Fred La Plante is the pastor of the Juneau Church of the Nazarene. (Courtesy / Fred La Plante)

Fred La Plante is the pastor of the Juneau Church of the Nazarene. (Courtesy / Fred La Plante)

Living and Growing: Being healthy physically, mentally and spiritually

Moving to Juneau about nine months ago, I began a journey back to Alaska and health. I started the journey about a year or so before the move to be the pastor of the Nazarene Church here. It wasn’t an easy trip. Years of neglecting my physical and mental health had taken its toll on me, especially spiritually. So many of the aspirations and dreams God had given me were laid to waste.

I spent a year before the move talking with a counselor who helped me regain those dreams and encouraged me to get back into shape physically. He made me ask the hard questions of why I believed and what I wanted to do with my life. And when I shared about the opportunity to return to Alaska, he encouraged me to apply for the pastorate here.

After my wife and I arrived in town, we found a church family that helped us continue to heal by accepting us and making us feel at home. I spent two separate nights in the hospital due to medications I no longer needed. The stress from the spiritual and mental struggles was now under control and, with exercise and dealing with my medications, I was now getting healthy physically.

It is amazing how God created us. So many intricate parts of our lives that need to be in balance. I’ve learned how to stay healthy for me. I also learned how easy it is to get off track and how hard it can be to get back on track.

In Psalm 139, the psalmist talks about each of us as being wonderfully created. He wants the best for us. He wants us to be healthy in all facets of life: Physically, Mentally and Spiritually. They affect each other. If we get out of balance, then all of them suffer. As a pastor, I am thankful for the people who ensure I am taking care of my physical health — my doctors, gym trainers and other medical personnel. I also am grateful for my mental health providers (counselors and psychiatrists) who make me take inventory of why I feel the way I do and my actions. And as a pastor, I make sure I talk to other pastors and spiritual leaders who help me stay faithful to God.

It isn’t easy to stay healthy all of the time, but there are people around us who can help and a God who always directs us if we let him.

• Fred La Plante is the pastor of the Juneau Church of the Nazarene. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Saturday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.

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