So often people follow other’s health and fitness journeys, just daydreaming about what it would be like if only they could do that too. They feel a surge of motivation and encouragement, but are left feeling defeated only days, if not moments, later.
I wish I could say that this WAS me a couple years ago when I first discovered my passion for health and wellness, but unfortunately I continued to find my drive through Instagram posts and cheesy Pinterest quotes well into my journey. If I’m being completely honest, those things still help fuel the motivational fire in me, but there is one key difference between the material motivation listed above and where I am now.
Proverbs 31:17 says “She sets about her work vigorously, her arms are strong for her tasks.”
I stumbled across this Bible verse in the midst of a very low point in not just my health journey, but life in general. I had been serious about fitness and healthy eating for a couple years, and instead of feeling empowered, strong, and confident about my progress, I was on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I was confused and frustrated at my lack of mental strength and ability to see my true worth- I felt directionless and defeated.
That’s when I was kindly reminded that my true value and identity lay in Jesus, not in how ‘fit’ I looked or felt. I was also reminded that my purpose for being healthy had to be stronger than the negativity and excuses. I then asked myself- WHY do I do what I do? Why do I make being healthy such a priority? What am I going to do when I find myself in a motivational deficit?
I decided right then and there that I work for Jesus. Here are a few key verses that stuck out to me, and are a continued source of encouragement and purpose:
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man.” Colossians 3:23
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all the glory to God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139: 14
“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:27
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5
I got so caught up and consumed in striving towards the ‘ideal’ body type that I was blind to the fact that Jesus made me me for a reason. While I was thankful for my physical ability to stay active, I wasn’t glorifying God in all that I did. I felt ashamed, because I hadn’t yet reached my desired outward appearance and I would beat myself up for consuming unhealthy food one or two days of the week, despite eating fairly clean the other six or seven days.
Y’all- Jesus did not come to this earth- to live among sinners, to suffer brutally on the cross to save us- just so we could stand in front of a mirror and hate His wonderful creation. We were created for a reason. We were given the body we were given to work hard, intentionally, and purposefully to glorify our perfect Creator in everything He allows us to do. Whether you’re gifted the ability to walk, to run 10 miles, or to fuel your body with nutritious food, remember that God gave you the body He did so you can glorify Him.
I don’t know about you, but fueling my body properly and staying active so I can serve others well and glorify my God with all that I am, is a source of lasting motivation. It’s something that no Instagram post or Pinterest quote could EVER give me.
With that, I’ll leave you with one final passage:
“Do not let your adorning be external- the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear- but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
(Keep in mind that this is a continuous, daily process. I need Jesus every single day in order to keep me out of the evil trap of comparison and being consumed by physical beauty. I am STILL working on accepting all of this. Gosh, I might be for the rest of my life, but that just means a lifetime of getting to know my Creator that much better.)