Every year, we set goals, like getting healthier, eating better and exercising more. We know it's good for us, but when we set these goals, we don’t always see them through.
This is because God designed us as an integrated whole – body, soul, and spirit – with an interconnectedness that is complex and beyond our comprehension. Our health is interdependent: physical, mental, emotional, and at the core spiritual. And we need God to make it work.
As we seek God and feed our spirit, our mental and physical health prospers. However, it’s easy to get off track—get caught up striving for breakthroughs or answered prayers… only to wind up exhausted and running on empty.
You know the symptoms, right? Long days and late nights that lead to unhealthy eating habits, inconsistent exercising, too much binge watching… We’ve all done this before. And we’ve all experienced exhaustion and burnout at some point of another.
The commonplace nature of this experience makes it seem like you’re supposed to go through it, like it’s a routine part of life. We love our routines, but not this one! When you live in daily dependence on the Word of God, stressful and demanding moments are met by His fullness of life. The result? We read about it in 3 John 1:2 (BLB).
Beloved, I pray you to prosper concerning all things and to be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
You’re meant to prosper in every way. This is about your total health—health that crosses every area of your life. So while maintaining spiritual hunger is critical, sometimes nurturing a basic need may be the catalyst that precipitates change in our lives and propels us forward.
We find a great example of this in the life of Elijah. Through a low point in his life, God shows us the importance of tending to our basic needs.
In 1 Kings 19, the prophet Elijah stood faithfully for God against the prophets of Baal. He was one man against 400. It was a confrontation of epic proportions; a winner-take-all moment. And there, on Mt. Carmel, God showed up with a miraculous display of His sovereignty. The prophets of Baal were defeated, and the people’s hearts were turned back to God. The victory was sure and complete.
But just after this miraculous victory, Elijah’s life was threatened by the reigning queen, Jezebel. Instead of standing strong, he ran into the wilderness, despondent and alone, wishing to die.
We read this story and wonder, how this could happen?
It’s easy to look at the great victory and all of Elijah’s other encounters with God and question his reaction in this moment. But Elijah was human. You could say that at this moment, he “hit a wall.” Who hasn’t done this before, right?!
Here’s what happened next:
Then he [Elijah] lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled… (1 Kings 19:5-8)
God didn’t scorn Elijah for running. He didn’t condemn him for his fear, fatigue or doubts, even though God had just shown up in a big way for him and for the people. God didn’t command Elijah to spend time in prayer until something clicked. In short, God didn’t require more of Elijah.
The angel quickly addressed Elijah’s physical needs, providing food and water – essentials to fuel his body and give him strength to recover.
How many of us—especially in times of turmoil—neglect to properly provide our body nutrients? Whether withholding food or overeating to compensate for emotional discomfort, insufficient nourishment leads to energy depletion, both physically and mentally.
This can also happen when we isolate ourselves from others. When Elijah ran, he was alone. God saw his condition and knew that food and water weren’t going to be enough. Elijah needed more than physical sustenance. He also needed the comfort of another, so God sent an angel to deliver the goods and to minister to him.
And in a season that tempts us to be isolated, we must be intentional to pursue companionship with others. Even Jesus did this. He had a circle of 12 disciples. While they disappointed him from time to time, the example set by Jesus shows us our need for core relationships. These 12 were together in the highs and lows of life. They learned how important relationships were to everything from daily experiences to overcoming brokenness and life’s greatest disappointments. They needed each other. And you need others too.
Then, Elijah slept. God designed the body to regenerate, repair, and restore through rest. For many of us, sleep does not come easily. According to statistics, an estimated 35% of adults in the U.S. suffer from compromised sleep. Whether from anxious thoughts, stress in the body, or cramming too much into our schedule and our mind, sleep deprivation over time hinders our body’s ability to function on certain levels. Jesus slept in the boat in the middle of a storm. If Jesus required sleep, how much more do we?
So, how did God respond to someone who reached their limits? To someone who was exhausted, afraid, frustrated, and feeling defeated?
God didn’t start with a spiritual fix. Before Elijah’s heart was receptive to hear God’s voice, other areas required care and attention.
He sent someone. He cooked. He made Elijah rest.
The point? God knows what you need, and He cares for your emotional and physical needs.
Sometimes we seek deep revelation and spiritual solutions when we might just need a good meal, the embrace of a friend, or to sleep in.
God often starts here. Just as he approached Elijah with gentleness and patience, He approaches you the same way. He wants to see you restored, replenished and refreshed in every way. As you press ahead into your purpose, don’t forget to nurture your current needs. Ask yourself these three things when you’re feeling depleted.
To do the next step in your life, you have to take care of yourself. This is an intentional commitment. The key is to take one next step that contributes to your well-being—even if it feels simple.
Each step will strengthen you for the journey and posture your heart to receive all that God has for you.
Enjoy the journey!
Hi, I'm Beverly Rogers!
I am a Research Scientist by trade, a former Division-1 athlete and record holder, and aspiring writer in faith-based health and wellness! Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, I am a proud aunt of 5 nephews and a niece!
After recovering from years of severe complications with my digestive system and disordered eating, I want to share what I’ve learned to help others transform from the inside out. My goal is to empower others to make healthy choices, nourishing the mind and body so energy can be focused on pursuing purpose and enjoying life and good health!
Beverly is an up and coming writer and author. She is currently working on her first book, called Take Your Food Captive, with potential release at the end of 2021. Take Your Food Captive aims to expose toxic substances contained in marketed foods and how they disrupt proper function in the body over time.
Partnering with Lynette Lyden (author of The Daily Dose), Beverly will be writing a continuous health & wellness series in a quarterly magazine publication called Voices. The first issue of Voices is expected to launch early in 2021.