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Your Body Matters

in wellness

heartnatured.comRemember my thought spill from a couple of weeks ago? If not, feel free to read it here. Let’s also go ahead and be upfront about the fact that I overthink things. But God is good.

Even though that post ends with a more positive, seemingly triumphant mantra, not much changed. But, God in His goodness, is making things new.

One day, recently, I tearfully confessed to J a realization:

I believed being fit was a necessary standard to meet if I wanted to please God — being the right amount of pounds for my height, being able to run or bike many miles, the discipline to dedicate 30+ minutes a day to exercise (because this is what culture deems good enough).

Wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, exercise is a great way to deepen enjoyment of life and to take care of our bodies, but it’s not a prerequisite for love, from God or people.

And I don’t even think it pleases God if you’re miserable with yourself, working for the glory of you or using exercise to avoid something difficult or uncomfortable. There is not right or wrong size of a person, but there is a point that for you is unhealthy and unhelpful to your life.

Being fit, or the number on the scale as a result of exercise, doesn’t equate godliness (1 Timothy 4:8). If it did, what would that mean for those who can’t exercise, for those bound to a sick or aging body? That doesn’t make sense.

I don’t think exercise is a prerequisite for a full life in Christ — it’s more a bonus of this temporary home. 

 


 

Shauna Niequist, in her latest book Present Over Perfect, makes this declaration:

This is the promise I make to my God: I will never again be so careless, so cavalier with the body and soul you’ve given me. They are the only things in all the world that have been entrusted entirely to me, and I stewarded them poorly, worshiping for a time at the altars of productivity, capability, busyness, distraction. This body and soul will become again what God intended them to be: living sacrifices, offered only to him. I will spend my life on meaning, on connection, on love, on freedom. I will not waste one more day trapped in comparison, competition, proving, and earning. That’s the currency of a culture that has nothing to offer me.

Talking about Romans 12:1-2, John Piper says, “You belong to God soul and body, or you don’t belong to him at all. Your body matters.” To me, this screams freedom.

God cares about my body, He created it uniquely to house my heart, soul, and mind, and to make His beauty visible. To make His love tangible for people. He doesn’t shine through my muscles, curves, or how much space I take up, but through the way I act.

John Piper challenges me again,

“Let every act of your living body be a demonstration that God is your treasure. Let every act of your living body show that Christ is more precious to you than anything else. Let every act of your living body be a death to all that dishonors Christ.”

This releases fitness and body image from being an arena to compare or compete or prove, to a place of fun and freedom, a living and active sacrifice!

 


 

After this beautiful realization, I asked God, now that I have a better perspective on exercise, why should I spend the time sweating and challenging myself in this way?

This was the answer: For my husband, for our home, for our future. 

  • For my husband, because while I believe he will always think of me as beautiful, it doesn’t hurt for me to offer a little help. So I’ll take care of myself with activities I enjoy and beneficial foods, to help continually enjoy each other.
  • For our home, to energetically clean our home, keep up with the dishes and laundry, keep our herbs and plants from dying. To happily make it a hospitable and safe place to host loved ones, to use it as a resource to be generous. In my experience, strength and energy help in these areas.
  • For our future, taking care of my body because it will eventually be a home for a tiny human one day. I want to give them their best chance also, and it’s up to me because they will be growing inside of my body. The body I can choose to not care about, to treat poorly, or the body I can strengthen and enjoy.

All of that to say, if you’ve come at a crossroads with your body, or your exercise, or if you want to pick up activity for the first time, ask God to give you your own personal reasons and joy in it. Yours will look different than mine, and mine will look different than someone else’s.

It’s good, and I hope God continues to get the glory from our bodies.

I needed a new reason to exercise…

in faith / wellness

… so I asked God for help.

I’m trying to include Him in even my small decisions, instead of just running to Him when I faltering under the weight of something big. So I prayed, “God, please show me why I should exercise, give me a fresh perspective, renewed desire for something I know is beneficial to my well-being.”

If you know me at all, you know that I have been an athlete for many years. Starting in 6th grade, I played many sports, exercised for fun on the weekends, trained competitively in college, and simply like to be active. Getting up in the morning for a run or spin class or ab workout has never been a second thought. It was simply my default, it was what I did.

Until this season of life. I began a new job that I enjoy, gearing up for a busy Fall complete with more responsibilities and commitments — all good things. Also, for the first time in a long time, I am truly, entirely content in my body. I’m eating well and freely, I look in the mirror and feel good, if I’m being candid. A gift from God, especially considering my past battles with body image and perfection. Freedom, beauty, confidence – who I am in Christ.

Praise the Lord, right? Yes, yes, yes. Praise Him.

I then realized something interesting. Up went finding my true, lasting contentment and identity in Jesus, prioritizing Kingdom efforts over my vain work… down went my motivation to exercise.

What used to drive me — up at 6am for a long summertime run, getting home late from an after-work spin class — was my insatiable discontent with my body. I was in the mindset that intense, regular exercise was necessary for me to feel okay with myself, for me to eat certain foods, for me to meet the expectations of those around me. I was fearful of losing momentum, not being I was afraid I’d gain a pound of two, but because my mindset was that how I currently am is not good enough, I need to be different than what I am right now.

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Things To Give Up If You Want To Feel Happier

in inspiration / wellness

5 Things To Give Up If You Want To Feel Happier | heartnatured

Let’s cut right to the chase, shall we? These are pretty groundbreaking… things I (imperfectly, but valiantly) try to fight off… an effort to feel joyful, free, and light-hearted.

Complaining

It brings you down. It brings other people down. Complaining casts a shadow on just about any moment, don’t you think?  Maya Angelou said this, “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”

Negative self-talk

Sometimes we are our own worst critics. And majority of the time, what I’m worrying about (a bad hair day or forehead zit), other people don’t even notice. So instead of beating myself down, why not build myself up? Why not preach positive affirmations to myself? Why not remind myself of God’s beautiful and powerful promises, my identity in Him, and His love for me? Boom.

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What I Learned About Health From Cameron Diaz

in wellness

What I Learned About Health From Cameron Diaz | heartnatured

This picture was taking on our honeymoon, when we adventured to Asheville, NC. I chose this picture because it relates to this post. I’ll come back to it.

I think I was pretty late to The Body Book party, but when she recently realized The Longevity Book, I was too curious not to pick it up. She basically goes through all the basics of the human body (specifically us girls), good health, the value of exercise (which she calls movement), even our mind and soul. It’s an easy read, but quite the book. I don’t want to spoil it if you do intend to read it, but below are some of my favorite passages, and the occasional thought.

“Your body is your past, present, and future. It carries the memory of your ancestors, because you are made up of the genes given to you by your parents and their parents before them. It is the culmination of everything you have ever eaten, all the physical activity that you did or didn’t do, all the efforts that you’ve made to understand and take care of it. And how well you care for it will determine how well you are able to live your life.”

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