By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

I believe that everyone has a calling, a purpose, a destiny, a reason to be here. I believe that every one of us hits tremendous road blocks, from without and within, that want to keep us from “being all we can be,” as the Army jingle used to sing to us. And, as someone who has contended with my own internal and external battles resulting in the temptation “to settle,” I have nothing but compassion for my fellow travelers. I have found that the “epic battle” to be well and whole never rests, and I also think that it’s not supposed to.

So, what does it mean to be well and whole? Well, in our air-brushed, often boring system of “worth-by-beauty,” it can be almost cookie-cutter in its predictability. Seriously, if you take a look at people who cover all of the cable news outlets as newscasters, most look like they came out of a plastic box. So, no, that’s not what I am talking about. It’s not about Body Mass Index or having washboard abs and buns of steel. It’s also not about how long you can hold a plank position, although being physically fit is most definitely one aspect of becoming whole and well.

Does it involve eating real food, making one simple change like getting sleep, getting moving, drinking water? Sure it does. Does it mean taking responsibility for one’s past, present and future, whether it involves your mind, your soul, your spirit, your pocketbook, and your relationships? Absolutely. However, there are plenty of people who do that, but that does not necessarily make them well or whole. You can’t be either without the pursuit of improvement in all the aforementioned categories, but if you just check off boxes, you are missing the point.

Being “well and whole” has to start with a reason, and it can be a “fire-in-the-belly” type that is like the road to Damascus where you get knocked off your donkey, on to your derriere, and blinded for awhile. Maybe it’s a diagnosis or depression, maybe it’s a broken relationship, either vertical or horizontal, and something inside either roars or whispers that this is nowhere near whole or well. This is not what or who one was meant to be, do, or have. It does involve coming to the end of one’s self in order to find one’s purpose, and I guarantee, nothing is as scary or as satisfying.

I hope you will take the time to read this edition of Tina’s Tales, found on page eleven. And, as much as I always love giving Tina the chance to tell her story, and I never tire of hearing or reading it, I know that sometimes people chafe at the idea that unless their personal story is uber-dramatic as far as “mess-to-success” is concerned, it won’t inspire them or anyone else. That’s simply not true.

Remember when your children were little and they took their first steps? You were thrilled out of your gourd and thought it was the coolest thing in all of human existence. Well, that is what happens in the heart of your Maker when you make becoming well and whole your goal, and you find your true “why.” One of the things for which my heart longs is to build a tribe that fearlessly pursues being well and whole, and helps others to do the same. Wanna join me and help? We’ve got work to do, and joy to pursue.

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