Not too long ago, I realized with undeniable reality that I have been such a hypocrite.
New Year’s rolls around every year, and every year I vow to become healthier. I used to say things like “I’m going to lose weight” or “I’m going to eat healthier”. Then I got a little smarter and realized I needed to make more tangible, definable goals like “I will exercise thirty minutes, three times a week”, or “I will eat at least three servings of vegetables most days of the week.”
Smarter? Yes. Completed? No.
This year, my husband and I have booked a long-awaited cruise to the Bahamas that, Lord willing, will take place in June.
My first thought? Yesssss. Finally. A real vacation. My second thought? Oh man… I gotta lose weight.
So I won’t lie, my initial motivation for losing weight has been a very superficial and vain one- I want to look and feel better for our vacation.
Self-absorbed as that catalyst may have been, it did motivate me enough to get started.
So it began: early morning walk/runs with a friend, healthy recipe hunting and then experimenting, parking farther away, buying a Fitbit, downloading health and fitness apps, and so much more.
Now, I’m about three weeks in and I’m noticing deeper changes. During my walks and runs, we talk about a lot of things (when we can breathe, of course), and one of those things is people we know with health issues and crises. I am a family nurse practitioner, and all day long I coach people with diabetes on eating healthier and exercising more. I encourage smokers to stop smoking and drinkers to stop drinking. I guide people with high blood pressure toward a cardiac friendly diet with the goal of helping them come off a medication or two.
And then it hit me.
I am such a hypocrite.
Prior to the last three weeks, I eat what I want whenever I want. I make excuses about how terribly busy I am and how there’s just no time to exercise. I compare myself to others who weigh more/smoke/drink etc., and think “I’m in pretty decent health.”
I’m not using my tabernacle the way God intends me to use it. Sure, I don’t smoke or drink, and that’s great. I don’t use drugs. I get a decent amount of sleep. I am blessed to have a healthy body without chronic disease. I don’t have cancer. I don’t have amputations or spinal deformities. I have good vision, hearing, and good balance. I am unhealthy in the worst way: I am ungrateful for what I have and I am passing up opportunities to improve and keep the health I have been so graciously afforded.
Paul says it best in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
What was the price for me, you might ask? Christ. Our precious Savior died on the cross for me, an unworthy person dwelling in a temporary body that does not belong to me.
My parents always taught my siblings and I that if we borrow something that does not belong to us, we take care of it. My mom always stressed the importance of returning borrowed items in better condition than when it was received. The same applies to our bodies. It is borrowed. It is temporary. It should be carefully taken care of and appreciated; and it has a purpose.
We are to use our bodies to glorify God. We should be healthy enough to hike up a mountain to teach someone about Jesus. We should be strong enough to care for those who cannot care for themselves. We should have enough stamina to help someone clean their home or mow their lawn when they can’t do it for themselves.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Does the food I put into my mouth provide needed nutrients for my body so that I may better serve Him? Am I using my muscles in such a way as to keep them functioning at their best ability? Do it all for the glory of God covers a lot of ground, and that includes how we take care of ourselves.
I now realize that I can’t just get healthier for my own selfish reasons. I should want to do it for my heavenly father.
I should (and do) feel ashamed for all those times I looked into the faces of those I care for as an NP, encouraging them to do their best, all the while putting little to no effort into caring for myself. I count my blessings often for the health I’ve been afforded. So many in this world cannot physically enjoy exercise. They cannot financially afford healthy food for themselves and their families. I need to practice what I preach, and stop taking for granted my blessings.
So, I end this post with a note of hope and positivity for all you doubters out there. We should do this, and we can do this.