Afraid to try and fail—again—another healthy eating and exercise plan?
But we face those choices when we’re making goals for 2018. If you’re like me, it’s easier to think of other goals to focus on, rather than fitness goals. (“Hey, let’s read 100 books in 2018!” or “Let’s clean out every closet and get rid of every piece of clutter!”)
Some of my readers know I started my journey out of a pit of despair back in 2014. I was depressed, anxious, and basically wished I didn’t have to walk around on this earth anymore.
I often had thoughts like these:
I wish I could be someone else. Why do I hate myself so much?
I haven’t battled that sort of stinkin’ thinkin’ for a long time. I no longer wonder why God seems to love and favor everyone else, but despise me. (Because nothing could be farther from the truth!)
But I still have quite a way to go on this healing journey. I’ve come to realize that I’m not going to be wholly healed until I meet Jesus in Heaven, but God’s been good to guide me through this process step by step. I won’t quit as long as I’m breathing.
Each year, I can see a little bit of improvement. For example, I no longer chastise myself for dropping off a diet, nor do I go days and weeks without exercising. My motivation comes from a deeper sense of God’s love and a higher sense of His purpose for my life. This newfound inspiration is one of the many changes resulting from God’s response to my desperate prayers for healing.
I used to read I Corinthians 6:19 as an excoriating lecture. Lyneta’s paraphrased version: “If you would just take care of your body better, God would love you more. You’d be more worthy of His indwelling.”
Boy, was I ever off on that one! Here’s what the apostle Paul actually said:
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (I Cor. 6:19-20).
Now, instead of reading Paul’s words like a chastisement, I read them with the awe and wonder I think Paul intended to provoke. Out of all creation, God chose us for a temple to indwell. Because humankind had sold its soul to the devil, God bought us back for a very high price—His only Son.
Because He wanted to dwell in us.
What an honor!
Instead of idolizing a hard-chiseled body or neglecting the ones we’ve been given, wise self-care decisions come from a place of gratitude. One of the promises of His indwelling is an abundant life.
Not that I’m perfect at doing everything right. But abundance never equated to perfection. Abundance comes with figuring out what’s eating me, rather than focusing so much on what I’m eating. (When the former is addressed, the latter naturally follows.)
But what does it mean to be indwelled?
If Jesus were to come stay in my house, I would want the very best for Him. He’d get the fluffiest pillows and the firmest bed, and we’d serve the finest food and wine. He would not be getting the cheap coffee, either; I’d pick up some locally roasted beans and grind them myself.
Taking the house guest analogy a step further, what if we thought of our bodies as God’s dwelling place in such a literal way?
I’d be ashamed to have Jesus come stay in my house if I let the roof leak, or if my living room looked like an episode from hoarders, or if my bathrooms were filthy. And yet, I tend to put my physical body’s needs low on my priority list, because I forget to be grateful for the body He’s given me.
What if we make a goal in 2018 to give up on the ridiculous desire for perfection that keeps us from trying for more than a couple months, and instead focus on providing the best we can afford (money and time-wise) to our Guest, who lives in Heaven, yet indwells these earthly bodies of ours. Not because of guilt or shame, but simply because we’re honored that He’s here.
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Romans 8:11).