The famous phrase “New Year, New Me,” I get it… in fact I’ve said it. This is the time of year where people scramble together their goals for the season, many of which revolve around health, fitness, losing weight and eating better. Working as a fitness professional at this time of year is awesome because it brings in great business, clients are motivated and most get great results. However working as a Christian fitness professional at this time of year can also hurt my heart, let me explain…
I think it’s important to feel comfortable in your body and have a positive self-image. It’s easier said than done as I think everyone has had a rough day when it comes self-image. Working full time in the health and fitness field, there’s always been emphasis, pressure and expectation to look a certain way. Having experienced this firsthand I’ve actually really worked hard at protecting the way I view, treat and talk about my physical body. I am extremely aware of words I speak over myself, making sure I am only speaking blessings over myself. I diligently practice healthy eating habits and a regular exercise routine. And though it’s absolutely a priority for me to take care of my body, I do so with many heart checks along the way giving the Holy Spirit full permission examine my motives as to not make the way I look an idol or source of validation.
A few weeks ago, I experienced an assault from the enemy on my self-image. After taking time off weightlifting because of a broken arm, I was finally cleared from my physical therapist to start lifting again. I was completely ecstatic and went to the gym to get in a good lift for the first time in 4 months. While I was exercising, I couldn’t help but study the mirrors and I noticed that I lost some substantial muscle which resulted in my body looking a little ‘softer’ than what I’m use to.
I didn’t know what came over me but all the sudden I had a rush of negative thoughts and emotions that flooded my mind. I could feel my flesh move me to ‘problem solving mode.’ I started thinking of how I could revamp my regular exercise routine to spend more time working out and how I could eat differently to optimize muscle growth again. Thankfully, I caught myself and finally took it to God. I prayed and said “God, I don’t know what’s up with me… but I’m just feeling so many oppressive thoughts about my body right now. I know that these are lies and attacks but I just want to hear it from You… what do You like about my body?”
And I heard God respond, “Danea, asking Me what I like about your body is like asking an artist what they like about their masterpiece… I love absolutely everything, right now in this exact condition. And guess what, I’ll love it in tomorrow’s condition too, and I’ll love it in next month’s condition, next year’s condition and 30 years down the road. Because a masterpiece is always a masterpiece, it’s always an artist’s BEST piece, regardless of age or condition.” The rest of the night God lovingly ministered to me by telling me all the big, noticeable things and the tiny, minuscule things He loves about how He fashioned my body, leaving me at peace with the current amount that I workout and continuing to fuel my body properly.
I realized a very important thing, had I acted on my ‘problem solving’ methods I would be doing so by partnering with self-rejection—A spirit that feeds off of not accepting yourself, always beating up on yourself and not being happy with the person that God made you to be. However when I partnered with God’s love and the Holy Spirit, I realized that there was actually no ‘problem’ that needed to be solved. There’s nothing wrong with my body besides the fact that this last season was one where the focus was healing rather than performance. As I invited the Holy Spirit the truth become more and more evident, what I previously viewed through my fleshly perspective as a fault was in reality such a divine blessing.
Beloved, you are God’s MASTERPIECE, His BEST work. He is so proud of how He has put you together- SPIRITUALLY and PHYSICALLY. In fact, He was so excited about you that He just had to put you on the Earth. He had to put you on the Earth, not just because He made you… but because you reflected His image (in spirit and in body) so well that He knew your very presence here would be a ministry to the world.
Trust me, I’m so passionate about being healthy and working out. I’m actually a fitness professional and personal trainer because I believe there’s an important ministry found in being and teaching others to be a good steward of the body God has given you. But please, do your heart a favor and identify what you are partnering with as you seek lifestyle changes.
It’s on the enemy’s conniving agenda to entice and trick the beautiful sons and daughters of God into making changes around their lives that revolve around compensation rather than restoration. In other words, you can easily and a lot of times unknowingly make good choices based on wrong motives.
So as you make goals this year, consider the motives of your heart. Be aware that you can easily slip into the mistake of managing exterior outcomes without fixing the condition of your inner spiritual world which leaves toxic roots in your spirit and soul to continue to operate in. I’d encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit if the reasons you are deciding to make changes are due to partnering with the spirit of self-rejection or because you actually are receiving a true holy conviction.
Finally, if you are making goals to be healthier and become a better steward of your body out of conviction rather than condemnation, then I applaud you! As I said before – I am so passionate about being a good steward of our bodies/temples God has given us. If you’re hiring a trainer then make sure they hold importance on your spiritual/mental results just as much and if not more than your physical results. Be sure that they operate in a way that teaches you how to invite radical self-acceptance in every step of the way rather than conditional self-acceptance which invites love in only ‘when’ you see results. However you’re planning to achieve things, I’d encourage you to join me in making a habit of scheduling space for heart checks along the way, inviting the Holy Spirit to come and correct where correction is needed so that He restores where restoration is needed.
- I’m not against losing weight, but I would encourage you to lose insecurity first.
- I’m not against getting rid of unhealthy habits, but I would encourage you to get rid of unhealthy beliefs first.
- I’m not against watching the kinds of food you eat, but I would encourage you to watch the kinds of words you speak over yourself first.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Learn how to be healthy in Body, Mind, and Spirit through this ‘Healthy and Free’ E-COURSE! from Beni Johnson of Bethel Church.
This article was written by Danea Zeigle