Just like everything else in life striving for health is a balance. As a Christian I don’t feel obsessing over the perfect body is the best thing I can be doing with my time. On the flip side, just leaving it be, caring for everything else around me but myself isn’t the best choice either. However, among Christians I feel like the second is a very common choice. We say things like “when it’s my time, it’s my time”, “this is just my Earthly body, I won’t have this body in heaven.” We politely excuse ourselves from caring for our bodies as we rationalize in our minds all the reasons it’s humble, giving and the right thing to do. Because after all, the time we spend time on ourselves is selfish, it’s time we aren’t spending living for God, right?!
Well friends, I’m going to tear down those excuses. Because that is what they are, excuses. I agree, with all the statements we typically make regarding our bodies. No, this is not our forever home, we won’t be stricken with the illnesses of the world forever, and when it’s my time, yes, I believe it’s my time.
Let’s talk money and stewardship for a minute. We are called to steward our money well. We shouldn’t be reckless in our spending, agree? As Christians we are called to tithe, save, give and treat the funds we have as a gift that’s not really ours but something we have been given to use, while we are here, for the good of God. We look at our possessions and declare them as not ours but gifts we’ve been given. Why is it so much different when it comes to our bodies? Aren’t they a gift as well?
Our bodies are the thing that houses our soul, it is the mode of transport for our purpose. And as much as we like to think and say things like “it’s my body.” Is it really? Or is it a gift from God? I truly believe it is a gift. We were created, we did not create ourselves. We need to start stewarding our bodies as the gift they are.
I believe our physical health is one of the most overlooked things among Christians. We look at addiction as wrong, addictions like drugs and alcohol anyways. But what about our addiction to foods that do not nourish our bodies and feed our minds? I think most of our lack of caring for our bodies comes down to one thing: it’s widely accepted as OK. Since our level of inattention to our health is accepted by our peers we assume there isn’t a problem. I think deep down we know it’s wrong but appease our desires by rationalizing with the excuses I listed above and the thought process of I’m putting others before myself.
Speaking from my experience: I didn’t always care for my health. I cared for my waistline trying not to get “fat” because I wanted to look a certain way. You may think, man, she’s shallow, well that part of me, the old me, at least when it came to myself, was. It’s not where I found other’s value, but it’s the only place I found my own. I no longer live that way and it’s certainly not what I’m calling for here. I’m not calling for a size or focus on a physique. I’m calling for a renewed focus on stewarding the gifts God has given you while you are here on this Earth. One of those gifts is your physical body. And that, to me, looks like staying physically active, nourishing it with the foods God created. Eating, supplementing and drinking for nutrition most of the time and pleasure less of the time. Can we still enjoy foods and the act of eating? Yes, absolutely, but getting hungry and deciding to eat whatever “sounds good” shouldn’t be the only thought going through our mind when we choose. Stewardship should enter our minds. How best could we steward this gift? What can we do to help our body perform at it’s best? When we are at our physical best we are more likely to be at our mental best. Being at our mental best helps us live fully in the purpose for which we were designed.
I once heard illness is a distraction. Think about it. How well were you able to serve others the last time you were sick? As a mom, sometimes, I don’t have a choice, I have to serve. There are times I’ve been ill and still had to be mom. In those moments I’m not serving joyfully, I’m quite frankly asking my kids, “do you think you can do it yourself?” If the answer is no, then I drag my rear off the couch and help them, with very little joy and almost zero energy. If you are a mom, I am just going to assume we are all in the same boat here. You can totally relate, right?
I’m well aware we can’t always control illness or keep it from taking our bodies captive. But we have more responsibility and opportunity to defend our temple than we realize. Treating our bodies well with good nutrition and exercise is our very best defense. I know we will all likely be sick again, a virus will strike our homes and we will all think back to this post. We will think about how hard it is to serve our family with joy and just like every time I’ve been sick, I will feel more thankful than ever for the days in my life that I have been healthy. I will realize just how hard it is to be full of purpose in serving others well when I can barely serve myself.
We need to stop taking health for granted. Treat our bodies as the gift they are and steward our health as well as we would our finances. If you are reading this and you aren’t stewarding your finances, you should start that too. God is so good. I am so blessed. I will enjoy the ‘gifts’ of ice cream and cinnamon rolls on occasion but not to the point that it gets in the way of me caring for my body and treating it as a gift. The gift of life is precious. I will care for the body I’ve been given. I will treat it like a temple in order to live the best and most fulfilled life possible, to be able to serve to the best of my ability. I hope you will join me.
Hey guys, I have so much respect for Shanda, her perspective and what she shares here at Mirror Mirror. It is an honor that she would allow me to share my thoughts here, with you. I’m not perfect, I’m a work in progress just trying daily to be better, to live up to the potential I was created with and help you do the same through sharing my journey and what I’m learning along the way. It’s my passion. I hope you will continue to connect with me over at heatlhybeatskinny.com on instagram and facebook.