Five o’clock in the morning comes early for anyone. But for Sally, a mother of three, it sometimes feels like a two-by-four has been placed on her forehead, pushing her back down into her soft feather pillow. Yet when the alarm rings, resisting the urge to stay in bed, she slowly rolls over, placing one foot on the floor and then another, struggling to find her workout clothes in the dark. She knows that if she doesn’t do it now it will never get done. So Sally heads to the living room, eyes half-shut, and begins her routine: read the Word, pray, do a 30-minute workout.
Sally has set a new goal for herself: to work out every day. Week one went by and was smooth sailing. Week two came and went, and she finally began to feel like she had a solid routine. But by week three, the scale got the best of her. Sally had bought into the world’s promise of quick fixes and ideal beauty. She started to feel discouraged because, though her energy and stamina were increasing, her weight had only slightly changed. After all that work! Frustrated and discouraged, Sally began to think of alternatives.
She thought about a popular new diet she heard about from a friend that guaranteed a loss of 10 pounds in one week. She tried it and lost some weight (but not quite the promised 10 pounds). Eventually, though, her enthusiasm for the diet’s restrictions waned. Once off the diet, Sally quickly gained all the weight back.
Frustrated once again, Sally decided to take a different approach. She went to a trusted friend for help.
“Are you doing this to be healthy or because you want to be skinny?” her friend asked.
Sally knew that she had to answer honestly.
“I want to be skinny,” Sally replied.
Her friend gently said, “Perhaps that’s the problem. If you go about this with a desire to be healthy and glorify the Lord with your body, you will be satisfied. Not necessarily satisfied in yourself or how you look, but satisfied in God.”
Find Your Purpose
Many of us can relate to Sally’s story. Magazine covers give us a picture of the ideal woman that can only truly be achieved through Photoshop. And then there’s all of the quick fix “solutions” that are found in bookstores and on the Internet. Television and movies proclaim that beauty is defined by our outward appearance. So where do we start?
If we know it’s not all about pursuing a cultural “ideal” that God didn’t create us for, we need to find a deeper motivation for pursuing exercise. So what did God create us for? God created us for worship—for himself. We see just a glimpse of this in Psalm 100:3: “Acknowledge that the LORD is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” We are his! We are God’s creation (Ephesians 2:10). Each intricately designed cell, every single strand of hair, everything—designed by God (Matthew 10:30) and made for his glory (Isaiah 43:7).
For Further StudyDownloadable resources to go deeper
- Carolyn Custis James: What It Means to Be a Woman in MinistryeBook Format Available! Author and speaker Carolyn Custis James offers leadership insights for women.