The past 18 months have placed an extraordinary amount of stress on New Zealanders as we have navigated unexpected change, financial pressure, social isolation, anxiety and in some cases the illness and death of loved ones. The issue of personal and community wellbeing has been brought to the fore in a fresh and compelling way. How might the scriptures guide us towards taking steps towards our own wellbeing?
As a Wesleyan movement, we have embraced the concept of a “consistent life ethic” in how we approach our living and are oriented toward those things that enable life to flourish towards God’s intended purposes. We believe that Jesus came to bring “life in all its fullness” (John 10:10) and that this fullness encompasses us in a holistic way. The Great Commandment expresses vividly what a fully realised human life looks like.
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12)
We are people who are freed to love fully – heart, mind, soul, strength (body) and neighbour. This is not just something we offer to the world. It is something we are becoming.
As Christ-followers called to the Great Commission in the Spirit of the Great Commandment we seek to live full, authentic lives that express the fullness we call others to. But because we know the human tendency is to exceed human limits, even in the pursuit of divine imperatives, we accept the necessity of investing in our own wellbeing or hauora. We can see this through some different lenses:
Wellbeing offers INTEGRITY as we live what we proclaim and model congruent inner and outer lives
Wellbeing offers HOPE to others as we speak and live the fullness of Jesus
Wellbeing is MISSIONAL as we offer the fullness of Jesus in ways which resonate with our society’s increasing embrace of wellbeing
In the Aotearoa-New Zealand context, this idea of Wellbeing or Hauora is captured in an holistic framework that has its roots in Maori understandings of wellbeing.
Te Whare Tapa Wha or the House of Four Walls seeks to capture the breadth of wellbeing across the physical, mental/emotional, spiritual and social spheres of life. There are four dimensions of Hauora; Taha Tinana (Physical Well-being – health), Taha Hinengaro (Mental and Emotional well-being – self-confidence), Taha Whanau (Social Well-being – self-esteem) and Taha Wairua (Spiritual well-being – personal beliefs). These ideas resonate strongly with the biblical pattern of fullness.
This concept is not solely a Maori idea. The Fonua model is a Tongan framework for health which comprises five dimensions of life which are interdependent and complementary to each other. Sino (Physical), ‘Atamai (Mental), Laumalie (Spiritual), KaingaI (Community), and ‘Atakai (Environmental). The Fijian Vanua model mirrors this as does the Samoan Fonofale model which offers similar ideas. Recently in Rotuman language week we learned about the Rotuman concept of wellbeing: Tutur häk ne måür lelei – the four pillars of life and wellbeing:
Måür Fak’ata (spiritual – a place of solace that gives meaning to life).
Måür Fakforo (physical – living life in all its fullness).
‘Os A’häe (psychological – steers our presence and place in life).
Hạikạinagaga (social – our connection with people).
Our understanding of Wellbeing, drawn from scripture, also reflects these rich sources of truth that are embedded in our culture(s) and seeks to express the walls and roof of our lives as being grounded in a cornerstone which is Jesus himself.
Take some time to reflect on your wellbeing across the 5 dimensions of wellbeing. What is one thing you might invest in this week?
Rev. Brett Jones
Looking for more wellbeing resources? You can find them here: