I don’t think anyone would argue with the importance of taking care of our bodies by eating healthy and exercising.
However, I wonder how many of us understand WHY it is so important.
Is it so we will live longer?
Develop six-pack abs?
Get that infamous bikini body?
Build our self-esteem?
The culture has overemphasized health as a means to happiness, and in doing so, has left us with the notion that in order to live a satisfying life, we have to look/feel a certain way.
As a Christian woman and health coach, I disagree.
I believe that our MOTIVATION for taking care of our bodies is crucial. Our “why” is not so that we can become an ornament for people to admire, but so that we might be a useful instrument for the good of others.
This was not always my stance. In my earlier years, I competed in beauty pageants and sought to have the perfect bikini body with six-pack abs. I wanted to be admired for my hard work and discipline. I was. However, I did not find lasting satisfaction in my awards or accomplishments. I struggled with a love/hate relationship with food, which led to an eating disorder. I abused diet pills until the day that I blacked out while on an elliptical machine at my local gym. Something had to change.
I didn’t know my WHY.
After having three kids, my body looked more like something off the Discovery Channel than a former swimsuit winner, but hey . . . “They are worth it!” I wanted to look good for my husband and have energy to take care of my kids. So, one night while breastfeeding, I purchased a fitness program I had seen on an infomercial. It was called Insanity. After completing several rounds of the program and removing processed foods from my diet, I lost a total of 60 pounds. I felt great and could fit into some of my old clothes, which was a major win because I had been living in my husband’s sweatpants for years☺
Even with the success I experienced in losing weight, I was not ultimately satisfied. I wanted to be skinny. I couldn’t stop thinking about the bodies from Victoria’s Secret and Seventeen magazines that I had idolized in my youth; those images kept telling me to push forward.
It wasn’t until the last few years that I discovered the REASON for taking care of my body.
It is not my body.
Yeah, pretty simple. It is HIS.
The Bible says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
We were created to do WORK and it just so happens our bodies are the tools for that great work!
Our bodies, time, resources and talents are not our own. They were given to us by God to be used for His glory.
One summer, a couple from our church graciously invited us to stay at their beach house as a family. They gave us the key and told us to enjoy ourselves. I thought they must have developed amnesia. Did they remember we have three little kids? It is not my tendency to be a clean freak, but I became ultra concerned with cleanliness concerning our friends’ home. Why? Because it was not ours. I wanted return the key back, with confidence knowing that we did our best to take care of what was entrusted to us.
For God’s glory, we should give serious consideration to how we steward the gifts He has given us.
You may be thinking, “Why does my body matter? I thought God only cares about my soul?”
You may even take it back to 1 Timothy 4:8, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
Yes, Godliness has value for all things, but this does not diminish the importance of taking care of our bodies. After all, if we are Christians, our bodies are the “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19).
When we are good stewards of our bodies, we have more energy to do the good works God has called us to.
God created us mind, body, and soul.
These bodies are the vehicles through which God will accomplish the HUGE task He has called us to do, namely, spread His Gospel to all people (Matt. 28:18-20).
If we are sick, tired, depressed, and constantly stressed, how will we accomplish these “good works” with which we have been entrusted?
Certainly, we must not forget grace and that God uses the weak to carry out His work. But again, we must ask ourselves, “Am I being a good steward of my body, or am I abusing His grace?”
Forget about working on that bikini body. Let’s focus on building a body that we can do LIFE in. Specifically, the abundant life to which Jesus has called us.