This was initially posted February 2007. I am reposting it to celebrate the beginning of Manna, our healthy eating support group at church!
Yes, I like the way I feel when I’m eating well. Yes, I’d like to fit into those clothes in the back of my closet. Yes, I’d love to be svelte for my husband. Yes, I’d like to be able to wear a bathing suit without being embarrassed. But beyond those reasons (and others) for wanting to eat well, I’ve also been motivated to be a good steward of the body God has lent me.
At one point last year (2006) when I was considering the fact that I had surrendered all to God, I realized that all means more than just my heart. It also means my time, my family, my home, my money, my body, everything.
So just as I desire to nourish my spirit with His Word, I would desire to nourish and take care of my body, which is a gift lent to me from God. I don’t recall the exact moment that thought occurred to me, but it shifted the way I look at something as simple and everyday as eating.
I feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically when I’m nourishing my body with healthy foods and getting enough sleep. When I’m nourished in those areas, I’m more readily available to do the Lord’s work with clear mind and strength.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m not eating well, not sleeping enough, or generally not taking care of myself, I get what I call “fog head.” I lose motivation and slip into a slump of discouragement. If it goes too long unchecked, depression follows. I struggled with that for several years while juggling the responsibilities of taking care of two infants back to back (you moms know what I’m talking about). Now that my children are sleeping through the night for the most part, I have no excuse for not taking care of this body that belongs to God.
I felt convicted last year to move with purpose toward a healthier lifestyle, not in a legalistic way, but out of gratitude. I love God and I’m grateful for His creation, including my own body and person. He has created us for His own good pleasure and has wonderful things in mind for us. I’d like to be a good steward. I’d like to be readily available to Him mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Eating well and taking care of my body when it’s in my power to do so is a way of respecting God’s creation and honoring Him with it. That’s a pleasant motivation that beats the guilt-ridden feelings I had before when trying to diet.
Do I think God is looking down and frowning and shaking His finger at me when He sees I’m not eating well? No, I don’t. But I do think He delights in our desire to please Him by being good stewards of His gifts. And He loves for us to be readily available to Him, prepared and open to Him in every way we know to be.