Have we ever considered that our standards for beauty and health could be wrong? What if they aren’t realistic? What if the reason they require so much time, attention and energy is because, our expectations are so high?
In the past, and in other cultures what has been considered healthy? What has been considered beautiful? Has that changed over the years? Does it change from culture to culture?
Does this obsession with health and beauty come from God, or is it a scheme by the enemy to keep us self-focused? As we keep our minds cluttered with thoughts of weight, BMIs, bikini-ready bodies, superfoods, calories, and so forth, do we miss out on connecting with God and people. Ultimately, we miss out on the “life” we’re really craving.
Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life MORE than food and body MORE important that clothes? For pagans frun after these things and your Heavenly Father knows you need them. But seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and ALL these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:25,32-33
Could this also be said of how our body looks and our obsession with losing weight and being healthy?
It’s interesting. Jesus tells us not to worry about food, drink and clothing. He never says they aren’t important. He never says these things are bad. He never says that we don’t need these things. In fact, he fully acknowledges that we do need them, and our Father is fully aware of our needs.
We do need a certain measure of health. We need to move. We need good food in our bodies. Our Creator made our bodies to eat, to drink and to move. He doesn’t need science to inform him of what’s good for our bodies.
Yet..we don’t need to worry about any of these things. Worry can completely counteract all of the good things we’re doing for our bodies. Worry can’t add days to our lives, but it can keep us from fully enjoying the days we do have. Worry keeps our minds consumed and distracted. Worry depletes us of the energy we need to actually live. Worry actually causes health problems.
We live in a culture that is consumed with being healthy, living longer, and looking young. So much money, time and energy is focused on fitness and health.
But isn’t there MUCH more to life than obsessing over food, or eating and feeling guilty because we really shouldn’t be eating this or continually living in a place of deprivation because we need to lose a few more pounds? Isn’t there more to life than weighing a certain amount, looking a certain way,and spending exorbitant amounts of time, money and energy trying to figure our how to get our bodies “fit” and healthy?
I believe Jesus is leading us to a more natural rhythm of life.
It’s a life where our focus is no longer on our bodies–which, by the way are temporary. It’s a life without the constant striving to meet some unrealistic standard, or feeling guilty when fail, or becoming prideful and judgmental when we succeed. (I’ve done all three. Sometimes in the same day!) It’s a life where we aren’t being tossed to and fro by the latest scientific findings that debunk that last finding, or which proves that the food we thought was so healthy really isn’t after all.
Can I be honest here?
I’m sick of all of the health advice. I’m tired of trying and trying and trying to do the latest and greatest trick or tip that leads to long lasting life. I’m dropping out of the race to find the fountain of youth. It doesn’t exist. This body wasn’t meant to last forever. And guess what? I’m ok with weighing more than my ideal weight. (Btw, how do THEY know my ideal weight? They know nothing about me or my body. You can’t use my height and age to determine MY ideal weight.)
In my attempt to live more simply, I’ve had to make some personal changes.
I’m not obsessing over what I should and shouldn’t be eating. I eat what I want without guilt or apology. If I notice that something doesn’t do well with my body, like dairy, I don’t eat it. And instead of turning into a food nazi, I eat even dairy every once in a while–when I want to. I believe that’s the freedom I’ve been given in Christ. I don’t have to be perfect. I’m learning to keep food, fitness and medical prevention in its proper place. It’s still a work in progress, but I really do feel more at peace and less like a slave to “food and fitness” rules. And I’m living with a lot less guilt.
.I’ve also decided that working out shouldn’t be this chore that I detest. I actually enjoy working out. I feel great afterward and I do things I actually like doing. Sometimes I like to push myself. Other times I want to take it easy. I’m not letting someone else’s advice about what I should do, become my Master.
Instead of obsessing over food, exercise, checkups, disease prevention, and weight, the Holy Spirit keeps leading me to focus on the seeing the kingdom of God invade this earth.
What would happen if we all focused on loving those who were skillfully and wonderfully made in the image of our amazing Creator? What if we became obsessed with compassionately caring for people. What if we were more concerned with people experiencing the mind blowing, life changing glory of God in their lives, than we were about the number on the scale? What if we sat down with a plate of food and enjoyed it, with a heart of thankfulness? (instead of thinking of how many calories or grams of sugar are in it?) Now that would be radical living! Wouldn’t it?
Fitness doesn’t change lives.
“Clean”, healthy food can’t give us inner peace.
Vitamins, herbs and essential oils can’t take away the hurt and shame that lingers in our hearts.
Preventative check-ups won’t satisfy the emptiness inside.
Let us live to love others. When we love, Heaven invades earth.
A strange thing happens when we focus our time, finances and energy on loving people and God. All of our needs are met as well. Our Father knows we need a certain measure of health and well-being in order to live and love. He knows we need food to eat. He knows we need energy to work. Remember he created us. He knows what we need.
He also knows that life isn’t life without love.
May we all live a life of greater freedom. Those whom the son sets free, are truly free!
Now go enjoy that food you won’t let yourself eat, with thankfulness and without guilt!