Friday, February 06, 2009

Is being fatter really what's a matter?

Motivations in pursuing health and fitness are often more elusive than the pursuant is aware.

For many, the body is threatening that it's going to shut down all kinds of systems if you don't start taking care of it properly. The warning dash light is on and its time to get in shape. For some people they are choosing life but wrestle with the battle of also trying to unravel and get free from self-hate or body-image bondage. They are trying to fight off the cultural deification of thinness as defined by the ever unattainable pixies. In fact, most of the health and fitness industry really is just madness; it's consumeristic, capitalistic oppression, blatant self worship and flat out lust.

It can easily breed body idolatry.

Coming to accept the natural results of aging, sickness and disease, life change or birthing children; is part of accepting God's design for our bodies and lives at different seasons. I say good job for anyone who can shed little tears or mental energy over it. It's rare, especially for women, but men face it too.

I think there is a danger in embracing a spiritualized apathy or lack of discipline that attempts to turn our vices into virtues. I see it when people embrace the "grace of God message" and turn it into a license to sin. The flesh is a tricky combatant. In the end being overweight can kill you. Suicide isn't a godly virtue...and many of us are killing ourselves with our forks and couches.

In the end we are all imperfectly seeking to walk out what it means to "worship God" with all of our lives...and for many, their bodies are more a testimony to fleshly lack of control instead of the fruit of the Spirit called "self control". The church is praying more and more for healing and yet being conformed to death in her values, choices, lifestyles and mentalities. It's a subtle victory for death to get us to pray for supernatural means while continually undermining the end result through natural means. Death is our enemy, the very last one that Jesus will bring under His feet. Fighting against death is to resist the enemy of God. Life is what Jesus brings, not death...in fact, Jesus expanded the idea more by calling for "abundant life".(Jn 10:10).

Of course the world would love to define that "abundance" for us and focus on designer clothes, breast size, hot or not labels, a certain age, a number on a scale, or a look...etc.

But being healthy is much different than being a certain number on the scale...or being able to wear a tucked in shirt or a thong. Beauty can be found in the breast cancer survivor or among the Eskimo women of the north. True joy isn't on a rack of jeans or in the amount of hair on your scalp. Confidence isn't rooted most securely in the changing outer life. If it is...your going need a lot more than a wonder bra after those babies take out their hunger on your chest! No pill from some smiling Bob is going to turn any man into a better lover...if anything it will make a bad night...just longer. You can reach a certain "ideal weight" through starving yourself, taking diet pills, smoking or vomiting up your last meal...but in the end you are still out of control....and ugly.

For me losing 30-50 pounds is about quality of life and the desire to live longer, more productive, with more energy and in a way that honors God with what He has given me to steward. I fail at this so much...but His grace is present, His power is available and wisdom is gained through the journey. Legalism is alive and well in the health and fitness world. Its a cruel master that can exert a power that is as much slavery...as the undisciplined life.

My prayer is that: "We would prosper and be in good health, just as our souls prosper." (3 John 1:2) and achieve it in a God honoring way with grace, patience, wisdom and joy.
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