Wednesday, March 6, 2013

{Faith and Fitness}: What Drives You?

As I sat down and wrote this the Lord really tugged at my heart. I have struggled with this truth for a while and yet this is the first time I can say that I rejoice in the struggle. I rejoice because I know that my God meets me in this struggle and tells me that "I am His" and that "I am made in His image" and it calms my soul and stills my anxious heart. So with that said, I share with you what has been driving me and so many others around me and the promises and the truths that are so much better and more powerful than the lies the world tells us.

Today as I read through "Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren the question came up as to what drives us? To start, the word drive means to "control, or direct". So what are we trying to control, what are we trying to direct?  What is controlling us, what is directing us? As a girl especially, I know that we are often driven to look and act a certain way by what we see in the magazines, the ads on TV and HUGE signs that drape the billboards on the side of the road. It is all around us. To be the "perfect" size, the "perfect" age, to have that "perfect" look, the world is always calling to us to be these things but we must stop and sit still and remember one thing... Who we ARE is His.  We are PERFECTLY made by a Creator who DOES NOT make mistakes. Trying to live up to these things is a crazy trap because yes we may get to the "perfect" size but often at the expense of solid nutrition and what is truly healthy for our bodies. A size 4  that comes from watching your calories like a hawk and focusing all your time and mental, physical and spiritual energy into eating only what fits into your designed caloric intake can be detrimental. Now please do not hear me say that its bad to count calories or that we shouldn't be aware of what we put into our bodies. If you know me at all you know I am a huge advocate for healthy living both physically and spiritually.  What I am saying is that when you become anxious over what you eat and cut out calories just because of the number assigned and don't look at the nutritional value of a food then it has become an idol. I can say this because I have struggled with this. I have seen what is on my plate and thought, "okay, so if I eat this but not this then Im good and can stick with my goal to "look" a certain way. It started to take over my life and when I finally stopped and looked around I saw that other things in my life were out of whack as well. It had become an idol that had clouded and even covered the face of the Lord from my eyes and my heart and it had to stop then and there. ( That is where Soul Fitness was birthed) So all that to say, yes , take care of what the Lord has given you because our bodies are not ours in the first place. By taking care of  our bodies it means knowing what you put in your body, what is best for your body and filling it with things that will allow you to serve the Lord, your family and others the way we have been called to. Not eating a certain amount of food to look a certain way so you can live up to the world's view of perfect is not what we have been called to.  Because here is a little hint. The ideas of "perfect" or "beautiful" always changes in the world's eyes. 40 years ago there were ads selling products to help women gain weight. Marilyn Monroe was seen as beautiful at a size 12. Now people would be telling her constantly she needs to diet and fit into the mold of the waif thin models to be "beautiful". But wait..... we are all beautiful, yes, even the guys. For we are made perfect with the Masters touch. "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!" (Psalm 139:16) " I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born" ( Isaiah 44:2a  CEV) God chose every single part of who we are. From our eye color, to our race to the color of our skin, even the color of our hair. He wove into each of us our personality and traits and talents or gifts that are unique to each one of us, to be used to glorify Him. "You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something." (Psalm 139:15, The Message).  So if the God who  creates with such precision and detail into who he PURPOSEFULLY made us to be, why do we settle for what others thing or allow other things to drive us to attain goals that are set by other sinful and broken people?  We are made by the original, the blameless, Holy, perfect Creator and our beautify will never change and He will always long for and love his children, the way they are, made perfectly by Him. So what drives you? What are you trying to attain or control? Strive for the Lord, seek His face and His kingdom and it all falls into place. See your beauty not in the mirror of the world but in the face of the one who created you.

Practical Ways to apply this on a daily basis: 
1. Write down and post Psalm 139 and Isaiah 44  on your mirror and read it every morning 
2. Pray that the Lord would open your eyes to see yourself and others as He sees them. 
3. Be aware and proactive in taking care of yourself. Do not deprive yourself or over indulge. Through prayer ask the Lord where you need help in each area. 
4. Realize that food and being active are both things CREATED by our God. Remember to worship the Creator, not the creation. 
5. Meditate on the Word of God during the day. When your mind begins to wander to images or stories and you begin to compare yourself with others ask him to draw you back and let him love on you :) 

Go here to see the previous posts in the {Faith and Fitness} series.

About the Author: Lauren Barksdale is the founder of Soul Fitness. She has a BA and Masters in Kinesiology from Dallas Baptist University . She coached volleyball at Birdville High School in North Richland Hills for the last 5 years. In college she played volleyball for Baylor's club team and at Dallas Baptist University. She has been married to Ben Barksdale for 5 years and has two children; Evie Grace who is 3 and Hudson who is 10 months old. Lauren has a passion for health and fitness and incorporating that into everyday life as a Christ follower

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