The Four Spheres of Overcoming
By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield, Founder FaithInspires.Org
In this world there will always be challenges in life. We are after-all imperfect people living in a fallen world. “ For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23. Since none of us are perfect our lives cannot be perfect, things happen. When things happen even though they may be unintentional we end up with consequences to deal with. We are also affected by the consequences of the people around us. It is here that our ability to overcome the consequences of this world is called upon.
It has been my observation over the years that our internal infrastructure which allows us to overcome the challenges of this world can be separated into four categories. I call these the Four Spheres of Overcoming. They are not distinct, and quite often overlap. They are Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual. I often use grief as an example of how these spheres work because, grief is such a profound challenge that it often involves all four spheres. The same dynamic however can be seen in how we confront a wide range of challenges.
Let’s look at each one more closely,
- Physical – Our bodies have their limits. Even though we can train to expand and extend those limits, there will always be boundaries to what our physical bodies will allow us to do. Adrenaline among other chemicals within our design can also expand our physical abilities beyond their normal state for a short period of time.
- Mental- This sphere is defined by both the physical structure of the brain, and by our accumulated knowledge. Studies have even shown that as we accumulate knowledge, the structure of the brain changes over time. Certain mental illnesses (depression for example) can also alter the physical structure of the brain. Depression in many cases can even be seen on a PET scan. So its not just “all in your head.” We can also read, take classes etc. to expand our knowledge. Including how to handle whatever challenges we face in our lives. The mental sphere can have great affect of the physical. World class athletes, and soldiers both talk of “mental toughness.” They literally train themselves to use their minds to expand their physical abilities. People of faith have been known to use their faith in much the same way. I remember years ago, I was a volunteer at the U.S. Gymnastic Championships. I got to see some of the world’s best athletes up close. Even now I am in awe of their mental focus. The way they can control their thoughts, and use their thoughts to control their bodies is beyond amazing !
- Emotional – Anger, sadness,and other emotions are most often normal reactions to abnormal external stimuli. Some emotions, anger for instance will even affect the physical sphere. Anger can cause an increase in in heart rate and Adrenaline levels as part of the fight or flight response. Of course we have to exercise caution when our emotions rise to the point that out body launches a physical response. Inappropriate or even dangerous behavior can result when such natural responses are left to run their own course.
- Spiritual- Particularly as Christians we take great comfort from our faith. Obviously as a minister I spend the most time working within this sphere. Verses such as John 16:33, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Can offer much strength when challenges arrive in our lives. The fellowship we share as Christians can also serve as a readily available support network It can also serve to strengthen and enlarge any support network you may have. Support networks can be vital to dealing with some challenges. Support networks can also vary according to the need at hand, so having the largest possible pool of people to draw from can be helpful.
These four spheres are my attempt to outline the internal resources we have when we face challenges, and how our body uses them. Obviously there are other factors that can come into play, the reaction of others for instance. Hopefully what it said here has given you a start. I invite you to consult your pastor, doctor, or other adviser to continue your journey to facing life’s challenges in a more productive way.
Posted on July 6, 2016, in Over Coming, Uncategorized and tagged Biblical Counseling, Christian Healing, Crisis, Life's Challenges, Mental Health, Mind Body Connection, Psychology. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.