I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you. – Joyce Meyer
It’s that time of year where gyms are full and health foods reign supreme on social media, ads, etc. It is as if we are conditioned to actually care about our bodies for the first month or so of a new year. And then, burnout ultimately follows. I don’t know about you, but I have certainly faced my struggles in the area of weight and fitness in my mid 20s and early 30s. It can be frustrating, depressing, and a roller coaster ride of emotion.
Something I’ve learned is that perhaps my perspective and reasons for wanting to be more fit or slim, were not out of self-care, but more out of my self-image and views of myself and how I wanted to be seen, and that is where we have some things mixed up. What if we approached our health and fitness from a purpose deeper than the exterior? What if we approached it as a facet of our purpose and calling in life or ministry? I believe that taking this approach to our personal health and well-being yields much more fruitful and lasting results.
A few years back I was traveling with a ministry team and had the amazing opportunity to hear the wisdom and stories that are shared in more private settings. One of the team members had been a personal assistant to an older minister, he shared how he asked this older minister the question, “…If you could go back and change one thing, what would it be?” The minister replied, “I would have taken better care of my body, because there are things I needed to do and places I wanted to go in ministry, but my body couldn’t carry me there.”
When he shared this story tears filled my eyes, because this was someone I honored and respected in ministry, and at the end of his life that was the one thing he said he wished he could have done differently. That story has stuck with me and in a sense poked at me about my own care for my body and the dreams I have, both in life and ministry. You know the bible tells us that,
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”1 Corinthians 6:19-20
What if we actually treated our bodies as a vessel of honor to God? If you found out that God himself was coming to your house tomorrow, what would you do differently? Would you have trash, dirty socks and laundry everywhere? Or would you want your house the cleanest it has ever been smelling fresh and looking pristine? Then why do we treat our bodies with any less priority? Why do we fill it with junk regularly and not think twice about it, when this is actually where the Holy Spirit himself abides?
I honestly think the root of all of this can be found in our unhealthy words and image about ourselves. We project our own dissatisfaction with ourselves on others. We see our flaws and tear ourselves apart for those flaws, whether they be stretch marks, extra weight in this spot, a little jiggle here, a scar, a wrinkle or ten, gray hair, and so forth. Some of these are things you can’t change, of course, but you CAN change how you see them and yourself.
Find joy in the things you can’t change, for instance maybe your stretch marks are the result of three beautiful bundles of joy that God entrusted you with. And with the things you can change, find a healthy and positive approach to taking on those things while still finding joy in the journey! Want to lose weight? Do it to be a better you, not so you can fit in this dress for this occasion or so that you’ll look better in the eyes of this person or that, but do it so that you can be the best you and walk, or run, fully in your dreams and all that you are called to be.
I believe the first step to being truly healthy and happy is to first focus on how you see yourself and the other things will follow! My hope for you is that you realize how remarkable you truly are and that you see yourself for the beautiful person you were created by God to be! I want to leave you with few verses that I have found help bring encouragement in how we see ourselves and approach our healthy life goals.
“I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord!” – Psalm 139:14 TPT
“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” – Jeremiah 29:11-14 MSG
“I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love! And so now I’ll start over with you and build you up again…” – Jeremiah 31:3b-4a
Featured photo by: Allison Mims