By Jeanine Campbell, Staff Writer
For students at a school unashamedly committed to “spiritual vitality,” spirituality is not a foreign concept. President Sandra Gray’s goal to equip students with a “personal transformation of faith and hope” has created opportunities for them to take spiritual wellness further than the vague “state of harmony with oneself and others” that secular schools, like the University of California, promote.
Still, a spiritually healthy environment does not guarantee spiritually healthy students; it is ultimately up to individuals not to be content with leaving spirituality in their environment and out of their internal life. Any student becoming desensitized to spirituality urgently needs to be transformed by it instead because it involves everything in life that is most meaningful and eternal.
The National Wellness Institute recognizes spiritual wellness as both the search for deeper meaning in life and the appreciation for greater forces in the universe. Matthew 6:33 points directly to the source of such purpose and power, prompting all to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”
Spiritual wellness is not the mere act of attending chapel or bowing for a professor’s prayer before class; it is seeing the world through what Glide Crawford’s Spiritual Life Coordinator Emily Veatch calls “Kingdom eyes.”
It is following the call in Colossians 3:2 to “set your minds on things that are above, not things that are on earth.” It is turning from the cultural temptation to focus on the self, the present, and the material world, and finding lasting meaning in an eternal focus instead.
Assistant Director for Campus Ministries Jeannie Banter notes that this type of wellness does not “just happen.” Simply going to church and chapel cannot replace daily time spent cultivating a personal relationship with God.
Students won’t “magically wake up and have a great quiet time” someday when they are older, Jeannie says; they must stretch themselves with spiritual disciplines and habits now. An eternal mindset will transform values and desires until the greatest satisfaction is found in knowing God personally, pursuing his glory and surrendering to his control.
When students still do not feel like investing in their spiritual lives, Jeannie encourages them to pray for desire and then commit to discipline, remembering that “desire often follows discipline.”
With eyes set on eternity and hearts set on devotion, students will gain the most essential form of well-being for life in this world and beyond. The spirit is where wellness matters most, students should make the most of the abundant spiritual growth resources they have now and not delay their journey with God towards real wholeness.
After all, as Matthew 16:26 asks, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”