Our parents tell us we aren’t invincible. I don’t know about you, but I was told to protect my skin from the sun, to eat nutritiously and not to pick at my zits because it would leave scars. What is it about thinking we know more than our parents?
My mom warned me that this day would come. The day I would regret not listening to her.
Now that I am grown up, I am actually concerned about my health, not just what I look like. In my teens and early twenties, my appearance mattered way more than my health and sometimes I went to drastic measures to maintain a certain number on the scale.
I was a cheerleader, on the swim team and a performer in musical theatre. All activities that required physical fitness. I was extremely body conscious. As a matter of fact, food controlled me. I wasn’t sure how anyone could eat freely without thinking about how long it would take to work the calories off or about how many grams of carbs they just consumed.
My junior year of high school, my parents got me a Gold’s Gym membership for Christmas. I was excited. I loved the gym so much, I wanted to work there too. The girls working at the front desk were so fit and pretty. I’d be on the elliptical reading a magazine and watch them get off their shift, drink a protein shake, change into cute workout clothes and begin their workout.
I wanted to be like them. So after a few months of persistently convincing the manager I was mature enough to be the only high schooler who worked there, he gave me a job. I felt so cool dawning my black Gold’s Gym tee, khaki shorts and tennis shoes.
As an employee, we got to try samples of supplements and protein bars. One day on my shift, my manager asked me to try a sample of Thermonex, a fat burner. He couldn’t have asked a more eager girl. He told me it was safe, so I took it.
Minutes later, I literally felt like I was bouncing off the walls. I was so hyper. For a girl who never drank coffee or sodas, this pill was like taking speed. I loved the way it felt and in that moment, my use of fat burners began.
Until then, I was a pretty healthy teenager. But when introduced to the world of diet pills, supplements, meal replacements, body fat percentages, scales and calorie counting, a lot changed. It started with a whole bottle of thermonex. I would hide it in my room so my family didn’t know. I drank protein shakes and ate diet bars instead of eating fruits and vegetables.
When I got tired of counting calories and measuring my thighs, I would make a bowl of ice cream mixed with peanut butter, oreos and chocolate chips. Mmm it was so yummy, but then I felt guilty. So I went on a two hour run to punish myself.
The crazy part is, I was doing all this insane stuff to my body and I wasn’t getting skinny. I actually gained 20 pounds.
I remember coming home from college and feeling my family look at me funny. I had been lying to myself about my clothes not fitting. I thought something was wrong with the dryer in the dorm that was shrinking my clothes. But when I got home, I couldn’t hide from myself anymore. Being with family is like looking in a mirror.
I used a variety of fat burners for years. When it wasn’t enough anymore, I combined red bulls, espressos and coffees with them too. Then I’d do at least an hour and a half of cardio. I literally have no idea how my heart didn’t explode.
I spent years wreaking havoc and destruction on my body; by speeding up my heart rate with diet pills, consuming fake food diets and processed meal replacements, and then forbidding my system to digest food normally. All because I wanted control in the name of “excellence.” Basically I didn’t trust God’s design enough. Can you relate?
Realistically, I should have had a heart attack. I could be dead. My body shouldn’t be functioning normally after all the trauma I put it through.
When I got deeper in my relationship with God again after a painful breakup, God spoke to me. I cried when he told me He had seen everything I had done to myself. I cried when He told me I was the temple He wanted to live within. He told me if I changed my ways and started trusting Him and caring for my body, even if it meant gaining a few pounds, that He would give me a restart.
It’s like He reset my body and made my heart as good as new. I had an EKG done and it showed I was in perfect condition. That is grace I didn’t deserve.
Our society is full of pressure, marketing schemes and photoshop. The enemy will use your desire to be lovely to destroy and possibly kill you. God wants you to be healthy so you can vivaciously live out His will for your life.
The enemy will offer you temporary “blessings” that feel good now. A stimulant, caffeine, a laxative, a measuring tape; they all offer control. It feels good to be in control. But when you fail, the enemy destroys you with guilt, shame and self-punishment.
When we are in control, God isn’t.
Having the sparkle effect has to do with our character. But our character can’t sparkle through when we are clouding our body with poison. It is imperative that we honor the vessels God chose for us to fulfill our destinies. We must maintain them and steward them well. Our body is a gift.
If we can’t manage our own body, how can God trust us with our destiny?
How you take care of your body today will manifest itself tomorrow, and tomorrow always comes.
Here Are 10 Ways To Care For Your Health:
1. Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
2. Exercise at least 30 minutes every day.
3. Enjoy a diet primarily comprised of foods God created and you can’t go wrong.
4. Take a great multi-vitamin and any other vitamins you are deficient in.
5. Wear sunscreen and hats to protect your skin.
6. Drink 2 liters of water per day.
7. Get an annual physical including every test your insurance will cover.
8. Do annual OBGYN visit and pap smear.
9. If you don’t listen to your parents, listen to me.
10. Live a natural and holistic lifestyle so your body can reset and all your organs can function properly.
Healthy Body = The Sparkle Effect
Thank you for creating me absolutely perfectly. Lord, I ask that you will help me love myself the way you love me. It’s easy for me to get caught up in fad diets and the obsession with being a certain size. I hear girls talking about their weight and jean size all the time and it makes me question my own worth. I ask that you would give me wisdom and long-term vision to realize my health and vitality is much more important than compromising now. God, I want to treat my body as the temple you live in. I want to be a welcoming, nurturing host for the Holy Spirit to want to reside in. Please enable me when I am weak.
Please forgive me for the damage I’ve already done to myself. Please forgive me for doubting your artistry when I doubt my feminine design. Everything that flows from Your hands is good and perfect. Thank you for making me wonderfully and fearfully. In Jesus name, Amen.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. 3 John 1:2
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1-2