Hey pumpkin spice muffins! (um…YUM)
Can you believe it’s been 4 weeks already of Fitness Fridays? Wow time flies when you’re having fun AND it’s #StrongSeptember!
I’m talking today about a very important fitness-related subject– the struggle between loving your body, being confident, & embracing all your curves and imperfections while also making fitness goals, challenging yourself, and desiring changes to live in the body you want!
I think we as women (& men, too!) feel the tension. We want to walk in security and confidence and love ourselves where we are. We want to not care about how we look and yet somehow always feel beautiful and sexy even when we’re at our worst.
Yet we also have those things…the things about our bodies or even attitudes & mindsets & beliefs that we want to change. But then we feel guilty simply because there are things that we want to change. Shouldn’t we always just be happy all the time with who we are? Especially if we love God and believe that He made us in His image, then surely we need to suck it up and be happy about that “image” all the time.
That’s ^ where shame & discouragement & feeling “less than” come in. I’ve seen so many women in the church cover up this shame and inferior feeling because we’re just “not supposed to” struggle with something so fleeting & unimportant as vanity. We “should be” worrying about other more important things, like sharing the gospel & reaching the nations & our hearts for the lost, etc.
Sure, when we love God He comes and renews our mind, gives us a greater purpose than simply what we’re doing here on this earth, gives us a new identity & freedom from the things that entangle us. He opens our eyes to the bigger picture, but we also forget that God cares about every detail of our life, big or small. He cares about the giant hardships, like illness and death and grief, just as much as he cares about your relational anxieties and body image issues.
SO, all that being said, is there really a balance that we can walk in?
Let me just say– it is OKAY to have fitness goals. Yes, it is okay!! It is okay to want to tone up or get stronger or lose the extra weight after having a baby. I think that there’s something powerful about 1) feeling comfortable in the body you’re in, and 2) living in a way that is always moving forward. Advancing. Taking ground. It’s a Kingdom principle to move forward and take ground. So don’t feel guilty because you have goals & want to work hard to make changes in your life. We do that internally, so why make it a shameful thing to make external goals?
The biggest tip I can give when struggling with the balance between pursuing health while also loving yourself where you are is to evaluate your motives. A motive, as defined in the dictionary, is something that causes a person to act in a certain way or do a certain thing, their incentive, and the goal/object of a person’s actions. I think the balancing factor for fitness is to always ask yourself “What is my motive?”
For example, are you motivated to take on a healthy eating plan or a new health challenge because you hate your body, you are unhappy with yourself, or you think it will fix something about your life? Or that if you only lost x amount of pounds or lost your cellulite, then you will gain y? Do you do it because you want some kind of approval or praise from other people? If so, then I would challenge you to reevaluate what you are wanting to take on and ask God to help you with your motives. I think two people can do the exact same actions, but when one is motivated by the things I described above, and the other is motivated by becoming a better version of themselves, bettering their lives for their family, for their God-given purpose, and out of genuine love for who they are, then the two actions actually become quite different. One leads to life and the other leads to death because the truth is that the end result will never satisfy.
It can go the other way too. Maybe you have resisted a workout plan or eating healthy because you fear what other people will think of you, or you’re scared to give up comforts and things that feel good to you. You could actually also be motivated by self-hatred because you don’t think you are good enough, able, strong enough, or deserve to better yourself or your life. You allow discouragement to rule you instead of courage. So, not only do crazy health-fanatics have to check their motives, but those who don’t should as well. What is holding you back from not going for it?
The desire to change will be life-changing if it is rooted in love and contentment with who you are, knowing that no matter the outcome, you still will be worthy of love. The desire to change will be draining and lead to death if it is motivated out of personal shame, condemnation, and self-hatred in an effort to change the things we think are unacceptable about ourselves.
That’s the balance. What are your motives?
I have a little burpee workout for you today. I know I know, burpees= awful and everyone will hate me. Or you will love me because this workout works you like crazy. Maybe today you’ll find a new burpee variation that you love! Yay! Check out the vid below