…mens sana in corpore sano. (Roman poet Juvenal)
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.” Matthew 22:37
When we think of health, we tend to think of physical health. It has a tendency to be front and center — sometimes due to serious health concerns of loved ones, sometimes because of the neighbor who bought stock in the gym or the many ads containing people who seem bursting with physical fitness. We also periodically think of our spiritual health — usually related to how daily devotional times are going. Mental health also comes up, but it’s often related to our churning emotions or simply needing a day of rest rather than medical issues.
Our physical health does have value on this earth. When our muscles are strong and our systems healthy, we have the energy and strength needed for our God-given responsibilities.
But how often are we concerned with how our brains are working, whether our thinking is sound? Once out of the educational environment, it doesn’t come up that often until old age approaches.
It should. I am intrigued by the studies that explore how mental activities affect the health of the brain, specifically related to age and Alzheimers. I am a little confused, though, by how we tend to think that we can set cruise control after the first 20+ years until we think we are approaching the last 10. That can be a lot of years, which would be many wasted opportunities.
So much could be said on this topic, but I will simply beg this:
Stretch your mind AND stretch your muscles. Work your brain AND workout at the gym. Both will have lasting value when driven by transformed hearts striving to love God with all that we are.
There are many ways to do this, from reading a book to doing a daily crossword to taking a class to memorizing Scripture to engaging in adult conversation. Learning a new language or a new skill will really stretch you, but the rewards match the effort. However you can, please find some ways that work for your current stage of life.