I was never a star athlete growing up. Any athletic ability I possess I have earned with blood, sweat and tears. But as early as middle school, I instinctively knew it was important to exercise. When I was in 8th grade I started going on morning jogs. In high school I scheduled “treat days.” I would get up at 5:30 to get to the gym before school. I wouldn’t say that my behavior could be described as an eating/exercise disorder, but considering I wasn’t an athlete in the traditional sense, I was much more aware of my body than my peers.
A few months prior to my liver transplant, I was working with an organization called “YWAM”. We had been overseas so I had not been exercising. I felt really convicted that I was supposed to get back into shape. In case you don’t know – its a lot harder to get into shape than to get out of shape. But I struggled through it; it almost felt like a calling from God that I should get back into shape.
It was a good thing I did. After my transplant (Transplant), I was back exercising within a month. The doctors were amazed at my swift recovery. I heard over and over again that the reason I did so well after my surgery was because I was in such good shape.
After hearing that, as you can imagine, fitness was no longer just important – it became a passion. That passion eventually led to a job; I became a personal trainer. My favorite part of working with a new client was hearing their story, to hear about their “why?” “Why did you hire me as a personal trainer? What is motivating you to be more healthy?” Most of their answers sounded like this.
“I want to be able to run around with my kids….”
“I want to be around to see my grandchild get married…”
“I want more energy at work….”
“I want to feel more confident….”
There were a few exceptions, but overall the reason people came to work with me had little to do with how they looked in a swimsuit or how much weight they could lift or how high they could jump.
They wanted to be who God created them to be and to do what God called them to do.
I believe God asks us to take care of our bodies so that we can fully be who God created us to be and do what God is calling us to do.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says “… do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
When we choose to walk with Jesus, we welcome the Holy Spirit to come and take residence in our heart and mind. When we surrender our lives to Jesus and invite him to take over, we become his dwelling place. His temple. We become the vehicle through which The Spirit moves.
In life, if we do not fill our vehicles up with gas or oil or do not fix what is broken, our vehicle can only drive us so far. We may get half way, but we won’t make it to our destination.
We are asked to look at our body in the same light. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are the vehicles God has chosen to use to advance his kingdom. And if we don’t rest, properly fuel our bodies, exercise or prepare for the journey ahead – we won’t get to our final destination. We may get close, but we won’t be able to fully walk out the calling God set before us.
For me part of my calling is to be a mom. If I don’t get enough sleep, I have zero patience for my kids. I’m not able to walk out the fullness of that calling on my life.
Part of my calling is to write. If I don’t exercise I don’t have the energy or focus to write, I’m not able to walk out the fullness of that calling on my life.
Part of my calling is my community. If I don’t eat well, I don’t feel good and need to rest. I’m not able to fully invest in my relationships, I’m not able to walk out the fullness of that calling on my life.
I’m not here to give you specific tips or a new exercise routine. My challenge for us today is to simply shift the way we view our bodies. We are the dwelling place of the Lord on High. Repeat that again and again throughout your day. I bet if you started saying that each time you were eating or as you were deciding between the elliptical and the couch, you will start experiencing change.
You will be able to chase your son that “one more time”.
You will be front and center at your grand daughters wedding.
People will begin to ask at work where you get all your energy.
You will start radiating with confidence.
And when people ask how you do it…
You can say, I am the dwelling place of the Lord on High.
I was bought with a price.
So I am going to glorify God with my body.