It’s the Rise, Not the Fall

by Linda Shull

Do you have a plan for your health, well-being, spiritual growth, and refreshment? Does even thinking about having a wellness plan overwhelm you? Have you considered how you will handle a crisis situation beforehand and how that will affect your overall wellness? How will you get back up when circumstances bring you down? When your hopes and plans are thwarted, when wellness is the farthest thing from your mind and you would rather reach for another mocha latte?

To use my definition of wellness from last month, “wellness is consistent, sustainable self-care that wisely invests the life that God has given you.” So how do we do that? How do we prioritize wellness? More importantly, what happens when we fail? One of the surest ways to make wellness a priority is to join a wellness group, which provides accountability, encouragement, and a plan when things go awry.

You may have watched some of the Olympics recently. It was easy to get caught up in the triumphs of the athletes as they raced over a finish line, swam and touched a wall, or completed a gymnastic routine with a 15.8! I was struck by the sacrifice, perseverance and accomplishments of the athletes, even if they didn’t win a medal.

There was one race that stood out to me, a visual of utter disappointment. The runner was 27 year-old Morgan Uceny from the United States, favored to win the 1500 meter race. She was poised, well-trained, and in good position to pull ahead during the race. An accidental clip on her foot from another runner completely changed the outcome of the race. Morgan fell… and didn’t get up.  She stayed on the track, first crying and then pounding her hands in anguish. She stayed there while the other racers completed the race and then for a minute afterwards. She stayed there in anguish, alone.

I wondered why Morgan didn’t get up, then I wondered why someone didn’t come to help her in the first place? Finally I wondered: is this how I look when I complain or don’t quickly recover from my disappointments? I am not speaking in judgment here of Morgan, but what I do want to address is the concept of getting back up from a fall and how it applies to the topic of wellness.

James 1:2-4 states:

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

The word for” complete” in the Greek is holoklerus and means whole once again, but there is something else. “The holokeros is one who has persevered or, having once suffered loss, has now regained completeness.”* There is a persevering, a striving, a regaining, and a getting back up to do it again!

Here’s another case in point. Young collegian Heather Dorniden was running in the 2008 Big Ten Women’s Championship track meet, easily winning the 600 meter race, until she fell right before the final lap.

But Heather got back up! She ran with great resolve and, in 30 seconds, not only completed the race, but passed the front runner and actually won! It truly is about what you do after the fall. During her post-race interviews, Heather mentioned what was going on in her mind. First, she quoted Philippians 4:13, to herself before each race, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Second, Heather had a reason to get up. Her concern was for her team who needed points to win the meet: “Immediately after the fall I told myself, you have to get up to at least get a time that will score– the team points were very close and I knew everyone was counting on some points in that event.”

Next, Heather picked up on the energy of those who supported her in the stands: her family, her coach, her team, her friends and her fans, “…I felt like their energy just filled me up.” She didn’t run the race alone, but relied on the relationships with those around her.

Finally, her goals were measurable and realistic, “if I could just catch the last person, then perhaps….”

What does all this have to do with joining a Christ Centered Wellness Group and what would that do for you? Following Heather’s example, it would:

1. Help provide you with a mindset that you can do all things in Christ.

2. Prepare you for a win in wellness as we work around the wellness wheel with creative ideas that get results.

3. Prepare you for falls, so that you can quickly get back up with new strategies.

4. Provide you with a safe place to share, to be encouraged, fueled by the energy of others going in the same direction.

5. Ability to set and carry through on realistic and timely goals so that new balance is seen in every area of your life.

So, back to Morgan who didn’t get up during Olympic 1500 in London 2012.  It turns out that Morgan was injured physically and in emotional anguish as she saw her potential win slip away, again. This was actually Morgan’s second fall. Her first occurred in Daegu, Korea in 2011 at the World Track Championships, where she got back up, finished the race with a time of 4:19.71. Not bad for a fall and a disappointment and a mile run! Unfortunately, Heather did not make the 2012 Olympic trials this year, so she has also had her own set of challenges. She is continues to run professionally and depends on her running partners!

Would you consider partnering with us in a wellness group to encourage you along your own wellness journey?

*Harris, R. Laird, Gleason L. Archer, Jr. and Bruce K. Waltke. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Press, 1980. pp  930-931.

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