Fit and Feminine

The other day I read a book on toning my arms.  Yes, you read that correctly… toning, as in weight training.  I learned to really enjoy aerobics and weight training in high school when I took my first class that I got to choose (not phy ed.  I hated phy ed!).  I actually like to work out and reminisce the days of college where if I didn’t fit a work out in before the day, I could easily find a space of time in the middle of the day!  Then life happened and graduate school and full time jobs came, and my time for working out decreased.  I still do it though, as I like being healthy and fit.

However, I started thinking about beauty and femininity.  The world tells women that to be beautiful you have to have curves in the right places with no flabby flesh on your arms, thighs, belly, or legs.  I’ve researched this issue a bit as I wrote a paper on eating disorders in college.  And, as I enjoy weight lifting and working out, I’ve had to come to my own conclusions about beauty and if it has become an idol to me. The world’s definition of beauty, and the celebrity trainers, workouts, and media’s words do subtly influence me.  What was I believing?

Thus, I went back to the Bible. It really is our rulebook for how to live life!  No wonder it tells us that only in Christ is everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).  Do you realize the Bible addresses the issue of the body and beauty?  Seek what the Bible says, it is liberating to have my thoughts renewed by the Word and not the world! Turns out the world’s view of beauty and femininity is a lie.

To start off, I read that I should be able to control my body (living in self control, Titus 2:12).  Then I read that physical training has some value.  OK, it appears that self control (or discipline) over my body can honor God.  And physical training is declared valuable!   Maybe I should reread that book on toning my arms and pull you all into the program with me!

Wait a minute though. Let’s read the rest of this verse that talks about physical training.  It comes from 1 Timothy 4:8 which states,  “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”   I guess my toned arms will look rather ridiculous if I haven’t learned that true femininity is not about being physically fit, or attaining the look of a (computer-generated) “perfect model” I see in a magazine.  Instead, it is about living a godly life in the design of a woman.  Go back — did you catch that?  Physical training is somewhat valuable for this life only!  But look at the far reaching benefits of learning and disciplining oneself in godliness — even beneficial to our lives eternally with Christ!  Wow!   If you are like me and enjoy working out, let’s commit to train ourselves to be godly (before we learn how to tone our bodies!)  We can live without toned arms, but we cannot truly live without godliness!

And just a side note, we are told in the Bible that all things are permissible but not all are beneficial.  While working out helps keep the body functioning and does improve circulation, energy, and other “healthy” aspects that allow us to be stewards over our bodies, it also is expected by the world in order to look “sexy.”  A healthy body is beneficial for health and quality of life, but a good question to ask yourself is who is benefiting?  Is God?  Is the time spent working out honoring to Him and to your family?  What are your motives?  What results do you desire and why?  Do you spend more time with God or with a treadmill?

Just some thoughts to help keep you and me balanced in this superficial, fixated with youth and beauty culture that we live in!


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