I recently read It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, by Lysa Terkeurst. (Amazing book and I highly recommend you check it out. I’m not affiliated with it in any way. I gain nothing but the joy of paying it forward by recommending it.)
You know how when you read something, you see it through the lens of what’s on your heart at the time?
When reading Chapter 11:”Upside Down”, what was on my heart that day was how to encourage others to move past fear and insecurities to get started with a fitness program. A complete picture of what fitness really is for many of us – something bigger and more important than appearance, scale weight, or dress size.
On page 215, Lysa shares her “paintbrush holder” rules for new artists as they approach a canvas for the first time. I hope she intended for those rules to applied how we need them, so let’s apply them to fitness.
A new fitness program is truly an exercise in faith. How many times have you heard the phrase “trust the process”?
There will be days when you have doubts because you can’t see changes. If you already have faith in God’s timing in other areas of your life, have faith in this, too. Changes happen at the cellular level first. Your health may improve long before you get back into those skinny jeans!
Patient consistency will work over time and visible changes will be seen in the mirror at some point.
Like painting, self-care is an expression of creativity. We get to try new things and pick activities we enjoy doing.
God created each of us with different skills, so that’s the creative part. My jam is lifting – but that’s not for everyone.
Lysa’s rules work for fitness, too.
Everyone must try.
None of us comes to fitness unburdened. You may be starting to fix a health issue created by a busy adult life. You may have a physical issue that makes certain activities harder. That’s ok. Try something else.
Obstacles are not meant to stop us – they are opportunities to push ourselves to become physically and mentally stronger. We are built to try, fail, learn, try again, and grow.
For years, I started programs and quit. When my mindset changed and I internalized that my self-care is actively honoring what God gave me, it helped me develop the consistency needed to reach my goals. Self-care is practicing faith. It’s acting on the trust placed in us when given this blessing of a physical body with bones, muscles, organs, a heart, and the intricate systems that we take for granted when they are working.
Give yourself permission to not be perfect.
No one starts a fitness program knowing everything they need to know. It will still work. Our bodies are expertly created to respond to positive changes we make with food and activity.
Many cells regenerate. We literally change fundamentally. If those new cells are coming into a healthier environment, they will be healthier.
A few months from now, you’ll be different. And you’ll want to learn more. You’ll want to change what you do. You’ll want to change foods.
There isn’t a “perfect program”. Even if you think what you’re doing isn’t the “best” program, it will still work better than a program on paper you aren’t doing.
Do. Learn. Improve. Remember – that’s baked in! We were built to try, fail, learn, try again, and improve.
You were created to be exactly who you are. The reasons why we have our perfect “flaws” may not be known to us. But your self-care isn’t about striving for some perfection because there is no such thing. There is only self-care and improvement.
Refuse to be intimidated by the process.
Our egos will self-talk us out of trying new things to protect us from failing. Expect it. Counter it. We are supposed to try, fail, learn, try again, improve.
If a certain activity intimidates you, do something else. I walked first. Eventually worked up my courage and hired a trainer to teach me how to lift because I knew I would like it.
Related: How to Start Lifting
The most beauty will emerge from the paintbrushes held by those who are most free from fear.
Instead of a paintbrush, our tools in fitness are nutrition and movement. But the fear is similar. We don’t want to look stupid. We don’t want to get hurt.
But if fear paralyzes you, that’s preventing you from caring for His kid.
If you gravitate to a certain activity, that’s probably the one that will give you the most joy. Maybe not every single time, but it is a gift to us to use to care for the blessing of a physical body.
This journey is yours and you are meant to walk this path (figurtively and maybe literally!) Resist the pressure to look a certain way because of what others look like. You also don’t have to follow fad diets or do an activity you hate.
I’m currently working through another book by Lysa, Embraced: 100 Devotions to Know God is Holding You Close. As a private person in the public eye, I sometimes have to deal with things online I hope you never experience. A quote from that book has helped me lately and it seems like a good reminder for all of us who strive to thrive…
We wrongly think we have to become something the world calls worthy.
Smile. I already love what will soon come to life on your canvas.
It’s already true – you’re His kid. Perfectly created, accepted, and loved as you are now. Self-care isn’t an expression of narcissism for most of us. It’s an expression of the daily gratitude for what we can do now. It’s excitement and joy because we will learn more and will be able to do new things later.
Would you like some scripture readings to support your journey? You may like one or more of these…
- Proverbs 3:5-6
- 2 Peter 1:5-6
- 2 Corinthians 12:9
- Matthew 7:13-14
- Psalm 73:26
If you’re already relying on your faith to help you get through life, I encourage you to bring it into your fitness journey.
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Hi! I'm Tammy! I was a busy, stressed, and unhealthy teacher until I decided to take control of my health. I did not become an athlete until I was in my 50's!
I earned personal training and fitness nutrition certifications, then retired from teaching to dedicate my work life to fitness education for other busy women over 40.
My results are obviously not typical because most people don't train to compete as a bodybuilder.
But I believe everyone can make positive changes with healthy habits! Each of us has a unique combination of strengths and challenges that need to be considered to customize a program that will work for us. Science-based principles, flexibility, and consistency make all the difference.