My Privilege, My Offering, My Joy
Up until a few years ago, I lived in one of two extremes:
1- Eating way too much, feeling guilty about it, and then punishing myself by
trying to burn it all off with hours of exercise.
2- Using food as my coping mechanism
when I was upset (or tired, or bored, or lonely) and then being too worn out to
do anything about it.
I was out of shape and out of motivation. I felt like I was trapped in a body that was too tired to run and play with my kids, too big to fit into my regular clothes, and too defeated to attempt to change.
Somewhere along the way I had bought into the lie that exercise was required to attain some standard that would validate my worth.
In my distorted, unhealthy viewpoint:
Fit and Trim= Valuable
Overweight= Not valuable.
And when I was no longer able to meet that standard, I threw in the towel and gave up.
In my opinion if I wasn’t able to whittle my middle through treadmill sessions and slim down my thighs after spending hours in the gym, what was the point? I must be meant to live a life tired, uncomfortable, and defeated.
Then I began to grasp a simple truth that changed my life.
MY BODY IS A GIFT. My health is a GIFT.
My life is A GIFT.
You see, I’m a cancer survivor. At the
age of 14 I was first diagnosed and so I’ve experienced firsthand what it’s
like to not be well. I know the fear of hearing a doctor’s diagnosis, or
showing up for a radiation treatment and the dread that comes with repeating
annual scans to check for reoccurrence. I know all this and yet somehow,
somewhere along the way I forgot that this body, yes, THIS body is a
It may be tired, it may be a little bigger than it should be, it might bear stretch marks and achy knees, but THIS specific body is a gift. And not only that, but I’m accountable for how I steward it! This was a much needed perspective shift.
I began to realize:
That breath that my lungs just allowed me to take? Given by God.
Legs that can carry me on a walk with my children? They’re strong enough to accomplish whatever task He has called me to.
And my two arms that can lift weights, lift groceries, lift babies, and lift burdens? They are able to do the work He has set before me.
I had forgotten that.
In my quest to attain the perfect physique, I had lost my way and gotten sidetracked by all the things that don’t matter.
Slowly, God began teaching me that I am called to live a life worthy of the calling that I have received (Eph 4:1), that I am to be Holy in BOTH body and Spirit (1 Cor. 7:34), and that I am called to present my body to Him as a LIVING sacrifice (Romans 12:1).
I don’t own this body. I’ve been entrusted with it for a short time to accomplish the task that God has called me to. That means that I should not abuse it, shame it, mistreat it, neglect it, dishonor it, or take it for granted.
Eventually, my “I don’t want to” exercise mentality became my “I GET to” exercise privilege.
day I looked for ways that I could move my body as my act of worship and
Not to see a lower number on the scale.
Not to fit into a smaller clothing size.
Not to hustle after or validate my own worth.
But as my privilege.
This could only happen once I learned that my worth was not tied to anything that I could do myself. My worth isn’t based on how I look or how fast I can run or how much I can lift. My worth was determined long ago by God Himself by the work that He did, and HE says that I am enough (Romans 8:1).
Nothing I do can make Him love me less, and nothing I do can make Him love me more.
Once I grasped THAT truth and that it’s ALL a gift, it became my JOY to move each day.
Maybe you’re stuck in the same cycle of defeat that I was. Or possibly you’ve allowed exercise to take an unhealthy place in your life.
Can I encourage you today, friend? Submit it to Him.
ALL of it.
Your desire to be healthier, your need to be validated, and your longing for better health. Then thank Him in advance for what He can AND WILL do and walk in the Freedom He alone can give. Each day ask Him how He wants you to move, and to eat, and to live.
It’s ALL a gift- it’s ALL our “GET TO” .
We thank you for bodies that can move and for lungs that can breathe. Today I pray that we reflect on the gift that we have been given and that we would be motivated to steward our health well for Your glory. For those that need to begin moving their bodies each day, give them renewed motivation and strength. For those that may need to possibly stop letting exercise be their idol, we ask for grace and humility to know when it’s time to step back and look to YOU for our worth and value instead. For those of us who have too long equated Fit and Trim= Valuable as a rule in our hearts and minds, we now cast it off. You alone say that we are enough; regardless of the size of our bodies or the frequency of our workouts. May we have hearts that are drawn to You and may every part of our lives, including our exercise, be worship given back to You in adoration and praise. Amen.