In the gospel of John, there is a story of the invalid man lying at the pool of Bethesda in the city of Jerusalem. A great number of people especially the lame, paralyzed, and blind lay near the water for long periods of time waiting for the waters to be troubled. During a specific season, an angel would come and touch the waters at the pool releasing healing properties causing miracles.

The Bible mentions a particular man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. “6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” 7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” (John 5:6-8 NKJV)

As we reflect on our own physical health, are we taking ownership of the choices we make or for the lifestyle changes we need to make to improve our overall well-being? Often time, we wait on others to help or maybe we blame others for not helping enough. Maybe we make excuses for not making the right choices and changes in our lives?

Jesus asked, “Do you want to be made well?” The answer is, yes!! It seems so obvious, of course I want to be well. But that answer requires action. Jesus tells the man to “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” We must be willing to take self-responsibility for our health which is a blend of response (action) and accountability (ownership). It is nice when others help us on our journey but we cannot wait on others to act nor can we wait on the conditions to be right to act. Jesus said, “Rise!” Our journey often gets derailed because we focus on the barriers and obstacles of completing the journey instead of doing what we can to start the journey. The first step of our journey to wellness is taking the first step!

Charla B. Johnson, MSN, RN, ONC and Willis Steele M. Div