This is going to sound weird, but I am thankful for everything I learned during my most intense years of struggling with my idols of eating and exercise. Would I have chosen to go through it? No. Would I wish it on anyone else? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Yet, as a child of God, who knows that God is sovereign, I know that my struggles were not pointless. They happened for a reason. I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned from my struggles, and how God has grown me through this journey.
1. Comparison. Before I struggled so much with eating and exercise, I would often compare body types. I compared styles of eating, explored different diets, and was obsessed with doing things like sugar fasts, fasting for the sake of not eating calories, trying to be the best athlete of anyone I knew. All of this stemmed from a deep insecure, prideful desire to be better, the best, ‘healthy’ person anyone knew. Yet, it always left me wanting more, and I’ve began to increasingly appreciate the different body types, diets, and athletes. I now see the beauty in variety so much more than I ever have before.
2. Diets. I realized the pressure of American society for the ‘perfect body’, the ‘perfect diet’, and ‘perfect health.’ I realized that none of those are achievable on this earth, and striving for perfection with a body that won’t last forever just isn’t worth it. This leads me to my next lesson.
3. Jesus. I was reminded of just how satisfying Jesus is, far above and beyond 5 cookies or a big bowl of salad. John 6:50-71 says, “This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. …”
4. Fitness. I don’t want to do exercise anymore for ‘burning calories’ or even for the sake of ‘exercising.’ I do it to now, because I love to move, to be outside in God’s creation, to explore, to make memories, and to be with God and spend time alone with Him. Of course, my motivation is not always perfect, but God has worked on me SO much in this area, and I am grateful that it is no longer an imprisoning obsession, but an enjoyable activity. I’ve realized how amazing the human body is, and even more, I’ve seen just how God sustains my body day by day.
Acts 17:28 says, “ For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”
5. Last but not least, my perspective has changed on FOOD. Food isn’t just calories in vs. calories out for me, but it’s time to spend with family, enjoying God’s gifts. It’s a good, undeserved amazing gift from God. Genesis 9:3, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.”
Thankful for these lessons. I would not have chosen to learn them this way, but I am so grateful that I can now take these and share them with others, and ask for other’s prayer and encouragement as I continue to walk this journey, following our amazing Savior and Creator.