There’s an expression that they say here sometimes that I honestly loathe when on the receiving end. People tell me that it’s meant to be a compliment – that it means you are looking good and that, as a result, you must be living good. And maybe to some, especially to those who grew up here, it is indeed flattering. But I can assure you, in the two decades that I have been here, it has never once sat well with me when someone spoke these words:
“Yuh like yuh puttin’ on size.”
I mean, what?
How on earth can “putting on size” be a compliment?
As far as I’m concerned, you might as well have just run your fingernails across the chalkboard with that comment. It’s just that piercing to me. It’s all I can do to hold my sarcasm and not say to them, “You really think I don’t KNOW that I am putting on size?!! Hello! It’s me that wrestles into those jeans in the sticky humidity of the morning! It’s me that sees those unforgiving numbers on the scale! It’s me that sees my middle-aged thighs widening in a mirror that does. not. ever. lie!”
But, I force myself to refrain. I conjure up what little bit of self-control that the Spirit bids me in the moment and choose to exhale, control my tongue, and graciously reply, “Um, thank you?”
See, weight has always been an issue for me. A very touchy issue at that – as if you can’t already tell (insert embarrassed emoji). From my days as a cheerleader in elementary school to this turbulent decade where they say life begins, I confess that I have teetered between my unwarranted fear of packing on the pounds and God’s unwaning truth that I have been fearfully and wonderfully made. I confess that I have sized myself up to an impossible standard of skinny rather than to an incalculable blessing of health. I confess that I have allowed comparison to others to lead me to criticism of self. I confess that I get overwhelmed by the long-term goal and underwhelmed by short-term gains. I confess that when loneliness or anxiety trigger me in this overseas life, I often reach for the temporal consolation of food rather than His eternal comfort of Truth.
Truth that says I was bought at a price. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
Truth that says my body is for the Lord and the Lord for my body. I am not my own. (1 Corinthians 6:13)
Truth that declares my body has been washed, sanctified, justified, and saved by God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)
Truth that urges me to offer my body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, for this is my true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)
And oh, how He is worthy of my worship!
Sisters, I don’t know about you, but I want to be intentional about offering my body as a living sacrifice in God’s service. I want every part of my body to be readied for the service the Lord is calling me to. And that takes doing something on my part.
However, keeping my body in a state of readiness can be a struggle in this overseas life. Gym fees don’t exactly fit into the budget, CrossFit just isn’t my thing, and I personally think burpees are detrimental to my health. But I digress. The price of food just keeps skyrocketing and, with multiple mouths to feed, extra meal planning just isn’t practical. And that eight hours of sleep they suggest you get at night? Nah, doesn’t happen in this humidity.
While these obstacles may be part of my reality, I choose to focus on what I can do to keep my body prepared for Kingdom work. And so can you. Friends, we can choose to:
- Just begin. Walk a brisk mile. Skip rope at home. Dance like no one is watching when your favorite song comes on. Just begin moving your body for the glory of God. (Colossians 3:17)
- Keep in step with the Spirit. Tap into the fruit of self-control. Crucify fleshly desires. Stop the comparison game. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with Him. (Galatians 5:25)
- Be filled with the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:17-19) – not with sweet bread and fishcakes, Stephanie.
- Not run aimlessly. Strive for holiness. Run in such a way as to get your eternal crown. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
- Reach out to God. He with us every step of the way. For in Him we live and move and have our being. (Romans 17:28)
Talk about motivation to care for our temples, hey!
Whether God is calling you to sow into the lives of children on a basketball court or sow into longings of the stranger on streets that are foreign, presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice not only affords us the opportunity to honor and worship God through our obedience, but here’s the kicker – it also allows God to transform us more into His likeness – and oh how I want that too!
I can’t believe I’m saying this but seeing the so-called compliment in this context makes it palatable. I mean, if I must be told that I am “putting on size”, let it not be because I look as if I am living well from the outside in. But let it be because I know I am living well from the inside out.
What is your greatest challenge in offering your body as a living sacrifice to God?
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