I don’t spent a lot of my time browsing Pintrest, but I like it. Using it feels like I’m building my own magazine, and catching a small glimpse of what my friends and strangers with good taste are interested in. For my readers that don’t spend their time on Pintrest, there are blocks of images that are complied from your friends that you “Follow”. So, when I sign into Pintrest, I see an endless wall of pictures with captions associated (“pins” that you can “pin” to boards, just like a cork board). Some are shared by my friends, and some are what are the most popular on the site. When you select an image, if you scroll down, you can find similar pins.
And one very popular caption is “fitness motivation”. I like to be motivated to be fit. I want to be fit. And I work really hard to take care of myself. But the images that I see on Pintrest are just that. Images of other people that I scroll through on the internet. (While I’m sitting on my computer, not being active.) And sometimes these images have inspirational quotes attached to them about working hard, hurting today, and how much better I’ll feel tomorrow.
I don’t feel motivated to work out after I see some of those images. They’re usually of women that are in top shape, who look like it’s their job to be in shape. They’re tanned and oiled, and they’re small. And the majority of the associated inspirational quotes have to do with making someone feel bad that they broke up with you because you’re so physically fit now. They’re about working out so that you can feel great in a skin tight dress. It’s about not having a muffin top and how much better you’ll feel after you hit some magical moment with your physical fitness.
And I struggle with my weight. I gain weight easily, especially when I’m stressed out. (And I get stressed out pretty easily.) I also seem to have a tendency to injure myself in strange ways that keep me from exercising as effectively as I’d like.
And I get really, really discouraged about my body. My clothes aren’t fitting the right way, and it makes me feel bad about myself. I get on Pintrest, and see images of women who are far more physically advanced than I’ll ever be physically, and that makes me feel worse. And I watch TV and look at magazines and see the same images. The same messages. They tell me that I’ll feel good about myself when I finally am “fit enough”. That if I buy this work out or weight loss system that my self worth will skyrocket and I’ll be beautiful to strangers and old acquaintances alike. And I start to believe that. I believe that I’m not good enough right now, and that I won’t be happy until I hit some unknown mark in the future.
Now, I want to be clear. The women featured in this media are in great shape, and I hope that they’re healthy and happy and have a strong sense of self-worth rooted in who they were made to be by Christ. I start to have issues when I compare myself to someone else, and when I start to believe that my happiness and worth lies in how I measure up.
Being fit is truly a worthy pursuit, if done so to take care of the bodies that God’s given us and not to validate our existence. And if done with the knowledge that you are are enough even before you take your first step.
So, self-loathing is not real fitness motivation? Indeed, it is not.
What should motivate me to be fit then?
- You are the Lord’s creation and temple.
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)- Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
- 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (ESV) Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
- Romans 14:7-8 (ESV)- For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.
- You were made with worth. You are worth the time and effort.
- Psalm 139:13-14 (ESV)- For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
- Psalm 139:14-16 (ESV)- I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
- It makes you feel good, and can even help with symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- It has cardiovascular and other health benefits.
- Have you ever had the opportunity to feel strong? Speaking from personal experience, when you’re able to compare how strong you feel this month to how you felt last month, it’s wonderful. Do you struggle with the big water bottles for the cooler at work? Start working out, and next month, try to pick up the bottle again. It feels so good.
These are just a few of the things that motivate me to be fit and healthy. What motivates you? I’d love it if you’d share.