Another summer has almost past again. The desire to be healthy has faded and dreams of sweatshirts and stretchy pants are on the horizon. However, our attention to good health should not be a seasonal thing. As believers we are called to honor the Lord with our bodies and how we treat them. Today I am going to share five reasons we are not succeeding in a healthier lifestyle and how the Lord can help.
1. Our Motivations Are Worldly
When our mindset is from a vain place or a worldly perspective we might look like a model, but still be unhealthy. Good health is more than an average BMI or pant size, healthy is the whole person. Jesus Himself was not anything spectacular in appearance, however I would argue that He was the healthiest person to ever live on the planet.
Did Jesus have a six pack? I do not know, the Bible does not say, but your decisions with food and with fitness can be God-honoring or sinful and we know that Jesus never sinned.
1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
We are provided with images of perfected people and there are even apps that change our own faces to be perked and painted. Ecclesiastes 1:2 shares, “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” The definition of vanity in the Webster’s dictionary that applies here is, “Something that is vain, empty, or valueless.”
The author of Ecclesiastes is comparing the ways of the world to vanity. He goes on to say that chasing after the things of the earth is like chasing the wind. (Ecclesiastes 1:14) If our motivation for getting healthy is actually to get skinny and look sexy, we miss the point.
Just like there will always be new dieting fads, new ideas for workouts, or new fitness celebs, if we chase a fad or try to be someone who we are not, we miss out on true health. Sure our bodies might shape up a certain way, but our hearts and minds have not changed. True health begins with the gospel. If we know that Jesus thought we were worth dying for, we know that He is worth living for.
This will flow out of how we care for the bodies that He entrusted to us. I’ve never succeeded more in health, than when my focus was on glorifying God with my body and leaving the results up to Him.
2. We Neglect Our Own Body Type
There might be a way of eating or a type of exercise that works wonders for someone shaped like an apple, but if you are a pear, you will never be an apple. This concept reminds me of the old saying, “A square peg in a round hole.” We are taught when we are young that we can be anything that we want to be, but the truth is that we can only be what God intends for us to be. He has the best for those who love Him and we are made the way that we are for our good and His glory. (Romans 8:28) Instead of focusing on being someone else, we need to start zoning in on how to be the best version of ourselves. Comparison will only derail our vision for a healthier lifestyle.
3. We Choose Diets that Are Not Long-Term
There are a lot of wonderful quick-start diet programs out there. However, something that is not sustainable will likely not sustain you. A diet that is a fast fix might work wonders for a month or two, but in thinking about honoring God with our bodies, we want to envision the longterm success. Lately, instead of focusing on what I should not eat, I am getting excited about what I should eat. Every meal I am approaching in a different light.
Invite the Lord into meal times when you feel tempted. Pray something like, “Thank you God that I get to eat vegetables or fruit, etc. I am so happy to have fresh food when a lot of the world does not.”
A wise woman once told me, “All food fits.” If we just do a strict diet, we miss out on moments of celebration and enjoying the amazing foods on this earth. The goal is to enjoy the food but not let the food own you or take up a place of idolatry in your heart. Food addiction is a real struggle and we need to be aware that any of us could fall in this area. God gives us what we need each day, and we should be grateful.
Matthew 6:11 says, “Give us today our daily bread.”
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4. We Only Do the Hardest Workouts
Pride can creep in so easily at the gym or even at home. We desire to be the best and to be in shape. I remember working out with women ten years older than me once and getting so frustrated that this one incredibly fit woman could run faster than me. (I am not a runner by any means, but the age gap effected me) I was so self-conscious to be stronger because, “I should be the best” since I was the youngest there.
This attitude was so self-centered, I missed the joy of reaching my personal goals and judged an older woman for her success.
Many times we feel as if we have to push ourselves to the point of exhaustion to be working out well. This is not true. Sweating is great, but I have learned of many types of low-impact and fun workouts that do not cause injuries. Part of seeking a long-term fitness plan is discovering what you enjoy.
If I do not like a workout, I will not stick with it anymore than a diet that makes me miserable. If your routine is simpler or you enjoy fun classes, do it! Whatever gets you active is the best exercise for you. Fun fitness is better than no fitness.
Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”
5. We Neglect the Support From Others
Jesus Himself could have done His ministry all by Himself perfectly, but He chose the disciples to work towards the goal with Him. His model of inviting others into community is a game changer for healthy lifestyles. When we have the support from even just one other person, it creates accountability, encouragement, and friendship. We were made for relationships.
Maybe you have been embarrassed by the situation of your current health status. Perhaps you tried a support group or asked a friend to help you and it failed. Pray and ask God who you could reach out to who would provide the encouragement that you need. Remember that they are a cheerleader, but God is your coach. We can only ultimately depend on Him for our success, not a human being.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
Even if you have felt like a failure in your health after a traumatic year of isolation and social distancing, it is not to late to start getting on the right track. We need perspective from the Lord, ownership of how God shaped us, long-term eating goals, workouts that we love, and support from others to succeed. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
The Holy Spirit lives inside of every believer. The power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us. We are more than conquerors through Him Who loves us. These are just a few reminders that with the help of God all things, even our health is possible.
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Emma Danzey’s mission in life is to inspire young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. Emma is a North Carolina resident and green tea enthusiast! She is married to her husband Drew and they serve international college students. She enjoys singing, dancing, trying new recipes, and watching home makeover shows. During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Currently, she is in the editing stages of her first two writing projects: a Bible study on womanhood and a non-fiction book on singleness. You can visit her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com