Alycia and I have been watching The Biggest Loser on Netflix. It is the only reality show that I watch with any amount of regularity – and even that’s only on Netflix and online. I like The Biggest Loser more than other reality shows because the focus isn’t on creating drama-filled situations, finding “true love” and keeping the craziest/hottest women around for the overnight dates. Instead, the show focuses on helping obese individuals make changes that will save their lives.
As a self-professed fat nerd, the show inspires me to work out, eat better and generally embrace a healthier lifestyle. As a Christian, fat nerd, though, I always wonder how weight and body image figure into God’s desire for my life.
Obviously God wants us to be healthy and good stewards of the bodies that he’s given us. As followers of Jesus our bodies are now God’s temple and we should take care of that temple. I’ve had to hold that reality in tension, though, with the fact that I love hamburgers and hate exercising.
There’s also the reality that God accepts us just as we are. Even though God wants us to be healthy and take care of our bodies, he’s still going to love us whether or not we’re overweight. Along with God’s acceptance, hopefully we also find ourselves in faith communities that accept us for who we are: with our faults, failures and fat. I sometimes worry, though, that the acceptance of our heavenly Father and faith communities might lead us to accept being overweight.
I’ve thought before, “If God loves me and I have people in my life who accept me, then why should I change? Why should I lose weight?”
I can’t answer that question for anybody else. I can only answer that question for myself. I know God loves and accepts me just as I am. I have a wife and friends who love and accept me just as I am. They love me in spite of all of my faults and failures, but I want to better myself for them. They also love me in spite of all my fat, but I want to lose it for them.
For the past month I’ve been very intentional about eating right and exercising. I’m not doing it to make God or Alycia love me more, but I’m doing it to be a good steward of what I’ve been given. I’m doing it to be a better and longer living husband. I’m doing it so the life I have to give God won’t be cut short by a heart attack.
God will love us no matter what we do. I don’t want to take advantage of that love, though, and use it as an excuse to stay unhealthy and be a bad steward of the body God has given me.
How do you balance God’s love with health and body image issues?