Obama’s SOTU and Your Health, Any Similarities?

f2-DSCN2702Last week President Obama gave the annual State of the Union address to Congress. As expected (and as all the presidents I can remember have said) he said, “The state of the union is strong.” After giving his views on America’s successes, he then went on to propose many new policies to help extend and increase our supposed national wellbeing. Paraphrasing, “things are fine, and we can make them better by implementing these new program and policy ideas.” Standard SOTU stuff, really.

But is it true? Many of us know that we have deep philosophical divides and structural problems that won’t be solved easily with “add-on” programs and policies. Here is excerpt from an excellent blog post from a blogger named  Thorrison capturing the deeper issues:

America, you need to decide what you are.

Are you going to be a country based on something, or based on nothing? Will you be a rock that weathers winds of change, or a kite that blows along with them? Are you going to be a state that controls people, or one that urges them to control themselves? Are you going to be the policeman of the world, or the sleeping giant that leaves things alone until provoked? Are you going to be the arbiter of morality, or the reflection of it?

Take some time to read the whole thing.

It seems to me that he’s right. As a nation, we are operating without an identity. We don’t agree on what America is. Without a firm philosophical foundation, we lack agreement on fundamental aims and principles of governing. Problems are denied, or, when acknowledged, addressed with quick fix policies not tied to firmly to our national identity and character.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of us can be President Obamas with regard to our own health. Too often we can deny or ignore health issues thinking, I’m basically healthy or I’m doing well or Things are good even when they’re not. Yeah, right. Just like “the state of the union is strong.” It’s not only politicians, everybody is good at denial. (Me included.)

Then there’s our penchant for quick fix solutions. We prefer the crash diet, the latest supplement, pill or even surgery to the hard work of altering our ingrained habits. Liposuction trumps life change. Most everything that sells well in the health and wellness space seems to be promising a pain-free, instant solution. Sort of the “prosperity gospel” of health.

Like Thorrison’s view of America, to be truly well, I believe we should start by deciding who we are. Or some would say, “whose we are.” (Perhaps “knowing” is a better term than “deciding” here.) What is our identity in Christ? What does it mean to belong to him? Who are we, what is our nature, as adopted sons or daughters of the father?

Proceeding from a correct understanding of our relationship to God through Jesus, and with the help of the Holy Spirit and others, we can learn and discern fundamental principles by which to live. These principles can then guide our choices – what we will do and what we won’t do – regarding health, wellness and everything else. Of course living a healthy lifestyle is not easy, but God helps us along the path.

This concept, which I call “Health Discipleship,” is the basis for this blog. Simply stated, as followers of Jesus, he should reign as Lord over all of our behaviors, including those related to health and wellness. Want to be well?  Me too.  Let’s start with Jesus.  Addressing our health and wellness on that basis will make all the difference. How could it not?