Do you not know that your body is a temple 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 body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
I talk a lot on this blog about how we are called to be good stewards of the earth because, after all, it is God's creation. There are limited resources. There is only ONE earth...and it was entrusted to us to take care of while we are residing here. In the same way, God has given us ONE body...gloriously and perfectly made...to take care of while we are here on earth. Did you know that your body is not your own? You were bought with a price. Jesus paid the price for us when He died on the cross...and we owe Him everything!
When you are taking care of something that is not your own...how do you treat it? You probably take very good care of it, so that when the owner comes back, they will find it in good condition. When you rent an apartment, you are probably very careful to keep it in good condition so that when the landlord returns, you will not be fined. We are to be good stewards of our body...in the same way that you would take care of anything that is not your own. In 1 Corinthians, Paul refers to our body as "a temple". When I think about what that means...my mind brings up images of how my house would look if I was preparing it as a place of worship, a place where God would dwell.
With these thoughts in mind, think about the things you did to care for and prepare your temple this last week. What types of foods did you put into your body? What about artificial flavorings, chemicals, preservatives, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides went into your body? Did you exercise? Did you get outside? Did you run, jump, play, and dance? Oh, but Sara! I didn't have TIME to make healthy meals or exercise! :)
Over the years, I have made so many excuses as to why I didn't have time to work out and/or eat better. And being that I was an athlete throughout my school years, it should have been pretty easy for me. But after I had Bella, I just didn't "feel" like doing anything. The less active I was, the worse I ate. The worse I ate, the less energy I had. I had weeks where I would try to start making changes, but then would quit in frustration after I had missed a few days and "failed". It wasn't until about 4 weeks ago that I started at it again...this time with renewed vigor and excitement. I truly believe the reason I have been able to stick with it this time is because it was a holistic change that encompasses all areas of my being. I started having really good time in the Word and meeting with Jesus in prayer daily. I started working out and being active daily. And I started eating much better. And it's this last part that I really want to focus on...because I believe that eating and diet in general is such an intensely spiritual and emotional journey... one that it effects all other areas of our life. If your body is unhealthy (and you are tired, depressed, worn out)...everything else goes into a downward spiral as well. Your marriage, your relationship with others, your self-esteem...it's all connected.
If you have been over to my food blog, Happy Foody, you know that I am very passionate about food! I believe that it has the power to heal, energize, and keep your body running well for a long time. But the foods that make up the typical American diet are not healing foods. They aren't even close to healing foods. Nor are they even close to what God had in mind when He created fruits and vegetables for us to eat...perfect foods with perfect vitamin and mineral make up for our bodies. There are over 7500 varieties of apples alone! Just apples! Can you even fathom how much deliciousness grows on this planet that we don't even know about? All created by the one who knows ours bodies perfectly. And yet...we choose foods that have a chemical make-up that would startle our great-grandparents. Just 40 years ago, all food was "organic"...our country has gone so far away from that ideal and it's saddening to see the effects on our health. Even more saddening is that we are CHOOSING these things for ourselves. I know that there are certain situations of poverty where that person may not have a choice, but the majority of the people reading this have a choice as to what they put in their mouth.
When we consider that "we are not our own"...it becomes a little easier to make better choices. It's not our body to trash... we will be held accountable for our actions here on earth. There is a disconnect between the food we eat and our faith. We compartmentalize everything...I know I am guilty of it as well. We break things out into comfortable categories that don't intersect. My faith. My health. My family. My hobbies. My food. But I am realizing that my faith in Jesus is like a blanket that covers all of these things. My faith is not just one "part" of my life...something that happens on Sunday...it IS LIFE. Being a follower of Jesus is my philosophy of life.
What is the meaning of life? For me, it is to bring glory to God in all that I do and say. I am going to stop treating my body like it's separate from my spirituality and bring it all under His control. He wants is ALL. He desires the best for me, which means that He WANTS to help me be healthy...He WANTS me to learn self-control.
But how can we claim to have self-control, and yet we can't control what goes into our mouths? We are somehow "powerless" to say no to a Venti Breve White Chocolate Mocha, a Big Mac, a Coca-Cola...or "just one more" brownie. We remain slaves to our food when we can't conquer our cravings.
"Everything is permissible for me"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12
When you sense that little inner voice telling you over and over..."you need to start eating better"..."you should exercise more"...it's not necessarily just your inner voice. It is most likely the Holy Spirit prompting you to take care of it's dwelling place in a better way. Who knows what you need better than the Holy Spirit within you?!
I know this is a very difficult issue for many people. It's a struggle that feels unbeatable. There are many of you who without a doubt have struggled with eating disorders. I am not saying that it's easy, and I am not saying that you have to look like a super model. Everyone has different body types...HOWEVER...you know for yourself when you are unhealthy and need to make a change. The American Heart Association has put the out the standard for all adults...that you should be physically active (and this means actually sweating with your heart rate elevated - they define it as "vigorous") for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. 30 minutes! That's HALF of "Lost" or "American Idol"! You can do it! The activity can be split up into 10-15 minute increments, but it must be vigorous to get the benefits. This means that the leisurely stroll to through the parking lot doesn't really count :) When you are sedentary (a.k.a. sitting around most of the day), your body begins to think it doesn't need all of the muscles it has and you get flabby. Flabby is no fun!
Decide today that you won't be satisfied with letting your Temple sit in disrepair! And then get busy dissecting any body image problems that you might have. Do not judge your body based on a false reality. Stop picking up "Fit" and "Shape" magazines and comparing yourself to the completely absurd, airbrushed photos. They are not real. Stop picking up "People" and staring at the perfectly little perfrect bodies from Hollywood. In order to LOVE the body that God gave you, you have to stop putting garbage in your mind about what this world says it should look like. You can be HEALTHY and not look like a model on the runway.
You also need to examine who you perceive yourself to be. When you can wrap your head around the power that you have within you through Christ, anything is possible. So...who am I in Christ?
I am God's child (John 1:12) I am assured all things work together for good (Romans 8:28) I am confident that God will perfect the work He has begun in me (Philippians 1:6) I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7) I have purpose (Ephesians 1:9 & 3:11) I have hope (Ephesians 1:12) I have been chosen and God desires me to bear fruit (John 15:1,5) I am alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:5) I am God's workmanship (Ephesians 2:10) I have peace (Ephesians 2:14) I am a holy temple (Ephesians 2:21; 1 Corinthians 6:19) I am a dwelling for the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:22) God's power works through me (Ephesians 3:7) I can approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12) I can bring glory to God (Ephesians 3:21) I can be certain of God's truths and the lifestyle which He has called me to (Ephesians 4:17) I can have a new attitude and a new lifestyle (Ephesians 4:21-32) I can give thanks for everything (Ephesians 5:20) I can be strong (Ephesians 6:10) I am growing (Colossians 2:7) I am His disciple (John 13:15) I am prayed for by Jesus Christ (John 17:20-23) I am promised a full life (John 10:10) I am victorious (I John 5:4) I am set free (Romans 8:2; John 8:32) I am a light in the world (Matthew 5:14) I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37) I am not helpless (Philippians 4:13) I am overcoming (I John 4:4) I am persevering (Philippians 3:14) I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) I am victorious (1 Corinthians 15:57)
Now that's some encouragement!
Where to begin? Be realistic with your goals and expectations. Set goals in increments...slow and steady. Make your goals attainable, so that you can easily achieve your goals and then move onto the next one. Start with 10 minutes a day. Start with a walk around the block. Start somewhere. Journal your progress...on paper or in a blog and find someone who is willing to be a partner...to help you stay the course.
One of the best partners you can have is Jesus...I feel so confident in knowing that He is with me on this journey. I have been using my exercise time to meditate on scripture and pray through my prayer list. After I'm done, I'm not only refreshed physically, but spiritually as well.
In order to help everyone jump start their healthy journey, I am going to host the "Happy Foody Green Smoothie Challenge"! It will will start on Monday, February 25 and run through March 25. For more details, check out this post on Happy Foody.
Get your temple in order...pray for the Holy Spirit to give you motivation and energy and excitement to begin this journey!
Photo credit: Flickr: j/f/photos