I’m pretty sure the only times in my adult life that I actually took care of my body in the way I was supposed to was during my pregnancies or during the times I was trying to conceive. When I reflect back on years past, I honestly cannot remember a time other than the aforementioned that I actually took care of my body in the way that I should have.
I’ve always worked out and most of the time I worked out as a way of self punishment or maybe even self loathing…but definitely and almost always as a means of distraction from reality. My attitude was always about being perfect, working harder than yesterday and constantly improving…oh yeah, and being faster and stronger than everyone else. Wait! Don’t forget I had to be the perfect weight and size too, which brought the nutrition into play. I’ve always been a “restrictor” when it comes to food. Binging has never been an issue for me. Cravings? Bring it! I have willpower of steel. I knew every gram of every bite I put in my mouth and my list of “forbidden foods” was lengthy. Forget social eating.
Social media didn’t become a “thing” until my mid 30’s, so I’ve lived most of my life without that influence and what I know as a result is: the influence of social media on the way we treat our bodies is immeasurable. In case we weren’t living in extremes before, we can thank social media networks for taking extremism when it comes to health to the next level.
We’re encouraged to overtrain by “going hard or going home” and “train or die.” We are told that “thick thighs save lives” and having a “thigh gap” is a thing to be desired. We should eat only organic, non GMO foods and on the other hand, we are encouraged to eat donuts and Fruit Loops if it fits our macros…#becausegains. Are you confused yet?
Our bodies are deeply connected to our self worth for many of us women. Regardless if you’re overweight or underweight, chances are there is something about your body you would like to change. Maybe you train too much and eat too little because you strive for that “perfect body.” Or maybe you know you need to stop eating junk food and start moving more but you just can’t seem to discipline yourself to do so. Whatever your tendency when it comes to your health….health nut or couch potato or somewhere in the middle…we are more than likely not taking care of our bodies the way God has instructed us.
“So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do,
do all for the honor and glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31
Did you know we were supposed to eat and drink for the honor and glory of God? I most certainly did not until I got born again-again a couple years ago. I certainly was not beating myself to death with contest prep training and cardio for the glory of God. Nope, I was punishing myself for so many things I won’t bother to list them. So you mean my body is a reflection of God? Yep.
“I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.”
Psalm 139: 14-15
Let that verse sink in for a minute.
These scriptures have been life changing for me. As a former figure competitor/bodybuilder, everything I did revolved around my body. My daily routine was structured around my training and my nutrition. I was consumed, okay obsessed, with my body. I did not believe that I was fearfully and wonderfully made, that God made me unique and had a specific plan just for me. I didn’t realize that I was in competition with no one.
I’m sure you’ve heard the prayer, “break my heart, God, for what breaks yours.” I’ve since wondered if God was heartbroken in those years I spent beating my body into submission, training my body to look better this person or that person, to bring home the coveted tiara. I believe that it breaks God’s heart when we treat our body disrespectfully - whether that is physically, in the gym or sexually by way of promiscuity or other sexually degrading measures. I believe it breaks God’s heart each time we look in the mirror and magnify our flaws. Even when we overindulge in food that we know is not good for us or when we turn to food or alcohol or anything else to satisfy us, instead of turning to Him.
God designed us specifically and uniquely. Our bodies are His temple:
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price.
Therefore, honor God with your bodies.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
So what does all this mean? It means that God has given us our bodies as a means to glorify Him. That means we are to discipline ourselves to take care of it. We need to move it often, even when we don’t feel like it. If that means getting up at 5am so you can get a workout in, so be it. It means choosing to eat foods that nourish your body rather than foods that clog up your arteries and cause health problems. It means being diligent with your vitamins, water intake, and rest. It means not trying to impress followers and people on social media with your #bootywork selfies and pictures of your meals.It means trying to impress God and only God. It means that you need to make taking care of your body a priority in your life…but only after God.