Reading time: two minutes. I’ve been tossing out three warning signs of impending trouble as we work around the Lutheran Wellness Wheel. As we consider physical wellness this week, I’d suggest that you watch out for these three warning signs: 1- Warning Signs (get it?) 2- Loss of Passion and 3- Forgetting your Doctor’s Name. There are thousands of different physical symptoms that our bodies can exhibit to warn us of danger, so I tried to come up with something a little different. Work with me on this one, and read on! I’ll just lump all the physical warning signs together into one group and say “Take these things seriously!” God’s design of the human body is a wonder and an amazement. Maybe you’ve had the experience that I have over the years of medical professionals, scientists, who have been awestruck by the wonders of the human body. It’s fun to watch, and to declare, “Of course! Our Creator is far smarter than you are!” Pain is our friend, the Lord’s warning system of danger. When you body calls out, “Hey, something’s wrong here!” you need to listen! The Church in every age has always been a place of healing and wellness. Leaders in the Church (the Lord’s BODY!) have a responsibility to listen to the Lord speaking through the gift of our bodies when they call out with His warning signals of illness or injury. We honor the Lord when we are in tune with our body systems, when we’re familiar with symptoms that warn of danger in each of our bodily systems and when we respond by seeking treatment. Loss of passion for ministry, (which might include exhaustion, loss of creativity, anxiety or burnout) can be a warning sign that we’ve been pushing our bodies past their physical limits. If a life in Christian ministry starts to become drudgery, consider if your body, your mind and your spirit are in need of re-creation, retreat, refreshment and renewal. Think of Elijah on retreat, napping under a tree, or Jesus finding rest on a boat ride. I know I had trouble learning to pace myself in my work. When passion for my work started to slip away, I took it as a sign that I wasn’t taking care of myself. Third, if you haven’t established a regular habit of an annual physical exam, you’re running a risk of a physical setback. The Concordia Health Plan includes excellent policies for screenings and preventive wellness, as do almost every health plan. Did you know Concordia doesn’t require that you wait twelve months for your next physical? You’re permitted a physical once every calendar year, so if last year’s was in March or August, you can make an appointment again in January or February! Get to know your doctor. Make sure s/he is getting to know you. It’s a sign of wisdom and good stewardship. And enjoy the Lord’s gift of vigor and vitality. Health and joy to you! Thanks for reading. Are you interested in helping bring a Grace Place Wellness Retreat to your region? We’d love to hear from you. Contact our President/CEO Randy Fauser today to begin exploring the possibilities. Let’s have a conversation about bringing our Church Worker Retreat to your area soon!