I am stepping out of my comfort zone today… big time! Today I am finally addressing the topic of faith and fitness. What is the correlation? What does the Bible say about fitness? How do you honor God through fitness?
Some may have heard my story of how my faith and my fitness life is intertwined. I have spoken at MOPS groups about this exact topic, but have never had the guts to share it on my blog- here it goes.
Fitness Meets Faith: The Correlation
There is no doubt that I love fitness and working out. I love how it makes me feel strong and powerful. I love how it gives me energy. I love how it gives me friends and I feel it is truly my God-given purpose to help others on their fitness journey.
There is more to fitness and working out than how it makes you look and it should not be about how you look. We all get caught up in how we look, including me. Although I strive to make sure my fitness regimen, my workouts and my self- talk glorify God, there are days when it doesn’t. There are days when I look in the mirror and I love what I see and it causes me to be vain. There are days when I look in the mirror and I don’t love what I see and then I am putting down the body God created. Over the last 20 months, something changed for me. I am not perfect. I still get caught up in the, “oh my arms look good today,” and the vanity that comes with fitness: after all, I am human too. However, each day it is my goal to see the bigger picture.
Fitting faith into fitness.
Where does faith fit into this fitness puzzle? Or the better question might be, “Does fitness have a place in our spiritual well-being?” It does!
This message is just not for those who love fitness and working out, and are wondering how can my fitness be more faithful. This is also for this who love God and want to glorify Him every way possible: finding YOUR fitness is about obeying God.
Why do you have health and fitness goals? Is it for the outward appearance? Something emotional? Because you just know you should be physically fit? Is it because our society tells us about obesity rates and everywhere you go someone is preaching the importance of fitness? Or do you truly know why physical fitness is important to our lives as Christians?
On the contrary, why don’t you have health & fitness goals or a plan to work on your fitness? Do you not have enough time? Maybe you don’t know where to start? Do you believe that fitness is vain and it is worshiping our bodies and not God? Or do you, just like many, not know why physical fitness in important to our lives as followers of God?
So what does the Bible say about fitness?
Paul reminds us that Holy Baptism empowers us to honor God with our bodies thus implying that our body is not means to glorify ourselves. Medical care, eating healthy food and exercising regularly are good, Godly habits.
In Romans 12:1, the Bible states, “these are to be practiced however so that our bodies may be living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God.” Your physical well-being and your fitness should not be about an appearance- it is about taking care of the temple God has given us.
This is a tough way to think and it is a struggle I have daily. It is a hard transition. It is hard to be women, wives and mothers in this society. It is tough when you see mirror selfies all over Facebook. It is tough when one of your acquaintance wearing nothing short of a bathing suit on social media showcasing her 6 pack after 3 kids. You long for that. It is tough when you see a friend fit until her jeans from your days in college. You long for that too.
When I find myself longing for this, I ask myself why. Why am I longing for this? Why are you longing for this? What are we obsessing over? We know that this is not something we should do.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “do you not know that the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, whom is in you, whom you have received from God. A temple is not an object of worship but a place of worship.” In seeking the perfect body, the perfect abs, or chasing that number on the scale, we are worshiping what is created, not the creator.
Changing your mindset
How do you change your mindset? For me, I changed my health and fitness goals. For me, fitness is about getting stronger, becoming healthier and all the things that working out and eating healthy allows me to do.
Each day I want to wake up with the energy to fulfill my God-given purpose- getting a workout in does this. I want to be able to keep up with my kids for years to come- working on my fitness does this. I want to be able to show my munchkins how to do the monkey bars- lifting weights gives me the strength to this. I want to be around to see my kids have kids- taking care of myself will allow me to do this. I want to be the best wife and mother I can be- taking care of me first allows me to do this.
I am not perfect. I fall, I slip, I become vain. I also fall and slip and talk negatively about my body. When this happens I remind myself that God loves me and I too should love myself– not in a way that is vain, but in a way that glorifies Him.
Your turn- tell me!
Do your fitness goals honor God?
How do you correlate your faith & fitness?