Before I truly found Christ, I struggled greatly with an eating disorder. Driven mostly out of a bad relationship with food and a pressure to look a certain way, I let food rule my life in a way that imprisoned me. I remember reading magazine articles on how to get better abs, only to turn the page and read an article on body acceptance. It was confusing, and I was lost, overwhelmed, and doing my best to make sense of it all (with little to no succeess without the beacon of Christ's light.)
But the truth is, we do live in an era that makes being overweight or unhealthy extremely confusing. We're bombarded equally by messages that we need to be thin to be healthy or beautiful, that we need to love our bodies and our curves (without the accompanying message of health), and that we're the most unhealthy our nation has ever been. It's overwhelming! I have also learned, through my own journey, that getting healthy (spiritually, physically, and mentally) is such a unique process for everyone - but one that is unequivocally facilitated by faith.
At Set-Point Wellness, it is my goal to help women just like you learn to navigate these societal waters, while also learning to keep your health a priority and staying in alignment (or learning a new alignment) with your beliefs. In other words, to help you learn that when we invite God into our health, an incredible thing happens: we learn to love our bodies, we learn to love our selves, we get healthy, and we don't have to sacrifice ourselves in the process.
Here's why your faith can be the cornerstone for your health:
1. God has a plan for you.
He has gifted you with unique talents and a beautiful calling all your own (1 Corinthians 12:4-6) - but in order to fulfill that calling, we have to be healthy. When we don't prioritize our health, we not only risk shortening our lives, but we also don't bring our best effort to the table. To honor God's plan, we need to honor our bodies and our health:
"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." (Romans 12:1-2 NLT)
2. God wants you to see the beautiful masterpiece you are.
Ephesians 2:10 [NLT] tells us: "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." God sees us as so beautiful, so valuable, that He tells us time and time again (Luke 12:7; Matthew 10:30; Psalm 139:13-14). Imagine how heartbreaking it is for Him to hear us speak to ourselves disparagingly! Every time we pick apart our bodies, or compare, or focus on what we don't find beautiful, it is like a knife to His heart. His love for us should serve as a reminder for how to love ourselves. This means that instead of focusing on some made-up standard of perfection, instead we focus on being the best version of ourselves as possible.
3. God wants you to be healthy.
While God created us each as an individual masterpiece, it was never His intent that our body be our sole focus. Our bodies are merely temporary vessels. However, He did charge us with taking care of them while we are here on earth. "Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT).
Additionally, God does not want us to suffer: from things such as food or other addictions, eating disorders, or poor relationships with food. We are to eat and drink and have fun (Ecclesiastes 8:15), but not to excess (Proverbs 25:16, Proverbs 23:2-3, Proverbs 25:27, Proverbs 23:19-20, Ephesians 5:15-18).
When we invite Jesus into our relationship with food and alcohol, we learn to stop using food or alcohol as ways to run away from reality, and instead take our fill on the Spirit of God. Matthew 4:4 reminds us: "But Jesus told him, "No! The Scriptures say,'People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" [NLT]
If you are struggling with a food addiction or some form of disordered pattern of eating or drinking, I encourage you to try a few of these tricks:
- Pray before eating (brings mindfulness to your meal).
- Ask the Lord to suppress your appetite, and to keep your heart focused on Him.
- Give your problem over to Jesus. Physically write down your challenge and pin it to the cross. This seemingly simple act carries incredible power, the power of the Holy Spirit.
4. God wants you to be confident in who you are, while also staying humble.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Matthew 5:14-16: "You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." [NLT]
The reason this verse speaks so much to me is because it truly fills my cup, it gives me a sense of confidence that is equally powerful as it is humble. You see, when we live for Jesus, with Him in our heart, we are a light that draws others. We are absolutely meant to shine.
But similarly, we need to keep our hearts focused correctly. When we focus on things like our appearance, social media, popularity, or how pretty we feel, we are no longer focused on Him. "Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever." (1 John 2:15-17 NLT).
5. God wants you to be happy
Again, we are not meant to suffer. Have you ever met someone who seemed to be so happy, despite the circumstances of her life? When we are filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, there is a renewed energy; our souls are so joyous that we are not burdened by the pains of our physical world, by vanity, or by lies.
“We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.” (1 John 1:3-4).
My hope is that this article showed you a glimpse of the truth Jesus has for you, for your health, and for your life. There is no reason we need to abandon our beliefs to focus on our health, nor is there reason to abandon our health to focus on our beliefs. God loves you, just the way you are, but when we invite Him into our lives, and into our health, we step into the best versions of ourselves and become more and more as He sees us. Ready to take that first step? Let me know! I would love to cheer you on, or help in any way I can.