In the area of fitness and health, it’s easy so easy to feel “not enough”. This feeling can come from outside influences (social media, magazines, even people around us), but I think more often than not, this feeling of lack comes from within. Why are we so rude to ourselves? I’m pretty sure I would never speak to someone with as much disdain as I find myself doing to myself.
There was a fitness movement a few years back that had a controversial entrance into the exercise universe. It revolved around a mom who had several children and had created a program that could be worked at home, at a park, even in a mall. Her mission was to take away excuses. I don’t have time (the workouts were short); I have kids (kids were welcome and often even integrated into the workout); I can’t afford a gym membership (these could be completed literally anywhere). I actually liked her message, but I found that to many, this idea of “no excuses” could come across as shaming. “Why haven’t YOU gotten back in you skinny jeans after that baby? There’s NO excuse!” I’m pretty sure the heart of this fitness guru’s program wasn’t to shame people into action, but nevertheless, I think this is how it may have been received by many. The creator has since backed off of this “no excuse” mantra, but one doesn’t have to look far to find shame disguised as motivation. Walk through any grocery store check-out lane, get on Instagram, go to the gym – it’s easy to find that stinking shame.
I had an experience a few years ago that truly changed my life and awakened me to the self-shaming and body-loathing I had been doing…at times without even realizing it. I was at a REFIT® certification morning, doing our morning workout. I was already an instructor, but we have the opportunity to “re-train” annually. We were in a fitness room with mirrors across the front of the room. I soon found myself comparing my body to that of those around me. The REFIT® founder leading us in our moves was “perfect” by my estimation, and there was no way I could ever look like that. Then, I heard the words “Shut up!” I’ve already admitted that I’m not always kind to myself, but telling myself this isn’t normal. I can’t say how I knew, but I KNEW that God was telling me this. He was getting my attention in the way that I needed. No, it wasn’t an audible thing (at least I’m pretty sure it wasn’t), I just knew that He had something to say to me. At that point, I heard, “I made this body that you are putting down. I’ve healed this body and grown EIGHT babies inside this tummy, and when you regard it with disdain, you’re doing it to ME.” Wow…with tears in my eyes, I continued to dance , but I had a new perspective. The CREATOR is pleased with His work. He’s not in the business of shaming us to change. He’s in the business of loving and drawing us into His vision for our lives.
I have a story… and I know you do too. This story has shaped who you are; Your likes and dislikes, why you do the things you do, maybe without even knowing it. I invite you to allow your Creator to show you areas where perhaps you have given shame and self-loathing priority over His voice. Allow Him to unfold the beauty of Your story, that’s only yours. Nobody else has the same set of circumstances, same “excuses”, same history. Instead of letting your story hold you back, allow it lift you up to the place He has for you.