by Taylor Vashro, Class of 2018
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:1-3
“I just want to play…” sighed one of my fellow Fellows in the midst of a retreat as we reflected on the emotional exhaustion we were both feeling after the first few months of Fellows. A lot of what we do in the Fellows program is extremely life-giving, but can also be heavy and emotionally draining. So what did we do? We got up and played!
In my time at Virginia Tech (GO HOKIES), I studied Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise and distinctly remember learning about the seven dimensions of wellness in my Health Counseling class. The seven dimensions include: social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, intellectual and physical wellness. Each dimension individually contributes to overall wellness and also overlaps to potentially affect each other. If you are satisfied in six dimensions but largely neglect one dimension, it will impact your overall health as well as potentially hinder your wellness in other dimensions. According to the seven dimensions of wellness model, being physically active and mitigating emotional stress are essential for our overall health and also spiritual wellness.
Thankfully, in the midst of all the introspection, journaling, processing, and crying we have also been blessed with the gift of having fun! From rock climbing and white water rafting during our orientation retreat to using free time at conferences for sports and games, our Fellows class has been very intentional about prioritizing physical activity and fun. As a group this has looked like a myriad of activities: hiking, running, painting, exploring culture, karaoke, rock climbing, playing instruments, cooking and even serving together.
Our spiritual wellness can best be reflected to the world when we appropriately steward our time and gifts to care for our overall wellness and the temple for the Holy Spirit that dwells within us: “Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). As a surprise to most, we’re not only learning how to glorify God through our vocation and hard work, but also through rest and fun in the midst of the pandemonium of life. We’ve discovered that the freedom we find in Christ allows us to rejoice and play, not in attempt to be fully satisfied by these hobbies, but to compliment the fulfillment we find in our relationship with Christ, “He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things” (Psalm 107:9).
There will definitely be seasons of life where hardships, mentally and physically, will have an unavoidable effect on us. However, in this year we have the opportunity to develop habits that prioritize all dimensions of wellness so that we may flourish the way God designed us to. When learning about the Fellows program and all that it entails, no one promised us time to play, yet this time has been a vital aspect of this program and one that I pray continues to be a God given gift for the rest of our lives!