No – this is not an infomercial. It’s not one of those dodgy links you click on in the unsolicited pop-up window of your browser. But let’s be honest – I’ve found myself falling for some rather outrageous links along the way. Whether it is a miraculous new piece of equipment, a protein shake or supplement, it is clear that the market is fulfilling an internal desire for people to look and feel healthier (if not to just feel better about themselves).
Throughout my life, I must confess – I have been extremely body conscious. As a guy it doesn’t sound like the right thing to say, but from where I stand it seems there are more men struggling with self-image than women these days. There have been a few moments where I truly felt like I had traction in the area of health and fitness in my life, but many of them fizzled for various reasons. In the end I found myself fed up. I found that whatever the market was selling was not good enough. No amount of ‘workout inspiration’, supplements or angry music could help me get my physical state in order. I had to look deeper.
So I went to God.
Wow! Yup – this is an article about weight loss that just got spiritual. In the past four months I have studied what scripture says about it, spoken to God about what I need to understand and scrutinized my own motives for being ‘well’ at length. And out of it I have begun to build a lifestyle that is directed towards wholeness and overall strength. Here are a few stages I had to go through internally before changing any external factors:
Stop juggling the deficit
We are all only human. I know – that guy on the cover of ‘Men’s Health‘ looks like a god, but he’s got some problems in life too. You won’t have to look too far to find them. Whenever I tried to ‘jumpstart’ my health life I would end up dropping something else. The better I looked externally, the more insecure I became internally – relying on what I looked like, rather than allowing my identity to permeate through.
I call this ‘juggling the deficit’. You might be in great shape. You might have a really strong self-image. You might be known for your great personality. But could you truly say you’re healthy and strong across ALL those areas? Is your thought life as healthy as your body? Are your meal plans as beneficial as your relationships? You see, I was fed up with simply shifting the problem from one area to another – focusing on my physical health while dropping the ball bigtime in my thought life. As I said before – we are all human. You might say it’s impossible to thrive in every area of your life, but I beg to differ. God created us to thrive completely. We were made to function without any hindrances or problems. We are not superheroes, but if we go back to the Author of the manual for our lives, I believe we will find the unique problems and deal with them. We can live strong in every area of life.
You have to be completely vulnerable
This is something that we, as guys, don’t do very well. Even in culture today, there is a constant jostling for position – and a very one-dimensional, infantile understanding of manhood that is robbing many of their true identity. You might stop reading at this point and say, “I clicked on this to find out how you lost weight…” and my response is this: let’s deal with why first.
Why do you want to be healthy, strong and attractive? Here are a few answers that the market plays off of blatantly:
- To feel better about myself
- To be better than everyone else
- To be accepted by other people
- To prove others wrong
As much as the issues touched on in the questions above are real and deeply moving, I can tell you now they will not hold in the long run. Why? Because all of them are rooted in an unhealthy perspective of identity. In every instance you would be building your health upon the decay of your soul.
Here are the facts:
- You weighing less or looking stronger won’t change how you think about yourself. Over-exercising is just as addictive as over-eating. If you use this reason as your motivation, you will end up being obsessive, which would lead to breakdowns in other areas of your life.
- Wanting to be better than others is not godly. In many ways, you are trying to make other people feel worse by being more impressive, desirable and attractive. There is only one ‘top seat’ and a few billion people on this planet – do you understand how illogical this motive can be? And why things such as war, social injustice and gangsterism are rife?
- You losing weight might make it easier for people to accept you at first – but that is playing to the lowest caliber of individual in this world. If you need to fit into a certain dress size or have a below 10% body fat to be included, find new friends. No one has time for shallow self-obsessed relationships – they are a virus to this generation already.
- Everyone loves the story of the underdog, but if you are wanting to base your physical life decisions on proving others wrong, you will end up striving to ‘stick it’ to people who have long forgotten you exist. I have spoken to many people who came to realize they were trying to prove people wrong who had already died. The root of this problem is actually unforgiveness. As someone who has been bullied and seen many tough sides to life, I can understand if you say that this is a bit harsh. But truth isn’t about comfort – it’s about real health of the soul.
I had to search for a God-understanding on my physical health and wholeness. And I find myself healthier than ever – physically, emotionally and spiritually. If you want to read more about that, you can find my blog here: God and your body.
God is the only answer to true wholeness. He is the ultimate and only ‘fix’ to your problems and insecurities. If you would like to start a personal dialogue with Him about all He made you for, click on the link below to find out more.
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