Our theme for this month: “The Gift of Being Yourself”
Our Bible verse for today: “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. And may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Keep your whole self healthy”
I love the title of our theme for this month “The Gift of Being Yourself”. I wish I could tell you that I thought it up, but I didn’t. I borrowed it from author David Benner. It’s the title of a great little book he wrote more than fifteen years ago.
I met David at a conference on spiritual formation in Los Angeles. He taught a workshop at the conference and he had a booth in the resource center where he was selling his books. At that time David was a professor of psychology and spirituality at the Psychological Studies Institute in Atlanta. His specialized field of study was the deep and important connection between the mind and spirit (thus his dual emphasis on psychology and spirituality). His book “The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery” is a great read and it is very helpful. I recommend it to you.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:23 the Apostle Paul alludes to the fact that as Christians we are much more than just a spirit-being who happens to inhabit a physical body for the time we are here on earth. Sometimes we hear the physical body compared to a spacesuit that an astronaut wears in order to exist in outer space. In this metaphor our spirit has to wear this “earth suit” in order to exist in the physical realm. But as soon as this life is over, the earth suit is discarded and the spirit goes on to exist without it in the spiritual realm.
That’s an appealing metaphor, but unfortunately it’s simplistic and not entirely accurate. There’s a deep and intimate connection between the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. All of them are an important part of who we are as individuals and each of them has an impact on the others. In order to be our best selves now, we need to do what we can to be as healthy as we can for as long as we can physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
With respect to our theme of “The Gift of Being Yourself”, there’s a balance that needs to be achieved between accepting yourself for who you are, while at the same time doing the things you need to do in order to be your best self. Not in order to please or impress others, but in order to please the Lord and in order to be your best.
God gives you the freedom to relax and to just be you, but at the same time you will feel good and be your happiest when you are being your best self. We will spend the rest of the month exploring that important balance.