Ingrid Friesen Moser, MA, RDN has worked in wellness for 25 years. In addition to her ten-year history as Wellness Coordinator with Mennonite Church USA’s Corinthian Plan, the health plan for MC USA pastors and church workers, she works with children and adults at Maple City Health Care Center in Goshen, Indiana. Her degrees in nutrition (Goshen College) and Christian Formation (AMBS) reflect her passion for the intersection of health and wellness with spiritual disciplines. Ingrid is grateful for meals shared around a table, interests like birding that get her out looking for the next new and amazing thing to cross her path, and the giant sequoias found in Sequoia National Park that inspire and are among the tallest, widest, and longest-lived organisms on the planet.
This fall I found myself standing in awe underneath a blue sky and a golden maple tree on a cold, windless morning. The sound of leaves letting go and making their way to the earth below stopped me in my tracks. Some leaves made no sound until they touched the earth. Others noisily banged their way down taking additional leaves with them.
Fall leaves are also like seashells; I can’t stop myself from picking them up and gazing at their form and color. The temptation is always to bring some home, even just one. They find their way to a featured place on my table or kitchen windowsill where they continue to inspire and bring beauty.
In nature I’m hearing the invitation to be a conversation partner with both the letting go and the picking up in life. As a dietitian nutritionist working in wellness for the last 25 years, and the Wellness Coordinator for The Corinthian Plan, I find myself connecting this insight back to well-being.
For me personally, it is a letting go of bad habits like consuming news on my smart phone right before bed instead of connecting with my spouse, releasing items from a cluttered basement that no longer serve me or embracing the passing of the health and fertility of my younger years. This is all one and the same conversation, however, as picking up the list of “to do’s” that hold potential to make my life more beautiful. Things like eating a plant rich diet, staying connected to friends that help me stick to my exercise routine, getting up in enough time to follow through on our daily family prayer practice, regular check-ins with my medical provider and following through with a medication routine for allergies that serves me well. I wonder what would be on your list of things to let go and things to pick-up?
Leaves are tangible. We can see them let go and fall to the ground, and we can pick them up with our hands. What does this letting go and picking up conversation look and feel like when it comes to something less tangible, like well-being?
The Lord’s Prayer is something I can see, hear and say, that takes me to the heart of the well-being conversation. It is a simple, yet rich, layered prayer that invites a letting go, and a picking up. It connects on both the deeply personal level, as well as to our wider world. In my congregation we pray the Lord’s Prayer every Sunday in some form or another. I look forward to this part of our Sunday worship not only for the prayer itself, but the weekly practice of saying it that orients my life each week to be the best me I can be.
Here is a rendering I find especially helpful, written by David Moser, pastor of Southside Fellowship in Elkhart, Indiana.
O Breath of Life,
your Name illuminates all things!
Open up a space for your presence here.
Fill our imaginations with the possibilities
of your kingdom.
May your desires be embodied in everything.
Sustain our lives,
and all Life with us as one.
Unbind us – set us free to be whole
even as we untie the cords we have wrapped around others.
Guide us away from distraction and destruction
so that we might embrace the present.
May your Love go before us.
May your Peace enfold us.
May your Truth renew us.
May you find the practices and questions that are needed on your well-being journey.
The Corinthian Plan wellness incentive offers health plan members, as well as waived members and spouses, the opportunity to speak confidentially with our own Corinthian Plan Well-being Specialists on questions such as those raised in this blog, or other well-being topics. $150 in incentive is available for those who participate in this part of the wellness incentive. Learn more about the wellness incentive at http://mennoniteusa.org/what-we-do/the-corinthian-plan/wellness-incentives.
A Pastor Well-being Check list is available for MC USA congregations to reflect on how they are supporting their pastor’s wellbeing and assist pastors and congregations to listen to each other. Learn more at http://mennoniteusa.org/wellbeing-in-ministry.