Category Archives: Spiritual Fitness

How A Christian Should Be Dressed At The Gym

fitness fashion fila 1980

It’s March 2015, and it’s still winter where I live. Slippery, slushy, snow covered our city yesterday and overnight with more to follow. Of course this all means that my excitement at being able to consistently train outside has died; time to hit the treadmill and the gym again. Typical first world problems that I’m not ashamed to have.

As I was getting ready to pack my bag I realized my most comfortable top might be a bit too revealing to wear. It’s my go-to top for exercising and I only wear it in my home, the thought of wearing it anywhere else started to worry me. There were thoughts such as, “What if someone from church sees me?”, “What if I cause someone to stumble in their walk with Christ?”, “What if the *&#@’s at the gym laugh at me and stare?”. All of these were ridiculous things to worry about. I almost returned a pair of Saucony Stabil CS3 because they looked hideous. Never mind the fact that as a seriously flat-footed, size 11 woman with wide feet, I really needed these not so fashionable footwear. The sales associates assured me they were the best looking motion control runners that had ever seen, but it shouldn’t have mattered.

I should have been more concerned with function, not fashion.

fitness fashion pairs

I have an old fashioned mentality when it comes to how Christian’s should dress. I believe that North American Christian’s should dress in a manner that respects our body such as covering strategic parts, not wearing outfits with the intention of attracting attention from the opposite sex, and not wearing filthy clothing. I’m not a clothing police, so if I encountered people who broke these three rules, I wouldn’t say or do anything about it; these are my personal values that I don’t intend to force on anyone.

After much frustration with shopping for runners and trying to select workout wear for this week, I remembered a lesson I thought I had already learned. When preparing to workout, prepare your heart first. If I had focused on the reasons why I had joined a running club and why I needed to purchase specific footwear, I wouldn’t have been caught up in the shallowness of how one should look while being at the gym.

When I work out, I’m a hot mess of glistening sweat, yes, I glisten!  I look hideous and I become self-conscious. Let me tell you, there are some petty, gossipy, and snobby women at the gym and if I am focused on the important things I won’t be concerned about these females.

My fellow believers in Christ, let’s not let insecurity, pride, low self-esteem, or haughtiness accompany us to the gym.

lycra

Instead of only clothing myself in work out gear, let’s cover ourselves with the armour of God. The spirit of the enemy is always lurking trying to distract people and take us away from our purpose for taking care of our bodies. We can defeat the enemy by keeping our thoughts holy. Pray over your gym, the basketball court, the swimming pool, wherever it is that you exercise so that the spirit of God may be welcomed. There are many people in these types of places that have struggles and a great way to bring a blessing to these individuals is to pray  spiritual protection over them.

If you haven’t already been doing so, I want to encourage and challenge you to say a quick prayer of spiritual protection for your fitness facility and its patrons. Peace.

Ephesians 6 10 - 18

Commit to Saying No

yes no maybe

Matthew 5:37 “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

James 5:12But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

Saying “no” can be difficult, but when it comes to our health and well-being we need to become comfortable with this word. Becoming and staying healthy requires the ability to say no to things and to people.

Living a healthy lifestyle requires discipline and habits that support our life goals. If we don’t learn to confidently say no, we will continue to struggle in living our personal mission. Want to know what happens when we don’t say no to things and people who do not help us move towards our goals?

-You will eventually stop going to the gym or working out (your physical activity and sometimes intensity will decrease)

-You will begin eating the foods you know are not helping to fuel your body

-You will start putting the wellness of others before your own

-You will learn to commit to others but not to yourself

wonder woman no

There are Christians who will try to convince us that making our health a priority is selfish, but know that this is not the case. Our health is a priority in God’s eyes. He did not create our bodies and give us the gift of life so that we would intentionally destroy it with diabetes, obesity, laziness, high blood pressure, lack of adequate sleep, and all the other modern ailments that are affecting our country.

In order to be healthy we must learn to say “no”. It may hurt people’s feelings, but as long as we are saying no with kindness and good intentions, there is no need for us to feel wrong about choosing to say no. We can say no to foods that do not work well with our body. We have the right to say no to excessive exercise that cause us injuries, lowers our immune system, or doesn’t make us happy.

In 2015, let the word “no” fall from your lips with ease and sit easy within your heart. Eventually people will learn to respect your boundaries and with time you will respect yourself for saying no to anything that is not good for your body.

I say no

 

Resources for learning to say a confident and healthy “No”:

The Best Yes – Lysa TerKeurst

The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg

Boundaries: When to Say Yes – When to Say No – Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend

How People Grow – Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend

 

Christians Don’t Have “Cheat Days”.

Junk Food Cheat Meal

Cheat: (as an intransitive verb)

1a :  to practice fraud or trickery

1b :  to violate rules dishonestly

2:  to be sexually unfaithful

(Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

 

 

 

Cheat meal seems to be a commonly used phrase in the world of dieting and weight loss. I go out to eat and I see people saying they are having a “cheat meal” as they proceed to order something unhealthy or highly processed from the menu. For the past several months I’ve been wondering why Christians are comfortable with the term “cheat meal”; since when is it acceptable for Christians to schedule or make time for cheating. I don’t use the term “cheat meal”, instead I say “treat meal”. When you say that you are cheating during a meal or worse, having a day of cheating; who exactly are you tricking or whose rules are you violating dishonestly?

Eph 4 29
Healthy Talk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For myself, I’m not yet at the stage where I can claim something to be a treat meal. If I eat chips, cookies, or drink pop it means that somewhere during the day I had given into food temptation. People who are well disciplined with their healthy eating lifestyle are those who have actual treat meals. The occasional unhealthy meal or snack is not going to harm a person, but when these treats become a regular part of your eating plan, they are no longer treats. If unhealthy foods are a regular part of your eating plan, I would ask why you need to refer to it as a treat.

My main concern isn’t about what people are eating for cheat or treat meals; my focus is on the terms that we use when we know that we’ve given into temptation. Cheat, bad, mistake, fail, slip, etc. Words like these are terms used to describe a feeling of defeat. As believers we need to feed our minds words of strength and encouragement. Our journey of healthy living produces resiliency over time when we learn not to label ourselves with self-defeating words.

The self-hate meal
Pretty much

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone who struggles with eating well has at least one food item that is a problem. These are the foods where once you start eating them, you feel as if you can’t stop. Once the food item is gone you end up being more vulnerable to overindulging again. I do my best not to bring pop into the house and second on my list is cookies. For others they will have a different list of foods that they need to abstain from.

 

Dear fellow believers, we are not cheaters; let’s stop using that word.

My hope is that we can find a more positive term to use, one that is not self- defeating. I have become more comfortable with the following two terms: treat meal and break meal (meaning a break from your usual eating choices). Regardless of what you choose to call these times of indulgence, what you feed your body and how much of it still matters.

For further reading, linked below is a great article about cheat meals from Nia Shanks of Lift Like A Girl. http://www.niashanks.com/the-dark-side-of-cheat-days/

Here are other article about cheat meals:

http://www.leangenetics.com/the-cheat-meal/

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/5-ways-cheat-meals-can-improve-your-body.html

 

The Passive Aggressive Christian

Passive aggressive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behind the smile, a hidden knife!” – Ancient Chinese proverb

Definition:

“Passive-aggressive behavior is a pattern of indirectly expressing negative feelings instead of openly addressing them. There’s a disconnect between what a passive-aggressive person says and what he or she does.” (Mayo Clinic), and from Preston Ni, M.S.B.A, “In short, passive aggressiveness is anger, hostility, and/or learned helplessness in disguise, expressed in a covert, underhanded way to “even the score,” and with the hope of “getting away with it.” The perceived payoffs for the passive-aggressive are greater power, control, and negative emotional satisfaction.”

Confession time! I have difficulty dealing with people’s passive-aggressive personalities. My biggest downfalls in life have come as a result of not knowing how to address passive-aggressive persons (PA). In reaction to their behaviour I unknowingly responded in ways that make PA’s even angrier and more empowered.

There is never a need to be chronically passive-aggressive if your identity is deeply rooted in who God says you are. Having a passive-aggressive temperament is an outright sin; it is a major character flaw. The thoughts and behaviours of this type of personality are in conflict with how we are called to behave as Christians. As followers of Christ, a person can’t live a life of covert negative feelings that fuel an M.O. for intentionally hurting others. The passive-aggressive personality doesn’t align with the fruits of the spirit and never produces a community that consists of the types of relationships encouraged by St. Paul in his letters to the early Christians.

For those who are P.A., I encourage you to find healthy ways to process and express your frustrations and feelings of insecurity. The outcomes will be healthier relationships with others, a life of integrity, less internalized stress, and development of a more Christ-like character.

The spirit of the LORD brings freedom, the spirit of passive-aggressiveness brings bondage.

To experience the healing power offered by God, one has to be willing to be brave enough to be vulnerable in expressing how they feel in a manner that is not intended to undermine and hurt others.

Passive aggressive ahead!

For those on the receiving end of malice, stay emotionally strong. Understand that you are never the cause of another person’s inability to communicate in a healthy way. A Passive-aggressive personality is often rooted in unresolved issues stemming from childhood (0-17) where, either directly or indirectly caregivers reinforced the lesson that one is not to express their anger for fear of the consequences of doing so.

Spiritual Responses

  • Pray for discernment and wisdom on how and when to address passive-aggressive personalities.
  • Ask God to give you the emotional strength to not give into their behaviour and risk becoming like them.
  • Most importantly, pray for the person to experience the healing power that only God can provide to such wounded people because these types of issues are more than a personality conflict; it is a spiritual battle.

Are you Passive-Aggressive? Unsure of whether or not you are dealing with a Passive-Aggressive person?

Below are some resources to help you recognize and deal with passive-aggressive people


 

What it looks like: (Source: Preston Ni, M.S.B.A.)

Below are four categories of passive aggression:

Disguised Verbal Hostility. Negative gossip. Sarcasm. Veiled hostile joking — often followed by “just kidding.” Repetitive teasing. Negative orientation. Habitual criticism of ideas, solutions, conditions, and expectations.

Disguised Relational Hostility. The silent treatment. The invisible treatment. Social exclusion. Neglect. Backstabbing. Two faced. Mixed messages. Deliberate button pushing. Negative or discomforting surprises. Overspending. Sullen resentment. Indirectly hurting something or someone of importance to the targeted person.

Disguised Task Hostility. Procrastination. Stalling. Forgetting. Stonewalling. Withholding resources or information. Professional exclusion. Denying personal responsibility. Excuse making. Blaming. Broken agreements. Lack of follow through. Resistance. Stubbornness. Rigidity. Avoidance. Inefficiency, complication, incompletion or ruination of task.

Hostility Towards Others Through Self-Punishment (“I’ll show YOU”). Quitting. Deliberate failure. Exaggerated or imagined health issues. Victimhood. Dependency. Addiction. Self-harm. Deliberate weakness to elicit sympathy and favor.


Sources:

http://www.aacc.net/the-passive-aggressive-always-wins/

http://www.christianpost.com/news/why-passive-aggressive-christian-leadership-must-go-away-98581/

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/communication-success/201401/how-spot-and-deal-passive-aggressive-people

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201307/the-passive-aggressive-conflict-cycle

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201306/why-passive-aggression-thrives-in-the-workplace