I think it's safe to say that all of you reading this know that exercise is important and beneficial. You understand, generally speaking, that eating healthy food is also good for you. And drinking water. And sleeping well. Maybe you even discuss at length with friends, family members, neighbors or co-workers what the latest exercise trends are and what "diets" you've tried. Someone told you what works for her and shared her results. And you were motivated by those results to start the same exercise plan or healthier eating regime. The biggest motivator in my line of work is results. Seeing those results is also the biggest exercise retention tool. You are more likely to stick with your plan if you see results. Nothing pushes you along more than progress. The whole process seems a bit more gratifying when the progress is evident. You see quantifiable proof of your hard work, sacrifice and effort. It's satisfying. It's rewarding. It's empowering. It's definitely motivating.
But it's also selfish.
Believe me, that was as hard to type for me as it was for you to read. But it's the truth.
I Corinthians 6:19b You are not your own.
Loosely translated, this means it is not about you. It is not about your goals or even your results. It's about your attitude and your willingness to do everything for God; to allow the Spirit that is in you to fully live.
I was reminded of this recently when a good friend of mine broke her leg at her ankle joint. Exercise is as much a part of her life as it is mine. As a matter of fact, she broke her leg while out on her routine 5:00am run. And to such a degree that it required almost immediate surgery. The results of her hard work and dedication, prior to the break were evident. She was gaining strength and increasing her running distance and speed while training for her next marathon. She was making progress following the process.
What God has taught me through my friend is that if it is results that drive you, you will be disappointed and left feeling inadequate and empty every single attempt. Progress is not enough of a reason to keep going. My friend never uttered "why me, why now". She never lashed out in anger. She didn't wallow in her tears. Nor has she stopped serving God with her daily choices just because her results are halted and her progress won't be measured for months. Instead she has said "I will praise Him in this storm".
I had to step back and think, would I be just as willing to honor God and still serve Him with my daily choices if I were stripped of something I love so much? Then I had to question, do I love the process and the results MORE than I love my God and His will for me?
Am I motivated to exercise, eat healthy, drink plenty of water, sleep enough, manage my stress, and take care of my body because that's honoring God? Or is it because that's honoring the process and anticipating results?
Do I expect results from my effort? Do I only strive to serve my body because it will prove effective?
Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers labor in vain.
When it comes to exercise and making healthier choices, we are almost always rewarded with results. God allows us to reap the benefits of our labor and has designed our body to work for us and not against us.
On whatever side of the healthy spectrum you fall, whether it be you are not adhering to any healthy lifestyle practices and, or you are too self-focused; too intense; too strict; even obsessed. Both of these scenarios are rooted in ill intentions and self motivations and might I suggest you check yourself at the door. This body you are in is not your own. He has the power and authority to do with it what He wants, when, and for reasons you may never understand. But He is God. He is Lord. He is your creator. He is love.
Surrender your whole self to Him. Not just your work self, or your ministry self, or your mom self, or your wife self, or your friend self. But your entire self. This same self who thinks that she deserves that promotion because of her hard work. This same self that expects the scale to go down and reflect the intense exercise she's slaved through. This same self who sits and indulges too much in one too many glasses of wine or m&m's after a long day with strong-willed children. This same self who irrationally spends unearned money on something she feels she deserves because how often is it that she shops for herself anyway? Surrender that silly, sinful, selfish logic to Jesus.
Allow Him to work in you what only He is capable of.
Progress or no progress. Don't stop honoring Him with your daily choices.
Results or no results.
Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
Redemption is already a given.