“I am who you say I am…”
These words are lyrics by Hillsong Worship. I can’t make it through this song without crying. Mostly, because I’m in awe of who God says I am, but also because I can’t recall a time in my life that I let God define me and not this world. I’ve always allowed others or circumstance to define me. It’s so easy to judge ourselves or someone else in a moment of time and forget about the depth of the whole person, isn’t it?
I’ve always had a large desire to help people feel good about themselves, probably because of my continued negative self-talk. I couldn’t fix me but maybe I could help other people not feel miserable. Those that can’t do, coach, right?
So, that’s the career path I chose – I set out to help others as a wellness professional and personal trainer. I believed that if you love your physical body all the rest of your life will fall in place. Boy, was I WRONG!
I left the personal training world feeling more awful about myself then when I started, even though I was in the best shape of my life. There was an emptiness I couldn’t quite explain. The belief that “a sexy physique equals a perfect life” was unveiled as the lie it really was. How could I continue working in this career if my entire belief system no longer worked? But leaving the fitness world is what started my journey back to healing the WHOLE person. My love and passion for health, fitness, wholeness, wellness, and helping women be whole and healthy reignited with more fire than I started with and I am in a lot healthier place than before. (even though I am far from arrived)
Our Siloed Life
How is it that we think that our life can be siloed into different areas that are completely unconnected. Physical health has nothing to do with spiritual health? (lie alert!)
Have you ever felt like a pinball trying to figure out what the latest and best eating plan and lifestyle are? My step-daughter mentioned how weird it is that fidget spinners were a must-have, but now no one cares about them. Or, How everyone had to do the floss dance to be cool, now you’re not cool if you do the dance. In a matter of months, things go from the most popular to being ‘so dumb’ to put it in her words.
I think that the wellness world works like that. We discover what worked for one person, doesn’t work for all, so its quickly abandoned and a new thing takes its place. Each time we jump in without taking the time to learn our body’s unique needs. Probably because so many of us don’t know where to start (that’s where someone like me would come in and help you learn you).
With a bachelors in health and wellness, I knew that the whole person equals a healthy person, but I, too, approached life with a siloed mindset. Personally, thinking that my worth and life success was determined by my weight caused me to obsess over everything I ate and how many calories I burned every day. Talk about stressful! sheesh!
Chasing after a physical anything, leaves us feeling empty. It doesn’t take long for us to learn that our health is bigger than just what we eat and how much we exercise – if you’ve ever had a goal weight and hit it – you know that there is no celebration in it, it’s just a longing for more.
So, finally, I decided to let God into my ‘diet’ and weight. Over the last year, God has transformed and still is working to transform my view of my body, my obsessive food tracking, and thoughts to renew me and see myself as he does. So I can believe I am who he says I am.
I have found the foods that fuel my body, the level of exercise I need and am healing my body with food so that my hormones are more balanced, my mood is level and my energy is increasing. Each area of our life directly impacts other areas. Most importantly though, bringing God into each area of your life (career, physical, emotional, social, intellectual, environmental) will make you whole and healthy.
Don’t you realize that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?… 1 Corinthians 6:19
It’s so easy, and fully supported by our culture, to take one part of our being and worshipping it (body, mind, emotions…) instead of looking at ourselves as a whole person who bears the image of God.
How fulfilled and joyful do you feel when you’re chasing after the number on a scale or the numbers within your food tracker? I’ve chased these things and still have to fight to not let them consume me because I am more than my physical body.
In the last year or so, on my journey with the LORD to heal my body image issues and my relationship with food, I’ve been wanting to take this to other women. I didn’t know how to explain or link it up to biblical truth and set a platform for what I stand for.. That was until I read these words in “Doctrine – What Christians Should Believe” by Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears:
“We must minister to people physically by considering their health, diet and exercise, emotionally with love and compassion, intellectually by answering their questions biblically, volitionally by appealing to their will for obedience, familially by dealing with issues related to their family of origin and current family dynamics, as well as socially by dealing with the social network and interpersonal relationships both in and out of church … This is all necessary because the aspects of our being are not isolated but instead impinged upon and affect one another because we are whole persons.”
Bam, spiritual truth and an anchored platform. We are whole persons, full image bearers of God in our physical, emotional, social, intellectual…. parts. When doubt rises up about our worth, when we get stuck making food tracking and weight goals our idols – remember your God, the one who deserves the worship and the one that made you worth so much more than your physical body, so much more than your number of friendships… And start to look at yourself as a whole person bearing God’s image to the world.
A friend of mine and I have something we remind ourselves of when doubts and insecurities creep in – we ask “who told you that?” too often we believe things that others tell us, we believe what our culture says, what our internal doubts and fears tell us – yet, rarely do we believe what our Heavenly Father says about us. So we know that when we say “who told you that?” it’s a reminder to anchor our thoughts in truth – the only truth, which is: We are loved, accepted and Whole persons that bearer the image of a beautiful God.