Wellness Voices >>

Community Brings Wellness Resolution Into Focus

A note from Tammy Devine: “It is always exciting to watch our ELCA leaders discover the joy and renewal that comes from living well. As we set forth toward a wellness reformation this year, I have invited several colleagues to share what has made a difference for them. Pastor Dirk Stadtlander of the Rocky Mountain Synod appreciated the way he found support in community.”

Pastor Dirk Stadtlander
King of Kings Lutheran Church
Pueblo, Colorado
January 2016

“And the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you.’” — 1 Samuel 8:7

At this time of year, there is a good chance you’re thinking about making resolutions. A year ago, I embarked on the Journey of Renewal through Portico with the idea that it would be akin to making a New Year’s resolution. I expected to work hard at changing my habits and thought processes, but I anticipated my individual efforts would bring about that change. Yet as I joined other leaders from the Rocky Mountain Synod in this year-long wellness program, I began to realize that resolution and change are best achieved in community. The amazing strength I found was not so much having others help me stay resolved or focused on a goal, but rather in their helping me to see myself in finer resolution, like focusing a camera.

That focus came because I had help looking at my life through the eyes of others. A strong feature of this program is monthly coaching calls with a small group. Sometimes, I entered these calls feeling like a failure in how I had used the prayer practice we were asked to try that month. The feedback and understanding my small group colleagues gave always brought grace into the frame, which encouraged me to continue on this wellness journey. Hearing the different ways we experienced the same prayer practices also gives me a grace-filled focus as I invite others to live well. As I share these practices with others, I now do it expecting they will have diverse perspective and anticipating how I can offer them support.

During the year, I also worked with a spiritual director who was able to listen, reflect back, and pose questions in such a way that I could see elements and patterns in my words, actions, and reactions to which I was blind before. I value order and excellence, and consequently I’m often very critical of myself and my actions. The time and space this journey offered helped me reframe my perspective. Grace, encouragement, and love were the prevailing filters my small group colleagues and coach brought to me. Awareness of these other ways of looking at my life has given me the grace and strength to be a more non-anxious presence.

In a recent small group conference call, one of my Journey of Renewal colleagues noted that becoming aware of the truths in one’s life is the first step in being capable of intentionally making a change. As I have made progress toward reaching my own goals, it brings to mind the words of the man in John 9:25b: “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

This submission describes a personal perspective on an aspect of the ELCA benefit program that may or may not reflect the experience of others.

email Share your Wellness Voice at livewell@porticobenefits.org

Photo of young family


Portico Customer Care Center

Phone 800.352.2876


More Contact Options