What is the deal with Christian beauty? Is it all about the heart or is how we look important? In this post, you’ll learn how to connect with your true values so that you’re only pursuing that which truly matters to you!
Do you ever feel torn between the desire to feel beautiful and your inner conviction that true beauty comes from the inside?
Do you find yourself wondering how to care for your body without being driven by solely external motivations such as weight loss and like… fitting into a smaller jeans size?
These thoughts linger in my mind.
We both can agree that our health is important but, why? And how do Christian beauty and health co-exist?
The Word of God clearly states that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. While God used to “reside” in a temple built by human hands, His Spirit now lives in that built by His hand– You.
But there is a bigger and even more compelling reason that our health is oh-so-essential. Good health, being energetic and unhindered, enables us to do important things for the kingdom of God. Many things that would not be possible without feeling well.
Today we are going to look into that question. We’ll see if we can find our own place of balance and peace within our personal health care and Christian beauty.
How Do You Invest?
Our time and energy are limited and are two of our most valuable assets. We get to spend them as we please. I like to think of them in terms of money.
When we allocate our money, we decide if an investment is profitable based on the outcome of that investment. While investments can be very emotional, they’re also very black and white.
If you give an investment banker $100 and one year later he gives you $200, that’s a good investment.
If you give that same banker $100 and 12 months later he hands you 10 bucks, you’re probably going to look for a different investor.
The same goes for your efforts towards health and fitness. What is the necessary investment for the desired outcome? Look at the budget of your time and energy. Ask yourself, will this investment add to your life or detract from it (or even leave you with some nasty overdraft fees)?
Counting the cost and benefit is incredibly important.
For example, 30 minutes a day of exercise may be the ideal balance for you. Any less and you are not going to reap the benefits you desire. Any more and your schedule may burst at the seams. You, my friend, have found your sweet spot.
In the same way, we need to manage our health and fitness mindfully. Otherwise, we may end up spending more or less energy than we’d like to if we’d taken the time to give it some thought.
“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” Luke 14:28 ESV
How Should You Invest In Christian Beauty and Health?
So… how do we know what the proper investment is? Let’s start with a simple illustration of balance.
Being Unfit for Service
You can be so unfit and so unhealthy that you’re unable to go out into the world and make an impact in the lives of those around you. You ache, groan, and your energy is nonexistent.
RELATED POST: Has Weight Loss Become More Important Than Your Faith
Even if you wanted to get out and serve others (and goodness, you do!), you really couldn’t do so effectively. You’re not investing enough into your health and fitness to reap the rewards.
Being “Too Fit” For Service
On the flip-side, you can be so fit and so lean that you must invest a ton of time and energy to keep it up. Your days are structured around workouts and meals and your thoughts are constantly swirling about managing them.
Even if you wanted to get out and serve others (and goodness, you do!) you’ve got no time and energy left. You’re investing more into your health and fitness than it is able to return to you.
RELATED POST: What You Need to Know About Body Image and the Bible
As you can see, we can be so fit or so unfit that it preoccupies our mind.
We can be so uncomfortable in our bodies– in the excess weight, in our inability to participate in activities– that we’re always thinking about ourselves.
We can also be so proud of our bodies– our ripped muscles, lean waist, and athletic accomplishments– that we’re always ruminating on thoughts about ourselves too. Not fun.
The Intersection of Christian Beauty and Service
What we are looking for is the sweet spot, the intersection of our available investment and the desired outcome. It’s a place where we do not have to think about our health and fitness all of the time (either in a “positive” or a “negative” way).
The intersection is…
…getting dressed without stressing about what to wear and simply walking out the door.
…making life-giving meals but not panicking when an opportunity to help someone out interrupts your plans (and you have to settle for a drive-thru instead).
…doing the good you’re called to do without the boundaries of poor health.
… becoming an example to those around you of what it means to truly care for God’s temple.
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, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)
The Balance of Christian Beauty and Service
If you’re looking to balance…
Your desire to be attractive + your desire to be healthy + your desire to live in line with God’s values… how does it work?
The answer lies in your heart.
Think about it: Two women could walk into a room. Both ladies are wearing a new outfit. They have their hair and makeup done and each walk with total confidence.
If we judged the outside, these women are identical.
However, one may be humble in the heart while the other is stepping out in pride. The outward appearance often communicates very little about what is going on in the heart.
Finding Your Balance
How is your balance? Do you feel skewed to one side or the other in your pursuit of Christian beauty?
To dig in a bit, ask yourself the following questions:
- How is the stewardship of my body? Am I caring for it in a way that I feel represents Who it belongs to?
- What is my motivation for wanting to change my outward appearance? Are there any areas that I could surrender to God, trusting that He will meet those needs?
- If I snapped my fingers and was suddenly a different size/shape, how would my life change and why does that matter to me? Could I steer these goals a little bit more in the direction of God?
I personally would like to be a bit leaner. Why? After examining my heart, I can see that I am motivated by other people’s opinions about me. I also want to be what the world defines as “beautiful.” It’s a very inward and very narrow focus for me.
So, I put it aside, once again.
What happens if my sole pursuit is being a good steward of my body?
Eating lots of nutrient-dense food, exercising regularly, getting good sleep, and living my life with joy?
And, what if my body looks like someone who does those things? That, my friend, will be pretty awesome!
By taking an aerial view, are you able to see where your balance lies? You can start by acknowledging that health is important and that putting forth an effort to look and feel your best is not automatically selfish.
Our best efforts are spent examining our hearts so that we can tend to Christian beauty in and then out, as directed by the Holy Spirit.
Living a Life of Christian Beauty
It’s important to feel good, but great health is most valuable because it enables us to do the things we’re called to do. Being overly focused on how we look and feel can be detrimental to our overall purpose.
The world’s standard of beauty doesn’t represent God’s values. Our size and shape are not nearly as important as the state of our hearts, but they may reflect what is going on in them.
To live a life of Christian beauty, it is essential that we are honest with ourselves and where we are spending our resources. Then, when the Holy Spirit prompts a change in either direction, it is our job to step on in obedient faith.
Then, watch for His grace to catch you.
Brandice Lardner is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Amazon #1 Best Selling Author, Homeschool Mom, and Jesus Girl whose mission in life is to help women ditch the diet mentality and find peace with food and their bodies so that they are better equipped to do the great things God has called them to do.
Hi Brandice, I really love this post. So many of us as Christian women struggle with this balance. I would love you to do a guest post at my blog on this topic. I post on Tuesday and Friday nights. I also live in Australia, so my time is a bit different to yours.
I personally have reached a goal weight that I love. Last year I was about 10 kilos heavier than I am now. I asked the Lord to help me keep food a “small” thing in my life and Jesus “big” in my life. I did not like the fact that I was always thinking about food a lot. I kept a food diary for about 6 weeks, weighing myself every day. It sounds obsessive, but I knew it was not going to be forever. I just wanted to see how food affected my weight. I also kept track of exercise. I knew that many times I had over exercised and under eaten. Then I went through times of no exercise and eating whatever. Anyway, I prayed about it every day. I also incorporated a program to improve my mental health. It’s called “the serotonin power diet”. I know it was an organised diet program, but I just took out the parts that I wanted to use but didn’t follow it strictly. (I have suffered from some very severe mental health problems, which are so much better now) I am feeling really well and at a good weight. I weigh myself about twice a week, but try not to obsess about it. However, I am always conscience that as a sinner, I can make food a “big” issue again, so praying for His grace in this area of my life is always something I will have to do.
I really, really appreciate your info. You are doing such a great job.
Thank you so much for commenting, Jane! It is so great to hear how you were able to find more peace around food with a few simple (Spirit-led) habits. A short time of focused effort sounds like it really paid off for you! I would love to do a guest post on your blog! I will email you now 🙂