Start Well to Finish Well

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By Dan Hyun

Many of us may feel hopeful for a fresh start with the new year. When I think of starting well, I picture how I would like to finish. Though I pray for visible fruit in this day, I also increasingly ask God for the grace to finish this journey well.

My health is critical if I want to start and finish well.

Based on my experience, I’ve seen how it’s beneficial for me to give attention to certain areas of my health because when I don’t, I usually experience the results. Like the different gauges in my car, the following are some of the ways I track my holistic health:

How do I find myself processing life? Am I experiencing the renewing of my mind or is there an unhealthy pattern to my thought life?

In one aspect, this involves the nourishing of my mind. How can I incorporate intentional practices to center my thoughts on the beauty of Christ?

When I think about my mind, I also consider my mental health. As I’ve written previously, mental health is a priority in my life. Both for the sake of effective ministry but just as much for my own personal well-being. As someone who walks through depression, I need to recognize some of the common warning signs I’ve experienced in the past and actively seek out life-giving responses. For me, this includes the wisdom of mental health professionals.

I’ve learned that my effectiveness and joy are directly tied to my physical health. It means giving proper attention to:

Exercise: As busy as I sometimes feel, I feel even more stressed and tired if I eliminate intentional physical activity.

Diet: When I’m stressed, I tend to eat poorly. As I look back, many of the lowest seasons of my life were tied to poor dietary habits. I do better when I eat better even if it means kale.

Sleep: As a young knucklehead, I remember priding myself on how much I could accomplish with as little sleep as possible, but I’ve learned that sleep is critical to my well-being. It also forces me to ask whether watching that movie late into the night is worth the sacrifice to my overall health.

By soul, I mean my relationship with God. How is my walk with Him? Am I experiencing intimacy and dwelling in fellowship with the Lord?

In my life, that starts with looking at my time in the Word and prayer. Obviously, that can be a really shallow reflection of a genuine relationship, and I’m not suggesting a simplistic “Just read your bible and pray” formula to spiritual maturity. But at least for me, I can always tie back my soul health to communicating with God through His revealed word and in prayer.

It is also helpful to incorporate various expressions of seeking God. Extended seasons of fasting have always proven to be a powerful time of knowing God. Personal retreats throughout the year have also been invaluable. Basically, find whatever works for you to walk in communion with the Lord and give yourself the means to do it to the best of your ability.

Isolation is deadly. Even for those in ministry who are constantly around others, we can believe we’re relationally connected yet be lacking genuine communion. One of my warning signs is when I can see that I have become distant from others, even emotionally. If I see that happening, I have a list of people I reconnect with.

My list of those important relationships obviously includes my spouse and my children. Yet, I have been convicted that my family can’t be the only ones who bear the brunt of my relational soul. That’s placing a big burden on them. I also need good friends who give me the space to be me, even in all my warts. It doesn’t have to be a big group but having a few people you can trust is a significant aspect of our overall health.

Finishing Strong
One thing that can help is the support of walking with others. Especially if you are a pastor, look for upcoming ways we want to help you strengthen your holistic health in community with others.

At the BCM/D we believe healthy churches come from healthy leaders. We are committed to your health and are excited for opportunities to walk together in this journey.


Dan Hyun serves as the BCM/D church partnership team leader.