Does exercise have the power to heal?

This weekend in my Parish it is “healing” weekend, and there have been signs up at the church inviting all to attend the open day (for more details please contact me here).

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This is going to be a busy time for the church as volunteers are needed to listen, make tea, cook the dinners, clear up, and even offer accommodation. This will fill us all with a tremendous sense of community that I am proud to be a part of.

But what does it mean to be healed?

Many people will have the first vision in their heads of an outspoken minister, speaking to a young person in a wheelchair, apply some “laying of the hands” and mutter a blessing, and the wheelchair-bound person then stands up, unsteady at first, then launches in a sprightly dance, much to the congregations delight and cheers.

Or perhaps you have a vision of Jesus, making a blind man see (click here for my take on this story), which we heard in the gospel earlier in the year.

But it is important to remember that healing doesn’t just come in physical form.

If you had watched the London Marathon last month (did I tell you I have entered for 2018? Eek!), you would have seen lots of banners and paraphernalia bearing the brand “Heads Together”, which raises awareness for mental illness. When I was growing up, depression was something that we knew nothing about. Often people were told to “pull yourself together”, or we heard whispers that Mr Jones across the street was in the midst of a “nervous breakdown”, and we were told to steer clear.

Fast forward 20-30 years and the conversation surrounding mental illness has really turned around. People are now sitting up and taking notice of what it is all about. You just have to look at the increased diagnoses of conditions such as ADHD (not just in children), anxiety, Autism spectrum disorder, eating disorders, mood disorders… to name a few. The list goes on. And these are all conditions that we speak about when we refer to healing – healing of the mind, the body and the spirit, and, where the church is concerned, this is done with the power of faith. Not in a miracle-type way (although these are always welcomed!), but due to belief and mindset.

Which is something that I have to work on EVERY DAY with the people that I work with.

I quote a lady that I work with:

“I know I have seen the physical changes that working with you has brought, but I cannot tell you the improvements that working out has done to my mind.”

She then went on to tell how she could see “addiction” tendencies when it comes to exercise (there is a science to this of course), and how she has to work on her mindset to get herself out and into the gym (or out for a run/walk/swim etc), but once there, she feels amazing. Not just physically, but mentally too. Like she can accomplish anything.

So whilst healing can be done via your faith, and the kind words of the people around you, think of what the power of exercise can do also – just ask all those marathon runners a few weekends ago.

Have you been mentally “healed” by exercise?

– Colette

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