Should Christians Take Their Bodies Seriously?
Our bodies are a gift from God. Masterfully created. It’s miraculous to even contemplate the way my hand is even able to type these words now. But do we need to take our bodies seriously as a Christian? This is the question I have asked since the moment I began health coaching in 2013. I was conflicted at the idea of helping people lose weight and focus on physical health. My first question as I explored jumping into the industry was “God, do you even care about people’s bodies?” My church up bringing had taught me this was not important. We feed the body with potlucks and church punch but to focus on physical well being was not the point of the Christian faith. In fact, shame on me for even caring. But the more people I have helped take control over their health, the more awake I have become. We are embodied souls. We can’t slip into a mentality that over values the soul or the spirit or the immaterial over the material or the physical. The Bible has a wholistic view of health. It is both body and soul deeply connected. And so, we need to care for our bodies and our souls as those working intimately together. When we don’t take care of ourselves physically, it can have spiritual, emotional, mental and relational ramifications. Practically speaking, if you are physically unhealthy you just can’t do certain things with your body that positively impact your mental and emotional well-being. When your body is not able to play sports with friends, be active with your kids, show up in community, then your heart and your head are not able to have the social and relational bonding effects those activities create. That can lead to even greater spiritual set backs since we were created for community, and isolation quickly becomes the enemies playground. What you do with your body matters.
AS CHRISTIANS, SHOULD WE TAKE OUR HEALTH SERIOUSLY?
The question itself is actually quite modern. It was a natural part of life historically. In human history, bodies were used to provide even the basic essentials to survive. It is only in modern culture that we make it a separate effort due to our instant gratification, sedentary lifestyles. The very fact it’s become an unconnected part of our daily routines and modern cultures twist what “looks” good has created the tension around this question. In some ways fitness, our bodies, health become an idol in our society. An Idol is defined as taking a good thing and making it an ultimate thing. Biblical health, is not about youthfulness or an impressive appearance. We know that the scriptures tell us our bodies are wasting away. We can’t cling tightly to things that are going away. Our body is not our identity. But it is a gift to be valued and stewarded. Our appearance isn’t what’s driving but stewarding the gift God has given us. This is the shift of health that has driven me to make a change for myself this summer.
During the past eighteen months we have come to refer to as “COVID,” I began to fixate on my body. With so much out of our control I have learned to focus on that which I can control. But this led to an unhealthy obsession toward every bite going into my mouth. Every inch I viewed in the mirror. And a daily check to see if the button and the zipper felt the same yesterday as they did today. Based on my previous definition, my body and its physical appearance became an idol in my mind. It was not about my health, that was just fine. It was not about stewardship, I was regulating that daily. What was a gift of my embodied soul became a point of shame and self-bullying each morning I stood in front of the mirror. I’ve heard it said, in fact I have said it multiple times to my own clients, “the pain to stay the same must be greater than the pain to change.” I didn’t want to move forward as a wife, mom, coach or daughter of God with this dark cloud filling my mind and impeding my spirit, as a direct result of how I was viewing my physical health. And so I made the shift back to the Biblical perspective and applied my own teachings of leveling up in my whole health. Practically speaking, I reset my view of my soul and my flesh as equally valued parts given by God for me. Over the past few weeks of the appropriate expectations and Christ centered view of my health, I again feel freedom. I’m loving my body and the way it is able to serve me so well to live life fully each day. I am loving myself enough to prioritize healthy food, for my body, this love is carrying over to every other area of my life, as well. I have a plan and my people and together we are caring for one another in accountability for our bodies on the inside out.
So what do you need? or BETTER question–“What are you going to do?”
At some point we have to make a decision and commit. Even if that means re commit. You might have to push yourself. But there are so many healthy rewards to challenging yourself in your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health.
I’m here for you in it. All of it. And just like me, I encourage you to begin by making a shift and pushing yourself in one area of your physical health. I have the fuelings, the movement, the community and a path that just might work for you in the same way it’s working for me. Click here and let’s talk about it.