What Is YOUR Idol?

 Growing strong in body is all right but growing in God-like living is more important. It will not only help you in this life now but in the next life also. 
-1 Timothy 4:8

 I was walking my dog the other day, which is the time I use to pray and reflect and often a time when God speaks to me and lays things on my heart. Well, after one of my walks, these thoughts came into my head and then I wrote them in my prayer journal:

It's okay to want to be healthy and care about your appearance, but it's not okay to become obsessed with it. It's not okay for it to consume your thoughts or your time. It's not okay when it disturbs your peaces and causes anxiety. It's not okay when it becomes your main priority. Forgive me, Lord.

Then as I was in the process of writing this post, the above scripture was in my daily devotional, along with this commentary:

"Millions of dollars and hours of effort are spent on diet and exercise programs every year. Leading a healthy lifestyle is important, but the truth is that the body is a temporary shell for the spirit. God urges His children to spend time growing in their faith as well. Unlike diet and exercise, "God-like living" has an eternal guarantee."

I have spent the last 10 years of my life being completely obsessed with fitness-with nutrition, gaining muscle, and striving for that fitness model look I saw in the magazines. I think you have to have a certain amount of obsession to be able to achieve that look.  It pretty much has to be what your life revolves around-your workouts, your eating habits-they all go towards that one goal. It is all you think about sometimes. Gaining muscle is not easy-it’s a full time job!



God has been dealing with me in the last few months about my obsession with my looks and my training. I have come to realize that fitness and nutrition has become somewhat of an idol in my life.  One of the definitions of idol is a person or thing that is greatly admired, loved, or revered.” To me, an idol is anything that you place before God, anything that you spend more time pursuing or thinking about than Him.

If I were being completely honest, I would have to admit that that I put fitness above pretty much everything, even God. It has been my passion, my focus, my desire.  I have been pursuing the perfect body more than I was pursuing a better relationship with God. Yeah, I was reading the bible daily,  doing my devotional every morning, going to church regularly...but I have learned lately that it's not enough to just "do" the right things, it's about the relationship we have with Jesus. It’s about falling in love with Him; it’s about growing closer to Him and stronger in our faith day by day. Because after all, that is what is going to matter in the end. NOT how much you weigh, how much muscle you have, how lean you are, OR how much you can lift! Those things are all good and fun to pursue while here on earth, but not at the sacrifice of your relationship with God.
 
The time I spent with God was little compared to my time spent reading fitness blogs and coming up with workouts, not to mention my constant thoughts about food and training. Looking back, I realize that the anxiety I was always feeling was most likely because that is what my thoughts were fixed on. Now, in and of itself, wanting to be fit and healthy is NOT a bad thing at all. In fact, I believe God wants us to take care of our bodies. But when does it become too much? When it consumes us… when it is all we think about…. when it is what we strive for above all else?

In the last few months I have made a concentrated effort to spend more time with God, studying His word and reading Christian books, and just having my thoughts fixed on Him, praising Him, and praying constantly throughout the day.  I've also recently deleted many of the fitness blogs that I followed, which has made a big difference.  I try to listen mostly to Christian music, and I listen to preachers on the radio on my way to work(mostly Chip Ingram-he is great!).
One thing I have found is that the closer I get to Him, the less of everything else I want! God has been speaking to me and teaching me so much in the last year or so because I have drawn closer to Him and opened myself up to Him. He is starting to change my mindset about things and is revealing more of Himself to me. Slowly, He is transforming me and changing my desires and my priorities and making me into the person He wants me to be.
I know that it will always be a constant struggle not allowing other things to have control over my heart, but all I can do is I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and surrender to Him, knowing that He will make me into the person He wants me to be.  I’ll always be a work in progress!
"He who dies with the most muscle wins...nothing.
She who dies with the least fat wins just as much.
Train in Godliness, serve others. And when someone asks why you trying to be fit, tell them it's for Heaven's sake. But for Heaven's sake, tell them." - Jimmy Peña

Comments

  1. Beautiful post...so honest and real. Balance is so difficult, but it sounds like you are very, very close to figuring it out.

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    1. Thank you! I think we all have something in our life that hinders our relationship with God...and I've realized, sadly, that mine is fitness. :(

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  2. I love this. It's great to follow fitness & nutrition but not to the point where it becomes a "false idol" in your life. And not when it creates more anxiety than joy.

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    1. Exactly! I don't know why it took so long for me to realize this!

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  3. I've wondered about being fit and having a thinner body becoming an idol in my life too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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    1. I think it is very easy for it to become that. There's nothing wrong with taking care of yourself and being fit...as long as it does not become our main concern in life!

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  4. Soo true! This post hits home, and I need to make sure I have my priorities in order. Lately my focus has been on me, and I can see the problems that come from that.

    Thanks for listening to God and building others up "spiritually"!

    Giovanna

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    1. Thank you! It's so easy to let our passions take over our passion for God! I'm glad that God opened my eyes and helped me realize that was happening with me!

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  5. Hi there! You don't know me but I stumbled across your blog one day and was very encouraged by all that you post. I feel like I can relate to you a lot because I too am a christian and I too love crossfit/weight training and have a passion for food and eating healthy. I love this post because I am struggling with the same exact thing! I've actually just started Kelly Minter's "No Other God's" devotional and it's really put light on my major idolatry problem. My story is a bit different as I've never actually reached my goal and am still on that journey.. I've struggled with my weight my entire life so it's probably the biggest drive of my obsession since I want to know what it's like to have met my "goal" of looking and feeling good/fit/in shape etc... I think I've always had this thought in my mind that once I reach my 'goal' I wont be obsessed anymore. But seeing as how you are in amazing shape and still struggle with it I probably need to spend more time in prayer so that I don't make my body my idol to whom I serve... Anyway.. sorry for the long comment but just wanted to know that I was encouraged by your post! Thank you for sharing!!

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    1. Hi! Thanks so much for this comment! yes, no matter where you are in your fitness journey, there will always be flaws and insecurities. It's hard for me because I am such a perfectionist! I have to keep my focus on my relationship with God and find my self worth in Him, not having the perfect body! It's so easy for it to become an obsession and I think it happens to many.Thanks again!! :)

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