Workout Thoughts

You can, and should, love your body as it is. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask it for more.

You can love how you look, and still want to look better (whatever that means to you).

You can love how fast you can run and still want to run faster.

You can love how strong you are and still want to be stronger.

You can tell God “thank you” for your body, and prove your gratitude by caring for it, therefore improving it, in one way or another. But don’t wait until you think you look better or until you can run faster or until you’re stronger to love your body.

The shame that results from not loving your body as it is is so crazy to me. And I don’t mean that I’ve never felt it. I mean that whenever I have felt that way, I feel like I’m Cady in that part of Mean Girls where she goes to the Halloween party dressed for, oh I don’t know, a Halloween party, and finds out she was supposed to dress like she’d just sprung from the pages of a Victoria’s Secret catalogue. When that shame hits, I feel like I don’t look how I’m supposed to look.

But that’s crazy right?! The idea that the way your body looks can make you feel that “I shouldn’t have worn/brought/said/done this” feeling. That embarrassment, self-doubt, insecurity. Whenever you feel that, remember, that’s God’s daughter you’re talking about. Show her some respect. Give her some grace. She is fearfully and wonderfully made.

Girl, you will be a work in progress your whole life. You can’t wait to be happy with yourself until you’re “done.” You’ll never be done. You need to love yourself now. As you are. And the changes that you make on yourself, inside and out, have to come from that place of love. If you try to shame yourself into changing something, it actually might motivate you (for all the wrong reasons), but here’s the thing. When you’ve made that change, you won’t be happy. You won’t be at peace. You won’t love yourself then if you don’t love yourself now.

When you do try to change yourself, whether it’s your thought patterns, or diet, or workout habits, do it because you love yourself enough to know you can do better. If your motivation comes from anywhere else, you’re not improving yourself.

You’re punishing yourself.

And if you know that God has forgiven you and isn’t going to punish you for lying or gossiping or mouthing off to your parents in your teenage years (sorry, Mom and Dad) or whatever else you might have done, then girl, why do you think you need to punish yourself for eating a dang cupcake?!

If you set yourself back on a goal, forgive yourself, and do better next time. Have reasonable expectations for yourself. This is my biggest struggle. But feeling guilty about a bad choice has only ever made me feel shame, and that’s not the right mindset for lasting change. Know yourself as God made you to be, and love yourself enough to be the best version of yourself possible.

1 Corinthians 10:31

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

I chose this verse to conclude this series on loving your body because it highlights and simplifies the most important thing: “whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

What’s your motivation? What’s your reason for eating healthy? For exercising? Is it to glorify God through the use and care of your body, or is it to glorify you through the appearance of your body? Listen sis, if that question hits hard, and you feel like you’ve cared too much about how you look, and your first reaction was guilt, I want to free you from that.

We live in a culture that encourages women to feel ashamed and guilty about their appearance. We live in a culture that teaches women that their entire value is wrapped up in how they look. There are a lot of reasons for that and some of them will lead me down a path of feminist ranting and while I think I should provide that here sometimes, let me start with probably the least controversial explanation: when we feel insecure, we look for a solution. Then a cosmetics company, for example, offers that solution and takes our money. (Btw, I love makeup and I’m not saying that beauty products themselves are the problem! But I think it’s worth examining why we use them and how we feel if we don’t.)

I could say a lot more about this, but to stick to my main point, it isn’t your fault if you’ve been feeling insecure and tried to improve your insecurities by changing your appearance. It’s literally what we’re taught to do as women. But that’s so far from where God wants us to be.

We’ve learned to turn to ourselves and to our culture to find our confidence. But here’s the problem: if you learn to judge and criticize yourself that harshly, you aren’t going to magically be free from it when you hit a certain weight, or when a certain pant size fits. You’ll just find something new to judge yourself for.

I’m learning that we as women will only feel truly free from our insecurities when we view ourselves the way that God sees us.

I’m still learning exactly what that looks like. But I know He doesn’t care about my jean size. I know He wouldn’t love me more if I weighed less. I know that if I do everything for His glory, He’ll watch me and say, “well done,” and I want that more than I want compliments from the world.

Thank you for sticking with me on this series! Please drop a comment below to let me know how this spoke to you, or if there’s something else you’d like to see covered! I’ll see you back here soon.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

“You are not your own.” People don’t like to hear that. I think the connotation culturally is oppression, but this is the opposite. If your view of yourself is that you are not your own because you were bought by Jesus on the cross, then you know that that, my dear, is the only true freedom. Jesus died for us to free us from sin and shame. You can never earn that, but that doesn’t release you from the responsibility to do your best with what you were given.

That’s right. I said responsibility. We have answer to God for the way we treat others but also for the way we treat ourselves. And when it comes to your body, it isn’t just you. Remember how I started this whole thing saying your body is your house? Well you aren’t the only one who lives there. The Holy Spirit is your roommate and nothing you do to your house is unnoticed by the one who lives there with you.

Your body was gifted to you and it was not cheap. It wasn’t regifted. It wasn’t bought from the clearance rack. It was designed specifically for you by the same God that built this beautiful planet we get to live on and you are even more beautiful in the eyes of God.

When God gives you a gift, He expects you to use it for His glory and ultimately give it back to Him. That’s why we’re to tithe the first 10 percent of our income. But you can do that with your body and your life too. What do you want to do with what God has given you? How do you want to honor Him with it? What do you feel God putting on your heart with this message? What are you going to do better?

Drop a comment below to tell me how you could better use your body for God’s glory! And as always, feel free to get social with me on Instagram, @torigwrites. I look forward to hearing from you!

Ephesians 5:29-30

“After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body.”

Now, some of you that know this chapter of Ephesians really well have probably already started thinking, now that verse isn’t really about self-care or exercise – it’s about the relationship between a husband and wife – so you’re taking it out of context and …

Settle down, Karen. 

Yes, that is where Paul is writing about Christian households and the marriage relationship. He’s been through the “wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do the Lord” (which, by the way, does not mean do whatever they tell you to do, but we’ll address that another time) and has moved on to “husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy….”

So, in this verse, feeding and caring for your body is a metaphor for the way that Christ cared for the church, which is a metaphor for the way that husbands are to care for their wives. There’s a bit of a breadcrumb trail to follow, but I think they’re easy dots to connect. There are a couple important points to make here:

We are to care for our bodies the way that Christ did for the church. To reiterate, that means to give yourself up to make it holy. Now, I think moderation is important, so I’m not saying if you’re eating anything but green smoothies you’re disobeying. Sometimes they serve cake at church. Jesus made bread and wine. But if you’re starving yourself to achieve an aesthetic, that’s not God’s plan for your body. (No, intermittent fasting doesn’t count as starving yourself.) If you’re drinking to excess, that isn’t God’s plan for your body. If you don’t do any type of exercise at all, that’s not God’s plan for your body. See my point?

We are to care for our bodies the way that we care for our spouses. Read that again, ladies. Women especially tend to care for others first and put ourselves last on our own lists. It seems selfless, right? Except that when you do this, you diminish your ability to care for others. Not getting enough sleep? Not nourishing your body with food that’s good for it? Not moving your body in a way that feels soothing, healing, challenging, or however you like your workouts to feel? Then how are you doing for your spouse, kids, friends, coworkers? You need to give to yourself the way that you want to give to them, or you won’t be able to.

And if that’s not enough, I included verse 30, “for we are members of his body” to remind you that we are all part of the body of Christ. When you think of it like that, like your body helps make up His, how does that make you want to care for it?

Thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned for more Biblical inspiration for self-care! Feel free to drop a comment below, use the Contact Me page, or DM me on Instagram @torigwrites.

Romans 12:1

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” (NIV)

Your body was gifted to you. You received it from your Father who loves you and the true and proper worship of that Father is respecting the home he gave you to live in.

Girl. I wish I had read this before lunch. I got ice cream.

None of us are perfect at this. The point is that you change your mindset, change your view of your body to one of gratitude. God gave us bodies to live in that we’re supposed to use to worship Him and essentially give back to Him in that way. So, how? What does it look like to offer your body as a living sacrifice?

The most important thing is to think of God first. Think of His plans and desires for you before you do what you want. His plan is better right? He wants you to have a healthy body and mind. It’s important that those go together because you can work out every day and eat all the kale but if you do exercises you hate just to watch the number on the scale get smaller, how’s your mind doing?

So care for your body in ways that feel right to it, remembering that it belongs to God and that you’re to use it to glorify Him. If you run to see how far God will take you, excellent. If you lift so God can show you how strong you are, wonderful. If you walk around your neighborhood to take in the beauty of the world He created for us, amazing.

Same thing with food: don’t use healthy food to punish yourself for not making it to the gym or unhealthy food to reward yourself for running an extra lap. (Note: There is a difference between balancing your habits and punishing yourself!) Find healthier foods you like, but let yourself have a treat sometimes. I think we’re built to be happier this way. We’re built to sacrifice because we’re created in the image of the one who sacrificed everything.

Got a suggestion for a verse in this series? Comment below, use the contact me page, or DM me on Instagram, @torigwrites

Thanks for stopping by!

Don’t be Mad at Your House

Do you remember that scene in A Christmas Story where Ralph opens the bunny suit his grandmother (or aunt or someone) had made him and he really didn’t like it but his mother made him put it on because it took a lot of effort to make it?

So putting aside the fact that no young boy hoping for a BB gun would probably want to put those bunny PJs on, and that his attitude about it stunk but was great for comedy, his mother was right, right? When someone gives you something, don’t you say “thank you?”

So then why do you treat your body differently? Your body is the house God gave your soul to live in for your time on Earth, and our Western culture spends most of its time telling women their amazing, beautiful bodies are like those bunny suits. As a result, so many women go through so much of their lives mad at their bodies, dieting and crunching and starving and sucking in to achieve some aesthetic that society tells them they need.

Your body will tell you what kind of care it needs, so don’t push it to do things you don’t even enjoy to look a certain way. Concentrate on how you feel and what you can do. Allow yourself to love your body for what it’s capable of, whether that’s running a marathon, carrying and feeding your babies, achieving crazy yoga poses, bouncing your grand baby on your knee, or hiking up a mountain. Appreciate where your body has carried you. Love it for who gave it to you. And treat it well.

This is the introduction to a series I’m starting on verses for loving your body. Stay tuned for counter-cultural inspiration straight from God’s Word! And if you have a suggestion for a verse you want to see discussed in this series, leave a comment on this post, reach out via the “contact me” page, or slide into my DMs on Instagram, @torigwrites.