Find the inspiration and motivation to be healthy for the benefit of years to come.
The start of a new year brings a lot of earnest effort toward bettering ourselves. Everywhere you turn on social media, someone is promoting their fitness plan, meal plan, healthy living guide, or latest get fit fad.
Maybe like me, you’ve had these thoughts:
- “No, I’m going to take my health seriously this year.”
- “My diet starts now (or after this holiday cookie.)”
- “I’m getting back into the gym I’ve been paying for.”
- “I’m pulling that treadmill out of storage tomorrow.”
If you’re like me, the disciplines concerning your health are often the first to be dropped in favor of sleep, comfort, stress, or illness, and the last things we pick back up.
But what if we shifted our focus from our health being another part of our already overloaded checklists to being just a part of who God has already called us to be?
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
Throughout the gospels, we see over and over again that it is the enemy’s goal to destroy God’s prized possession. To name a few…
- The man called Legion who cuts himself with stones. (Mark 5:5)
- The boy who seizes and is tried to be killed. (Mark 9:22)
- The two men who were so violent that no one could pass by them. (Matthew 8:28)
If this was common in Jesus’ day, then we can expect the enemy to want to do the same in ours. He wants to steal and destroy our health, to distract us, to convince us it’s not worth it, that we’ll never change, that we’ll always be the same, and that we’ll never break bad habits.
But the good news is that Jesus HAS COME to give us abundant life.
Our abundant life is now. It’s up to us to steward it. Why wouldn’t we want to live a full and abundant life?
The life that I want to live includes living to see my children’s children. To plant deep roots and one day, be the grandma who was an oak of the faith (Isaiah 61:3). That means I need to focus on longevity.
In my faith, yes. In my body, yes.
I focus on healthy eating, exercise, and mobility so that I can not only keep up with my children now but, by God’s will, live long enough to be healthy and thriving if grandchildren are in my future. My children are so small now that the idea seems far off, but that makes today the day to build that foundation.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples 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 bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)
Let’s find a fresh motivation from this verse.
Instead of feeling the weight of an imaginary expectation we’ll never fulfill, what if we decided to trust the Holy Spirit to help us steward this temple? What if we let Him guide our steps?
The Holy Spirit is our companion and friend who cares deeply about every aspect of our lives – what if we ask for His help, HIS motivation to pursue longevity and health?
This leads me to some ideas I want us to keep in mind:
1. Ask God what healthy means for you.
Don’t look to Instagram or a celebrity – ask Him what He wants for you. This isn’t about self-help; it’s about Spirit-help.
2. Ask God to show you that He is the author of time (2 Peter 3:8).
When we live with our schedules in mind, health is the first thing to get the boot. But God has arranged our days.
An open-handed prayer, “God, show me how you would like for me to spend my days, my hours, my minutes,” is one that He hears and responds to. God is always a steadfast steward of our time, even if we aren’t.
As a mom of two little ones and a full-time employee, my time on paper is minimal. But God cares about how I take care of my body, so He always makes way for me to have the time to improve myself. My job is to be attentive and obedient.
3. Make one choice for one discipline at a time.
Discipline begets discipline. When my physical disciplines (eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep) lack, so do my spiritual ones (prayer, journaling, meditation, time in the Word). Daily or hourly choices can be made one at a time, and they add up.
Take a walk, swap a soda for water, and go to bed on time. We don’t need to massively overhaul our lives because that will lead to burnout. We commit to one discipline at a time and watch as our overall health benefits.
4. Evaluate your relationships with food and exercise.
Just like relationships with people in your life take work – so does our relationship with food and exercise. Be honest with yourself. What do you associate activity with emotionally? Are you carrying the shame of past attempts at health? Evaluation is the best way to know where we are and where we want to be. It all takes work.
5. Most importantly, hear this – you are a masterpiece.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
You are God’s art, crafted with a purpose. There are no mistakes in you. You were beautifully and wonderfully made.
Begin to see yourself as God sees you – a work of art. Pray about and work toward treating yourself as such.
The Sistine Chapel is maintained in a way that art historians refer to as “preventative conservation” to keep its beauty and wonder available for generations to come. It is painstakingly dusted and cleaned every day. It is kept at the right temperature with the right lighting. This magnificent work of art is nothing compared to your beauty.
Take care of your body for His sake and glory so that you, too, may last.
Tory Vore is a writer, communicator, and small group leader with a passion for discipleship and the local church. She writes about motherhood, womanhood, and friendship, with God and others. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband James and two children. You can read more of her occasional writing at toryvore.com.