Faith, Fat, & Fitness
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Faith, Fat, & Fitness

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I have gained seventy pounds since my 30th birthday.

Seventy. Pounds.

That doubled my pants size.

Literally.

After the first thirty or forty pounds, my doctor assured me it was normal for women in their thirties. Not that that made me feel any better.

In fact, the more weight I have gained, the more discontent I have become.

But since we are being honest, I have never in my life been on a diet… I don’t even own a scale (though I do own an elliptical that I love even if I don’t use it as much as I should – check out these treadmills if you’re looking for one of your own).

I have never been “skinny” but I’ve never really been overweight either… well, before now that is.

Now that I am officially, and completely, overweight, I’m not sure how to cope. There are enough diet options and exercise plans to drive a woman crazy. Worse yet, they often contradict one another.

Faith & Fitness

But what does the Bible have to say about the issue? How do our faith and our weight intersect?

There are enough Christian workout programs, diet books, etc. that you would think our weight would be pretty important to Jesus. Yet, the Bible is pretty silent on the subject. In fact, it’s never mentioned. Not even once.

When Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy, he said this: “For physical training is of some value, but godliness (spiritual training) is of value in everything and in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and for the life to come” (verse 8 AMP). He continued saying, “Practice and work hard on these things; be absorbed in them [completely occupied in your ministry], so that your progress will be evident to all” (verse 15 AMP). He wasn’t talking about being obsessed with our weight, or physical fitness, he was talking about being obsessed with Jesus.

In other words, our relationship with Jesus is far more important than the size of our jeans.

"Our relationship with Jesus is more important than the size of our jeans." Click To Tweet
My faith is more important than my weight

Distracted & Discontent

I think Satan has a field day when it comes to women and our weight. He knows it’s easy to use it to distract us from pressing hard into Jesus.

Satan knows that while working out isn’t fun, that we would rather spend our time working on our waistline than reading the Word of God.

And I’ll admit that he roped me in…

When I look in the mirror, I see an overweight woman instead of a daughter of the One True King.

Instead of seeing a woman saved by grace, I see a women who needs to try harder, be thinner, and eat better.

And every time I look in my mirror with disgust, Satan wins.

I can’t promise that this is the end of this particular battle for me, or that I’m reclaiming my reflection for God’s glory, but I can tell you that I am aware of Satan’s lies and ready for a change. And the first step towards change is realizing it needs to happen.

Jesus has called me to be content whatever my circumstances. That doesn’t mean I won’t pursue physical fitness or my health at all. It just means that I am going to make an effort to not let it consume me or distract me from seeking Jesus first. And I won’t let the shape of my body steal my identity that is secure in Christ alone.

“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
~ Matthew 6:33

Your Turn

Has Satan been using your weight or physical appearance to distract you from Jesus? Are you distracted to the point of discontentment? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

What do faith, fat, and fitness have in common? You might be surprised. Click To Tweet

*Originally posted June 28th, 2018

27 Comments

  1. I loved when you said “When I look in the mirror, I see an overweight woman instead of a daughter of the One True King.” It’s all about identity, and whether it’s weight, physical appearance, or other things we see in ourselves that we don’t like, Satan is all about trying to steal our identity. I definitely struggle with physical discontentment (lines from aging, dreading the need to wear a bathing suit when my kids go swimming and trying to find an appropriate cover-up because of extra weight), but this post actually spoke directly to my spirit and the names I answer to that tear me down and steal my identity as “a daughter of the One True King” like Failure, Chronically Late, Disorganized, Unproductive, Not Good Enough. Whether it’s weight or anything else that we see when we look in the mirror, this post totally applies. We can work toward being healthy people and cultivating good physical, mental and spiritual habits, but in the end we need to know who we are and Whose we are. Thank you so much, Heather!

  2. What a tough subject! I’m in the same boat – the older I get, the harder it is to keep my weight under control. I’ve spent lots of hours working out, worrying, telling myself I need to eat less and feeling guilty when I cave. You can’t enjoy abundant life in Jesus when all you can focus on is your fat rolls! Thanks for the encouragement!

    1. So true! It’s like an all consuming lie that we have to be thin to be happy, a good Christian, liked, or whatever. But true joy is found in Jesus, not a number on a scale!

  3. It’s so easy to put my relationship with God in the backburner and consume myself in others things when I should be living the exact reverse. This post really rang so true for me. Thanks for being so open.

  4. My struggles with weight would insult you nonetheless there have been there. And that’s the point of the post. In my saner moments, I recognize that we are so hung up on appearance that we use it as a means to value and rank people and yet when they are gone – none of that matters. The void can’t be filled.
    This post reminds me to keep my focus on what’s important and to stop concerning myself with things that have no eternal ramifications.
    Stopping by from #Graceandtruth

    1. Yes! Too often we get hung up on what meets the eye. It seems like God already addressed that back in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 16:7), but we still do it anyways. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Great post & points Heather!
    Visit from Grace & Truth link up.
    This world is full of vanity & there is so much in the Word about vanity! It is actually had now reached epidemic & manic proportions! Fitness, plastic surgery, non surgical facial & body treatments etc….The list could go on & on…

    I have come to a place of complete acceptance of my looks, body shape & who I am in God, it is such a serene place to be!
    And I am not in the eyes of the world a perfect model, but to my Heavenly Father I am His beautiful creation, His daughter, being perfected until the day of the Lord!

    My focus is on Him & furthering His Kingdom, not me!
    You’re most welcome to drop by for a cup of inspiration,
    Jennifer

    1. That’s wonderful, Jennifer! And you’re absolutely right! Not only does God’s Word not tell us we need to be thin, it warns us against vanity. Thank you so much for that reminder!

  6. Thank you for sharing. I’ve been obsessing about gaining 5 pounds over the last week and I know I’m just being ridiculous. Our bodies are all made to be different shapes and sizes. We all have different metabolisms. Its unhealthy and exhausting to constantly compare and try to change yourself. Praying for you and all of us women to overcome Satan’s lies that we are less then or not enough because of our physical appearance.

    1. Thanks for your prayers, Jenny! There is definitely power in prayer, and with God’s help we can silence our enemy, because this war has already been won.

  7. Heather,
    This is a subject I struggle with constantly. The negative self talk around my weight and appearance, never feeling like I am thin enough or pretty enough. Thank you for being brave enough to step out and talk about your struggles. Makes me feel a little less crazy.

    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Jessica. This is an issue I’m still struggling with, but there’s a freedom in bringing it out in the open. In acknowledging that it’s a lie. That Jesus is enough.

  8. Thank you for your blog. I agree with you! Our identity should come from our relationship with Christ rather than how we look or the number on the scale. I am turning 40 and have struggled with my weight. But, I was also convicted when I turned 30 that weight gain was simply not healthy for me. I added an exercise program weekly and started being mindful of how I was eating. Those two things have made a difference . Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and I think we should care for them. For many people, weight gain is a lack of discipline in eating and not eating the right foods. That issue should be spiritually addressed. Some weight gain cannot be helped. But I do think health should be a priority and pleases the Lord.

    1. I’m not going to disagree with you, Jennifer. But at the same time, I think sometimes our weight can become an idol. We care more about the number on the scale than we do about our relationship with Jesus. That’s when it becomes a problem.We simply need to have a healthy view of faith and fitness. And keep it all in perspective.

  9. I agree that weight can become an idol. Unfortunately, it is often so depressing and all consuming that it can distract us from our relationship with Jesus. As a chronically ill woman who truly doesn’t eat much, my weight gain is mainly inactivity and taking Prednisolone. If I dwelt on weight gain and my consequent obesity, I would be so depressed that I wouldn’t have time to write for the LORD, or feel close to Him. Because obesity can effect our spirit, I would say that we have to bring those negative thoughts into the captivity of Christ and not allow it to distract us from what He has for our life. Blessings, Glenys

    1. I totally understand, Glenys! I have chronic migraines that prevent me from exercising and it can be frustrating. I constantly have to refocus my thoughts on Jesus and remind myself that my faith is more important than my weight.

  10. This is a newer issue for me (gaining weight), and I greatly appreciate the warning about it being a distraction or going to the root of our identity. I want to continue to walk in the Holy Spirit and be Spirit led in this area too. You’ve given me some things to ponder, Heather, thank you!

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