Thursday, January 5, 2012

Skinny Doesn't Equal Healthy and Nice Doesn't Equal Jesus

Before I get into this, I should state my disclaimer that I am no expert whatsoever on health or working out or anything along those lines (or really anything at all for that matter ;-)), so feel free to ignore and roll your eyes at any portion of this you disagree with. I'm mostly just "thinkin' out loud."

Several years ago I had an epiphany of sorts, which I'm sure had a lot more to do with the Gospel than with my ability to actually figure this out on my own. Since I grew up on the chubby side for most of my childhood, I spent many years insanely jealous of people who didn't struggle with that particular issue. It just "wasn't fair" that they could eat whatever they wanted and then lay around and do nothing and never gain any weight. No fair! No Fair! NO FAIR!

But what I came to realize as an adult is that this reality led me to get a handle on my health pretty early in life. This is not to say that I'm a health nut or obsessive about workouts or anything like that. I'm not. I don't treat my body like a science experiment or work out 20 hours a week. But I do try to take care of myself, because my body is a constant reminder that I *need* to. To explain: I'm not necessarily proud of this, but I'm almost certain that if I were naturally thin, I would eat carbs and chocolate all day every day. Literally. Also, I'm pretty sure working out wouldn't be a super high priority. And in that scenario, my guess is that I might stay thin, but that certainly doesn't mean I would be healthy with that kind of behavior. This is why I've learned to be grateful for the way God made me. He knows my tendencies, so I can't help but see this body as an act of love from Him. He gave me a very physical reminder that if I don't take care of myself, bad things will happen. I'm grateful for this because I understand that skinny does not necessarily equal healthy. Thin people can have just as many hidden health concerns as people who are carrying extra weight. And everyone (at least in my opinion) should put forth *some* effort to take care of the one and only earthly temple God gave them regardless of their current size/weight. What's inside our bodies and out of sight needs attention no matter what we look like on the outside. We need to drink water to protect our kidneys, do cardio work to keep our hearts in good shape, eat lean proteins to keep our muscles strong, etc. If I were effortlessly thin, I fear that I would ignore this truth.

And this is how my constantly multi-tasking (or some might say scattered. . . .) brain works---  As I was thinking through this whole situation, it made me wonder if many of us don't treat our spiritual lives similarly. What I mean is that many of us don't necessarily have glaringly obvious sins hanging off of us as soon as we wake up in the morning. We might look pretty "skinny" to an outsider. We're not itching to go murder someone. We don't struggle with an overt addiction. We're not screaming profanities at our parents or breaking into a neighbor's house or area retail establishment to steal what isn't ours. And since it seems like everything is pretty much "fine" for the most part, maybe we don't see an immediate need to exercise our faith, by which I mean pray, dig into scripture, read helpful literature, dialog with other believers, etc. 

Dangerous. Why? Because even if there is no physical evidence of our spiritual sickness, we all need to give attention to what's inside our hearts. We ALL struggle with hidden sins. The Bible tells us so. We all entertain thoughts that aren't pleasing to Christ. We all toy with temptations sometimes far longer than we should. We all struggle to truly *be* the fruits of the spirit. Many of us can put on a pretty good act for our viewers, but our insidest insides can be fatally diseased even while we smile and "be nice" to everyone and maybe even talk about Jesus. This is no more healthy than a thin person with blocked arteries, blackened lungs, or inflamed kidneys. It is a certain path to death. Spiritual exercise and healthy consumption of Scripture is critical to spiritual health just as physical exercise and healthy eating/drinking is critical to physical health. Certainly the routine and specific behavior can vary greatly from person to person, but it shouldn't be altogether absent if we expect to be healthy. It takes work on a regular basis. Not a couple times in January each year. ;-) But all year long every year. 

And that's all I have to say about that. . . .  ;-)

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