Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Sprouting Summer: Fitness

 My Random and Out-of-Order thoughts on Fitness 

What is fitness? With summer comes the rush of "get fit quick" schemes and promises. Yet if I've learned anything, it's that fitness and health is a lifestyle, not a month-long endeavor. In a society that paints a picture of an impossible achievement and beckons women to follow, its no wonder that most women are insecure about their bodies. As I seek to live in the world, yet not succumb to its lies, I've begun to ponder, what does God want with my body? I certainly don't have all the answers, but I hope you'll join me on a journey through my thoughts.

In the times of the Old Testament, the Temple was meticulously cared for, cleaned, and made to look beautiful for its Dweller. In 1 Corinthians 6:19,  Paul urges readers to remember that they are the temple of the Most High, since His Spirit dwells within them. So then, are we not called to take care of the home of the Spirit well?

So, then, what does it mean to "keep house?" I think God desires more how the inside of His temple looks, not necessarily the outside. He cares more about what is in our HEART. Even in 1 Samuel 16:7, He reminds the prophet Samuel that while human nature tends to make judgements based on appearance, He looks first and foremost at the heart. Yet, we tend to even judge ourselves by our outward appearance, letting how we feel about ourselves govern our emotions, thought patterns, and attitudes. We must remind ourselves that God made each and every person beautifully and wonderfully. God does not make junk!  As followers of Christ, we must strive to balance a healthy outlook of ourselves as one that seeks after God's own heart, that seeks to obey Him and follow Him, and who seeks to take good care of the temporary shell God has given us (that's all a body is- a temporary shell for our spirit that longs for heaven). God's prescription for a healthy and fit soul has never changed- follow Him.

With that in mind, how does God want us to treat our physical bodies? Certainly He doesn't call me to obsess to look like something I'm not. God gave us healthy and movable bodies for a purpose, so move! Even in fitness, its important to keep GOD as our focus and motivation. If our motivation is to look like so-and-so, and if we are driven by an inner voice that tells us we're unacceptable if we aren't ____, that's a pretty rotten crowd to cheer you on daily towards fitness. What if our motivation became to glorify God through my fitness and give Him my best? What if we stopped obsessing over a size or a number and started exercising as an outward expression of thankfulness for the gift of our bodies? What if we started to enjoy fitness and being healthy and were finally set free from the bondage the world threatens to shackle us with, the lies that threaten to overtake?

I believe God wants us to enjoy the gifts He's given us. If you love dancing, then dance. If you love running, then run. Don't live by the standards set by the world, don't buy into the lies that your worth depends on your outward appearance. Remember that your Heavenly Father wonderfully made and crafted you, and He seeks to grow a healthy heart that loves Him. Fix your eyes on HIM as you seek to live a healthy life. Again, being healthy is a process, a long journey, rather than a short sprint. But good for us, we have the Master Guide right beside us, to catch us when we fall, and to remind us to watch out for the pits along the side of the road.

So go, live in the wonderment of God's love, surrender the lies you've believed, begin on this journey living a balanced life (in ALL aspects), and bask in the beauty of the Lord's creation- YOU!

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