Wednesday, June 13, 2012

God's Body?

·      *  This is kinda long! 

Do you think you’re a good steward of the things God has given you? 
Like your money?

Your children? 

Your talents? 

You try to take care of those things right? Do what you think God wants you to do with them right? Spend wisely. Raise your children to love the Lord and love others. Use your talents to glorify God, even bring people to Him. Sure. Of course.

So what about your body? Is that a gift from God too? Something for you to take care of? Or is it just what you got, and what can you do about it? It doesn’t matter how we treat it? Or is it something you feel is a gift, the same way your children are a gift. 

Something you should make the most of? 

Something to be cared for and honored and used to glorify God? 

Psalm 139:14
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

I encourage you to let this verse help you frame your thoughts about your health.  If we are fearfully and wonderfully made, then how are we to treat our bodies?

Our bodies are a gift from God. We should be taking care of it.

In our society – it’s not “polite” to talk about someone’s weight. It’s not considered proper to call folks out on their eating habits, and this seems to be especially true in the church. Why is that? Is it just simply because someone “cannot help it?” or because someone is “sensitive” about their body? I don’t think those are good reasons to let someone continue down an unhealthy path. You read my earlier post about health issues. Being overweight comes with a whole host of health issues! 

We have support groups for those who struggle with addictions – drinking, drugs, and even sexual issues. And we would NEVER ever throw a church party that had people drinking themselves silly, or doing drugs. We would never open up our computer and share a web site that had inappropriate sexual content with someone struggling with those addictions.

But those things don’t hold true when it comes to food. No one talks about eating issues in church. But on a regular basis the church has bake sales, hotdog sale, pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners,  dessert receptions for newcomers, new members, newly baptized folks, and endless potlucks and picnics that are all opportunities for us to over eat and eat bad for us food, all in the name of celebration and fellowship! Why are we doing that to ourselves?

Eating too much can be an addiction, just like a drug addiction. The church reaches out (there are some wonderful support groups at many churches!)  to help those folks. But I think because we don’t treat over-eating as an addiction, the church, in general – does not offer - or offers very little in the way of help and support for those who struggle with eating addictions. 

Before I started my journey of eating better and losing weight, I never would have said I had any type of addiction to food. 

Yes, I liked to eat. Who doesn’t?!? 

And yes, I was pregnant twice and gained a bunch of weight - cause I ate whatever I wanted! Who doesn’t? 

And really sweets weren’t my issue (carbs and sauces and dips oh my, were my problem (still are sometimes)) – so what was the big deal? The problem was I was eating out of control and eating for other reasons that had nothing to do with being hungry.

Instead -  

I ate when I was stressed. 

I ate when the kids were fussy.

I ate when we had play dates – cause what’s more fun than eating with friends? 

I ate when we went out (which was a LOT)! 

I ate when I was board, and watching TV.
I ate because it was fun. 

I ate because it was yummy food  and made me happy. 

To me that didn’t seem like addictive behavior. BUT…

...when I started making changes in my lifestyle – and that’s what it has to be, none of this “I’m dieting” stuff, lifestyle is the only way to make lasting changes – I realized what I was eating, and how much of it, and why, and how it was really making me feel (which turned out to be not so happy in the long run)! 

Did you know the Bible addresses overeating?  If you are at all familiar with the story of the Israelites in the dessert with Moses, you’ll know that when it came to food, they got mighty upset about not having enough to eat. They were afraid they would starve. They even told Moses that back in Egypt they had plenty of food, all they could want or hope to eat. But despite all their complaining God provided them with what they needed.
But the Word doesn’t say that God sent them yummy snacks 3 times a day in addition to their needed meals. Or that when one of them got really stressed out because their children were being really horrible (ok, so that would have been me, maybe none of the Hebrew women were like that, I don’t know!) that God felt bad for them and sent them a bag of Doritos to help them feel better.  Or that after every meal He sent them something sweet! 


Didn’t happen. 

God sent them what they needed for the day. They were told to take just what they needed and (according to Exodus 16:21) after they had gathered what the needed for the day, and the sun got warm, the manna melted away. And the next day, God sent just what they needed. 

Part of the problem for us today, is that we have unending access to foods. All types of foods. And many, many of these foods are processed beyond belief and full of additives and preservatives and salt and fat and sugar and all things bad for you (which by the way are some of the things that make them taste so good!). So instead of eating what we need for the day, we eat whatever and whenever and for any reason  we want. And it makes us fat. 

I think eating issues are really hard, cause let’s face it; we have to eat to live. So a person who’s a recovering alcoholic can stay away from bars or parties where drinks are being served (please don’t misread me here, I’m not downplaying an addiction to alcohol or any other addiction for that matter).

Everyone needs to eat. 

Each. And. Every. Day.

3 times a day! 

Sometimes more. 

So we are constantly around food.  We have to learn how to change our lifestyle and eating habits. Do some reading. There’s lots of material out there. The internet is full of information (just be sure that you’re reading information from a reliable source, cause there’s lots of crazy information out there too!) We need learn how to exercise and take care of ourselves so we can be healthier and honestly, happier.  I really think this is an area where the church could do more to help those with these types of needs.  

For example…

I have a membership to a gym that operates out of the same building as a church. It’s totally cool. You can click this link to see a news clip that one of our local stations did about The Family Life Center a couple of weeks ago. I think it’s great that a church is supporting and encouraging not only the church members to be healthier, but it’s opening its doors to the community to meet a HUGE (no pun intended!)  need. It’s a ministry. It offers a place to exercise in a friendly, non-threatening environment where your health, wellness and actual person are being cared for by the instructors and the other gym members. It’s cool to exercise at a place that puts God first, a place where people really care about each other. Before or after each group exercise class the class is asked (there’s no pressure to if your uncomfortable with it) to recite this “strength prayer”:

“My body does not belong to me. It is a temple intended for the Holy Spirit to dwell within. I train this body so that I will be a better witness for Christ. I will glorify God in my body and in my spirit. I will not take my eyes off my goal. I will Succeed.” 
That’s good stuff right there. 

This is also a great book - Made To Crave by LisaTerKeurst. Really, really good book! It helped me to get a different perspective on eating right, and keeping my heart and mind on God.  She also has one out now for younger girls. I’d encourage you to get one for you and one for your teen girl or any girl that you love.  There’s a whole web site (click the made to crave link above) set up to provide you with all you’ll need to make the most out of this read!

Then just last week Time Magazine printed a really amazing article about Rick Warren (you know, pastor at Saddleback and author of The PurposeDriven Life.) and his church and what they are doing to get healthy. If you have access to a copy of the magazine, you need to check it out. You can go online to Time’s web site, but you cannot read the full article unless you have a subscription to the site.  The program that they developed is based on the book of Daniel. I love that a church has launched a program to helps it’s congregation get educated and healthy. I love it! 

OK – I’ll leave you with this last thought... I don’t think we were created to be overweight and sick. We just weren’t! I also don’t think we were all created to be 6 feet tall and be 100 pounds, but I think we were made to be healthy and active and in pursuit of a deeper relationship with Jesus, and I would love to see and be part of “the church” getting behind that same idea!  

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