Years ago I learned these three terms all go together. You need one to have the others. When I would travel with the church youth group we would be assigned a person or small group that we would check in with. These were the people to whom I would ask the tough questions. “How are you doing physically after this long day on the work site?” “Are you mentally holding up with the language and cultural barriers that we are experiencing?” “Where have you seen God working in your life and in the lives of those around you?” Every day we were required to make a point to check in on all three areas. Someone, a long time ago, decided that it would be funny to call it PMS. No not the one you are thinking of, I mean the Physical Mental Spiritual check in one. We have all laughed very hard over the years about the question, “How is your PMS today?” This is the only way I would ever ask someone that question. Hahaha!
These three things are what make us who we are. You need all three working in harmony to be the best you can be. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. I know that is true for me. When you really break it down, if one area of your life is causing problems then the other areas will be affected too. That is why these conversations are so vital when I have been on these trips. If you were feeling sick, really struggling with a cultural difference, or just not seeing the reason why you were there, these check ins allowed others to stand along side you and help. There is no way I could have made it through without having someone there to talk with me about all the experiences. I have grown because of it.
When I’m not traveling and just living the day to day life, this all slips to the wayside. I don’t go up to my friends and ask them the meaningful questions that are so important. Instead we leave it to a “Hey how are you?” “Fine, you?” “Fine.” I know that 99% of the time if people were given the chance they would say a lot more than fine. But that has become the cultural norm. Somehow we need to change this.
Recently I was watching a silly reality show about people’s weight loss journey. Don’t ask me why I got sucked into the show, but that was the channel it was on when I turned on the tv. These people were on a year long journey to make a change in their lives for the better. What caught my attention was that it wasn’t just teaching these people how to eat healthy and exercise, it was taking care of them physically, mentally, and spiritually. That doesn’t happen that often. If you were to take a person out of their lives and make them exercise and eat right and then sent them home, it wouldn’t work. They would initially see results but then fall back into their old ways. I know we have all seen people go on a stint of eating healthy and exercising, only for it to last for a short time. There was something missing. On the show they addressed all areas of their lives. The difficult topics of food, exercise, mental health, relationships, and more were brought to the forefront. All were nurtured back to health, so the individual could be balanced physically, mentally, and spiritually.
So often we think something sounds like a good idea mentally, like it has all the scientific backing you want to hear, but we forget about how it will physically affect our body. Or we think that our heart is in something and we are being called, but we find out that we mentally cannot deal with the toll it takes on us. Having 2 out of 3 of the areas is just as bad as 1.
After thinking about all this for awhile I decided that maybe I could help myself out by taking stock of where I stood physically, mentally, and spiritually. Guess what, all 3 areas need help. Not something fun to find out. Lucky for me I have some wonderful friends who I can reach out to for support. I had a very long conversation one night about all of this with a good friend. I just couldn’t get it out of my head. For instance, my workouts at the gym would be useless if I wasn’t mentally present. Or how my spiritual life wasn’t going to get any stronger if I mentally wasn’t prepared to dive deeper. An action plan was hashed out.
For me making a plan and actually carrying it out can be difficult. I know I am the queen of changing subjects or steering conversations toward things that are safe to talk about. So asking for people to challenge me and ask the tough questions isn’t easy. When has life ever been easy? With that said it is spring and time to “spring clean”. Out with the old, in with the new.
I’m going to challenge myself to improve physically, mentally, and spiritually during this season. Is it time for you to do some spring cleaning too? Take some time and sit and reflect on these areas in your life. But, there is something good about involving others in the plan too. I know for me that is when it becomes real, when you are held accountable by someone you trust.
Hopefully we will all grow and change this spring like the trees, grass, and flowers. Here we go!