Summer is quickly approaching! Do you know what that means? That means that gyms are full and individuals are desperate to have a “summer body.” Who doesn’t want to be thin and tan for summer? It is almost a social expectation to have a different body shape for summer versus the other seasons. I have a vivid memory of being in middle school and running on a track and wanting to quit and my only thoughts were, “Summer body.” Looking back now at that point of my life, I see that I must of had really low self-esteem if my motivation to exercise was purely to have a “summer body.”
Two weeks ago I was visiting with a new friend. They told me that they are trying to live a healthier lifestyle by eating better and going to the gym. I expressed how I try to eat healthy but I am HORRIBLE at having the discipline to work out. The person I was speaking with said, “But you’re thin! You don’t need to worry about those things now!” Well, part of what they said is true. I am thin, but I still need to try to strive for a healthy lifestyle. Not just for trying to “have a great body” or whatever but for health reasons. I believe that God wants us to take care of our bodies and He has given us the resources to do so. Physically and emotionally I don’t feel good when I eat junk. When I eat a plant based diet, I feel great! What I put into my body determines how I feel emotionally and physically.
I have dwelled upon this little comment. Almost immediately I thought about this comment in a spiritual realm. I attend a Christian high school. I am part of a Bible study and am in synagogue most Friday’s. My parents never made me go to church and they still don’t. I look forward to going and am disappointed when I cannot make it to service. If you look at my schedule between chapel at school, Bible study, and synagogue, I hear a message four times a week. It would five times a week if I went to Torah study on Saturday’s. I am surrounded by Christianity most of the time. If I’m being honest, sometimes I am tired of hearing the messages, especially at school. I feel as if I hear the same topics every week just by a different speaker.
When I am around this culture of seemingly always being at church, it becomes easy not to personally pursue God. I fall into a trap of thinking, “I’ve listened to four pastors this week. I’m good with God.” People think that just because I go to a Christian high school that I’m automatically a Christian. Similiar to others thinking, “I’m healthy because I am thin.” I am guessing that many other students at my school have fallen into this trap, too.
When I make an effort to peruse a healthy lifestyle, I feel great. Some would say that because of my body shape I don’t need to exercise or eat healthy. Some would think that because I go to church, Bible study, and chapel, that I don’t necessarily need to do things such as pray, worship in private, read the Bible, and minister to others. But I do need to do those actions. I have more shalom (peace), understanding of His will, and joy when I personally pursue God. I don’t do these things purely for salvation. I see the Christian walk as heaven being a part of the journey but a deeper relationship with Yeshua being the destination. I don’t see working out as being skinny the complete goal, but rather simply being healthy.
As summer is approaching and the pressure starts for having a summer body I challenge you to pursue a deep relationship with God outside of the sanctuary, but in every place in your daily life.