“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”
3 John 2
The Apostle John prays this deeply personal prayer for his friend Gaius. John suggests that “it is well” with Gaius’ soul, that he is spiritually alive and walking in the truth of God’s ways (see verses 3-4). But this prayer also acknowledges that there’s something inherently good about being healthy and experiencing life’s circumstances going well. Neither of these things is a reality for any of us all the time. And what good health and good happenings might look like differs according to our situation. Consider, for example, those living with chronic ill-health and disability.
We’ve had a few tough years (for some, extremely so). A new year awakens possibilities of a better future. We are ever hopeful that 2022 looks different to the last couple of years.
Our longing for the year ahead is that we might all grow in spiritual maturity. But as we ask God to do this work in our brothers and sisters in Christ and in our own lives, perhaps we might also make use of John’s prayer for wellbeing.
Our health and our circumstances lie in the hands of our good and sovereign Lord – so pray we must. But the Scriptures consistently bear witness to the agency we are called upon to exercise and the impact of our choices upon our physical and mental health and wellbeing. Might we not also ask for his assistance in making wise choices, for others and for ourselves? Choices that we might build into our lives as regular habits or routines?
The routines we seek are often the resolutions we make at this time of year. They can include things such as regular exercise, a good ‘going to bed pattern’, making healthy choices about food, a good on/off switch between work and non-work time, making time to connect with other believers, finding regular spiritual nourishment through bible reading and prayer.
None of us drifts into these types of habits. But small changes in these areas can assist our wellbeing and help us cope when life is uncertain and stressful. And if the Apostle John’s prayer has anything to teach us, we can call upon divine aid in these matters – the burden of resolutions need not rest only on human shoulders.
So, maybe this can be a year when, with God’s help, we seek to assist others in building wise and healthy habits and we seek to do the same ourselves.
In 2022, the Institute will help you think about new habits that you could build into your life that help your wellbeing—spiritually, physically, mentally—in significant ways. We will suggest a new habit each week.
“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore, my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure…”
“And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”
These are wonderful verses to ponder as we begin 2022.
If you want help and a structure for building small habits into your life, you will find our online course Press On: Building resilience and mental wellbeing enormously helpful and practical.