If you know me at all, you'll know I'm slightly obsessed with health and wellness. I am aware of the newest trends in diet and fitness and constantly find myself interested in detoxes and fasting. Every couple months I tell myself I should try vegetarianism or a gluten-free diet or something totally obscure that will definitely bring a health I can't obtain with my current lifestyle. Right now, I am abstaining from diary, hoping to have a result that will ensure less acne. Case and point.
The past couple weeks I've really had the idea of motives on my brain and heart. What are my motives? What drives me to make the choices I make? What are the compelling reasons I live the way I do and are they healthy, wise reasons? Are my motives honest and pure?
When I think about American consumerism I instantly think of beauty, materialism, and relationships; in that order. Amongst other passions of the American palate, it seems as if these three values are our top motivators and we truly believe that if we have those three values covered, we'll be happy. We're inundated with advertising and social expectations to adhere to these values. The media we're exposed to tell us happiness and joy will abound as a result. We all believe this... on some level.
Deep down we know this isn't the case and that our real joy comes from the Lord; knowing he loves us and wanting to love him in return.
I've been examining my own life and noticing trends within my own heart. Every other week I set new goals for my diet... and this typically happens after I see myself in the mirror... or I try on a pair of jeans that are too tight... or I spend time with my skinny friends (you know who you are!)... or I watch the Today Show and see a transformation episode. And BAM! It's so clear to me that my motives for health and wellness aren't just that... they're pressure I'm putting on myself to be something different; something prettier or skinnier or sexier than I already am.
I ask myself, when am I going to believe in myself? When am I going to see myself through the lens of Christ? When will I accept myself as the woman God intended me to be? And why is that so hard to do? When will I learn to just love God in return?
In this season of Lent I am not giving anything up (which is the Lenten tradition and a huge temptation for those of us who would LOVE to lose that last 10 pounds), but focusing on my motives. Seeking penance for my misguidance is key.
See...Christ died for our sin... for my sin. He gave himself in a horrid, loving way and sacrificed his own flesh so that we would be able to be in the presence of God... holy and blameless. My own flesh is weak and in spite of this beautiful gift of grace I still see myself through a sinful lens. A lens that tells me I'm not enough and if I am skinnier, I will be acceptable and lovable. If I have a flawless complexion, I will be blameless and attractive. If my diet is weird and challenging I must be a good person after all.
I want to understand the love of God and be able to share that with others. But how can I do that if my motives are in the wrong direction? My love is selfish and egocentric. This is not how God loves. It is my goal to love myself in a way where God shines through. Accepting the gift of grace and allowing myself to be exactly how God intended is how I want to love others, by showing them (and myself) that we are acceptable only when we accept ourselves.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. -Galatians 2:20