Can you really apply the scriptures to all aspects of your life? Do the scriptures have anything to say about helping your body be more healthy and fit? The ancient prophet Nephi says to "liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning"(1Nephi 19:23). I will be bold in my attempt to liken the scriptures to health and fitness in this instalment of:
Can Scripture Power Help Me Be Healthy?
You want the truth? I struggle with my body image most days. I have had to train myself to think positive thoughts about what I look like. "I have lovely ankles." "My legs are strong." "My smile lights up a room." "My eyes are windows to a beautiful soul." All mantras I repeat to myself. My saintly husband will tell me I am beautiful; sometimes I believe him but some days I don't.
Why do we allow ourselves to feel this way? We are all BELOVED spirit children of God. Yes. But how do I (you, we) get over it?
I read in the scriptures the other day about Nephi. I was looking for ways the Lord teaches us about taking care of our bodies, but the Lord took me on a journey that had more to do with learning to love my body FIRST. I read, "if the children of men keep the commandments of God,
He will nourish them and strengthen them." (1 Nephi 17:3)
Wow, I thought, could the God's commandments really help us with strength training? I decided to test it out on the 10 Commandments. I was surprised that when I thought about each commandment I immediately recognized how I needed to LOVE my body.
1. Thou Shalt Have No Other God Before Me. Does God come first in my life? He is the source of all I have and am. Do I spend more time maintaining my body (read exercising and stressing about what I look like) or praising God. To Do: Prioritize God first in my life.
2. Thou Shalt Have No Graven Images. Do I worship other people's bodies instead of God. Do I spend my time worrying about the tee-shirt wrinkles that look
like fat roll in a photo? Ouch! Do I idolize the "ideal body" without realizing the beauty in my own body? To Do: Let go of the "Ideal Body" and love the beauty God created in me.
3. Thou Shalt Not Take The Lord Thy God's Name in Vain. I have been created in the image of God. Do I take that for granted and utter slurs against God's own handiwork? To Do: Thank my body for the work it does for me on a daily basis. Speak kindly about God's creation.
4. Remember the Sabbath Day to Keep It Holy. God knows that my body and my spirit needs a day to recuperate from the stress of each week. Do I give my body the recovery time to repair muscle damage and get stronger or do I run (sometimes literally) my body into the ground. To Do: Take a day to recover. My body with thank me.
5. Honor your Father and Mother. Scientifically I know that my parents' genes combine to make me unique. I inherited their build, eye color, and even muscular structure. Do I honour my ancestors and the genes I have been given or tweak my image with cosmetic enhancements? To Do: Embrace the unique characteristics my ancestors gave me (kankles and all!).
6. Thou Shalt Not Kill. My body (an heritage of my parents) and my spirit (an heritage from God) combine to make me, well, ME! In my quest for the perfect body, do I neglect my spirit and the beauty that glows from within? Do I squash my spirit's needs to further my bodily wants? Do I work my body too hard, or with too little nutrition? Could my actions overtime injure or kill myself spiritually or physically? To Do: Feed my body and spirit well.
7. Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery. My body is a sacred and beautiful gift. Do I prostitute my body by flaunting it? Or, do I try to hide myself in clothes that are unflattering just to reinforce my negative thoughts. To Do: Show respect for my body by dressing it well.
8. Thou Shalt Not Steal. Stealing is taking something that does not belong to you-- in essence taking something without earning it. There is no easy fix; no miracle pill, no magic lotion. That would be stealing something you haven't earned. Do I try to steal good looks by relying on "magic" pills? Do I wish to take the quick fix or am I willing to earn the healthy body I want. To Do: Be willing to work for what I want.
9. Thou Shat Not Bear False Witness. I will be honest. I have a problem with lies. I tell myself lies everyday. "You look ugly." "If you eat that your stomach will get fat." "You can eat that, you really need 4 more cookies to feel better." "You are still so OBESE!" Yeah, it gets pretty ugly. Do I lie about my progress? Do I lie about my inner beauty? To Do: Reflect honestly with myself. Get help if I can't be unbiased.
10. Thou Shalt Not Covet. To covet is to strongly desire that which is not our own. Do I covet the food my body doesn't need? Do I desire my neighbour’s dress size, bust line or (for me) small shoulders (I know it is silly!!!!)? To Do: Recognize the beautiful things around me without letting that desire overcome me.
When I started this list, I didn't realize how much trouble I still had with loving my body. I could improve on each of those points. It might not help my muscles be more defined, but I will definitely be a stronger person if I keep these commandments.
Don't forget, "God made you special. And He loves you [an me] very much." (Veggie Tales!)