Do it for the health, not for the anxiety.
“ Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are
strong in spirit.” 3 John 1:2
Health is thrown around in so many spheres—relationally, mentally, emotionally,
physically. You can get lost in a never-ending Google search about what it means to be
“healthy.” So what does it mean to be “healthy in body as you are strong in the spirit”?
When you look at scripture, Jesus talked a whole lot about not being anxious or
worrying and that applies to all areas of life, including how we think, take care of and
engage our bodies. You don’t have to look around for longer than a hot second to know
that pretty much everything you read about health is anxiety inducing. From “healthier
recipes” to “best work outs for weight loss,” it can feel like everything you are doing
isn’t enough or what you should be doing.
When John says to be “healthy in body,” what do you think he means? Best swim suit
body condition? Comfortable in my favorite pair of skinnies? Or something that doesn’t
rely on how my clothes fit or what my belly looks like when I sit down?
Jesus was a man who paid attention. He was in the moment—from noticing people that
others walked past to taking care of the immediate needs of those around him. I believe
we are invited into this calling too—being people who pay attention. We are to notice
those who appear to be outsiders, to care for those within and outside our fold and to
speak up when things aren’t as they should be. But we are also invited to notice
ourselves—who we were created to be.
Part of knowing and loving yourself is being honest about who you are, and your body is
a part of that. What does your body want and need today? That could mean ice cream
for breakfast or a green smoothie (or BOTH). Would a walk outside be helpful? Or
attending a Zumba class with a friend? Do you need to take a nap or pull out your yoga
Navigating our health by worldly rules can be appealing because it allows us to zone out
and simply do what others say is best. Do this, not that. Go here, not there. Eat this, not
that. Say this . . . you get the idea. But by doing so, we miss out on the practice of loving
ourselves, of paying attention to the current body we are in, admitting what that body
needs and allowing that to be okay. So say yes to your booty workout but not out of
guilt or anxiety. And if you love butternut squash, get it! Just don’t feel like you have to
do whatever everyone else is doing to be “healthy.”
Your version of a healthy body is going to look different than others. And that’s
beautiful! Loving yourself means noticing yourself. If Jesus does it, I think we should too.