turn out the way I wanted it to, I learned that wellness involves balancing physical AND spiritual health. That just might be a life lesson I wouldn’t have learned any other way.