Occasionally, I am reflective. This doesn’t happen very often with little ones at home gobbling up every contemplative moment. As a mom, I often rush through the day simply trying to stay on top of things, reacting to circumstances and surviving. Getting the chance to sit and think, allowing my soul to dwell in the depths of meaning is rare. Very rare.
But when it happens, and I allow God to speak to my heart, I emerge with freshness and purpose. One of these pivotal moments occurred not long ago.
I began training because I was infatuated with human performance. The concept of taking the human body and subjecting it to various protocols to create a powerful machine was fascinating to me.
However, it’s hard to not let the fitness industry suck you in. The bodies. The muscles. The absence of body fat. The vanity.
Because I understand human performance and nutrition, I know exactly what’s required to create the body of your dreams. The training protocols, the meal plans, the mindset, the effort expended.
All for what?! Once you get there, is there a gold pot of satisfaction waiting for you?
See, this is where my profession and my faith intersected.
John the Baptizer humbled himself and exalted Jesus thousands of years ago with these very simple words, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30).
Less of me, more of You, Jesus.
I know deep within my soul that unless I truly humble myself and allow Jesus to be big, in charge, and the ruler of my life I will never be satisfied. Everlasting glory and timely exaltation is waiting for the humble, not the proud and self-seeking.
“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you.” (1 Peter 5:5,6)
On that fateful reflective day, a couple years ago, I was struggling with my love for fitness. What’s the point of this? Is this all vanity? Is pursuing exercise, conditioning, and good nutrition only serving my own pride and selfishness? I almost quit altogether. It didn’t seem right.
Then I heard these words: “You are right where I want you to be.” Tears still come to my eyes when I recall how vividly and clear He said this. That He would speak to me at all!! When you are in the presence of God, the only natural response is to instantly humble yourself. “Here I am, Lord. Send me.”
"You are right where I want you to be."
Perhaps you have moments in the midst of training, sweating, and meal planning that you think to yourself “what’s the point?!” It’s so hard to stick with a regimen. It requires so much discipline and stamina. It takes so much effort, but for what? A great body? To prove that you’re healthier than most? To exalt yourself somehow?
Here’s the point…
“Didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 in the MSG)
It’s not enough to be spiritually disciplined, while neglecting our bodies. My soul AND body were bought for a very high price…Jesus gave His life for my body. I must train it. I must feed it well. I must take care of it. This is my responsibility.
Do you see now that this is the point? Knowing this drives us to stay fit and exercise regularly. It drives us to eat healthier and resist temptations.
It’s not just vanity. It’s stewardship. It’s gratitude. It’s respect.
It’s a fine line that we tediously walk…being in our best possible shape without worshiping ourselves. Allowing Him to increase in our lives, while we, ourselves, decrease. Less of me, more of you.
I want to be strong, but I want God to be stronger in me.
I want to be disciplined, but I want to understand the freedom found in grace.
I want to be healthy, but I want to remember Who breathes life in me.
It’s still hard. It’s a daily struggle for me, as I’m sure it is for you. But continually being reminded that our bodies are very expensive temples for the living God both humbles us and gives us purpose.
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” 1 Peter 3:8
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