Apr 06, 2020The perfect time for Wellness Circles

The perfect time for Wellness Circles

Kim Snodgrass Two-minute read.   Resources

Change and growth are ongoing, not just in times when we’re facing a crisis. Living Compass has a process to help us help each other now – and from now on.

Using four to six-week sessions, Living Compass Wellness Circles are designed to bring small groups of people together to pause, check their bearings and adjust course as necessary along any compass point. This can happen virtually! Free resources support individuals and congregations as they seek the wholeness God intends for all of us.  As we seek God’s holy intention for us— wholeness of heart, soul, strength, and mind—we discover God’s presence in our life’s journey.

Especially now, we need flexibility and creative responses to the changes and chances of life. Two West Missouri staff members have attended the Wellness Advocate Training and would be excited to encourage you with resources, coaching, education, training and support.

12So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. 2Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Romans 12:1-2, The Message

Living Compass Wellness ministry represents a brand new approach to health and wellness based on these core beliefs: the fruits of wellness and wholeness emerge from the seeds of faith in our lives; each of us is responsible for the decisions we make to nurture our own wellness/wholeness; wellness must encompass the whole person (heart, soul, strength, and mind); and individual wellness does not exist in isolation but is connected to all our relationships.

Wellness Circles encourage the healing and restorative power of authentic conversations. Through such conversations, Christ’s love is made incarnate—we hear the voice of Christ in the voice of others. Such authentic conversations are increasingly rare in our present culture at large. Few things affect the state of our personal well-being more than the quality of our relationships, and few things affect the quality of our relationships more than the state of our well-being. There is a reciprocal relationship here that cannot be denied.

We cannot make this journey alone. We need the community of faith commonly called “church” and wholeness must be grounded and manifested in our relationships with Christ and with one another. For Christians, individual wellness as an end in itself is a self-centered illusion. We need the support of others to attain and maintain wellness and wholeness.

The word wholeness comes from the same root as holy and holiness. As Christians, whole-person wellness means that we are called to seek wholeness in all aspects of our lives. We do this by allowing God and our faith to be our compass in all dimensions of our well-being.

65Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your soul, and with all your might.

Deuteronomy 6:5

As this verse shows, whole-person wellness is not “new age,” but is actually a very ancient practice. For the last fifty years, wellness has become an important focus in our society. Up until very recently, however, wellness focused primarily on the physical dimension of our being. It is now common knowledge that when we spend time proactively working on our physical wellness we experience a much lower rate of disease. Whole-person wellness simply extends this idea to all of the dimensions of our lives. Living Compass provides a way for us to proactively work on each of these dimensions resulting in a much lower rate of disease and “dis-ease.”

A Living Compass key concept is that wholeness refers to the entire person: Heart, Soul, Strength and Mind and achieving personal wholeness develops over time.

2026You shall be holy to me; for I the LORD am holy, and I have separated you from the other peoples to be mine.

Leviticus 20:26

A very important theological point to remember is that our wholeness is a gift to us from God, given to us through Christ at our baptism.

Wellness refers to the subjective experience of an individual as one responds to the deepest longing to be whole. It is a “way of living,” not a destination to be achieved. A person moves in and out of wellness many times through life. The aim is to be proactive and intentional so that one’s life choices (no matter how great or small) move progressively toward whole-person wellness.

The approach to wellness that is sometimes seen in our current culture borders on being narcissistic, focusing on how to create a “better, richer, slimmer me!” The Christian approach to wellness embedded in Living Compass grounds all wellness and wholeness in our relationship with God and with our neighbor. We put the “we” in wellness!

Living Compass empowers participants to become more intentional with how they live their lives, encouraging a proactive approach to daily living. An individual can have greater influence over the direction in which his/her life is heading when she/he is personally responsible for the choices made and becomes aware of the impact of those choices on the whole of life.

Living Compass engages people in a process of making changes from the inside-out. There are many compasses competing for our attention, trying to direct us in different aspects of our lives, including the compass of family of origin, culture, gender, work, family, and friends. As Christians, our ideal is to make Christ our Compass in all areas of our lives. This ideal is something we seek throughout our whole lives.

To live inside out also means that we learn to “check-in” with ourselves—our inner sense of knowing (often referred to as “the voice of the Spirit”), rather than simply following someone else’s advice on wellness and wholeness. When we learn to “go inside,” deeply and consistently, we develop an ability to listen for God’s desires for us. From this sense of inner wisdom, we can then proceed to live our lives with greater resonance as our outward life begins to take on the character we form through our relationship with our own soul and God.

Living Compass session guides, complete with handouts, can be used in adult education classes and small group (virtual) gatherings. As with all their resources, leaders are encouraged to adapt these and add their own wisdom to the process. Four-session guides topics already developed include: Living Well in the Midst of Grief and Loss; Forgiveness; Parent Wellness; Aging Well; Mindful Eating; Emotional Wellness; Building Healthy Relationships; and Enhancing Your Well-Being With a Spiritual Practice.

If you have questions or would like more information please contact Kim Snodgrass or visit the Samaritan Family Wellness organization website. They are also offering a free zoom question and answer session on Thursday, April 9, 2020, at 12:00 p.m. CDT. More information on the Q&A session is also to be found on their website.

Kim Snodgrass is Assistant to the Bishop for Christian Formation.

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