I love the changing of the seasons because they are a reminder of how life ebbs and flows. As we watch nature change right before our eyes, we see that we can trust the beautiful picture God is painting. I remember this really hit me as I drove up North the fall after my Dad died to go write my book. As I grieved, I just had to be still and even enjoy the season I was in surrounded by the beauty of nature. I'd lost my Dad and it was devastating, but it was also really beautiful. My focus at the time was letting my heart heal from the loss. Working out, was not. I did what I could with the season I was in.
What are you doing today in the season that you're in with what you have? Are you keeping it simple? Or are you hurriedly planning for the next because you are afraid to feel what's going on in this one? If you are piling on a million things so you stay busy, I get it. I had a recent bout with that and didn't even realize I was doing it. It must have been the post-high school students/empty nester brain. As soon as the house was empty it was like, "Okay, let me do everything on my list!" I'm sorry, what?
Let me tell you what I am doing to be still and enjoy the season I'm in. I'm working on a new book, as I mentioned last week. I'm also focusing on getting back into my body. We all go through seasons where our body is more the boss than we are and I am coming out of one of those. Now I have the time and the space to get healthy again. But as someone who has been an exercise addict there are two principles that are incredibly important to me:
#1. I come into it knowing that my body is a vessel for the Holy Spirit but also knowing that it's not a god to be worshipped. 1 Corinthians 6:19 AMP tells us, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body."
#2. It's also true for me that physical health is important, but spiritual health is even more so. These are important things for me to remember on my journey of health. 1 Timothy AMP tells us, "For physical training is of some value, but godliness (spiritual training) is of value in everything and in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and for the life to come."
So, I've been, as Fergie says, "up in the gym just workin' on my fitness."
Here's the thing though. This season I've been in with my health, I'm not coming into a new one trying to "fix" myself so I can be good enough or accept myself. I accept myself as I am today. I want you to know that you don't have to wait until you are "fit" to be accepted. When we accept that we are loved by God, we can accept that God wants us to change for the better. In John 10:10 it says, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." Part of that is feeling good in our bodies so we can be vessels for Him! It's not about getting better looking or fitting into better clothes, but ultimately it's about Him. The healthier we are, the more able He is to use us. But that doesn't mean He's not using us now! He wants to work with us to improve our health, he's not EXPECTING us to get it right so He can accept that. If that's what you believe, please listen to me, that's not who God is. He loves you JUST the way you are.
When we can see ourselves as God sees us, we can meet ourselves in the season we're in and begin to move forward. That means accepting where we're at and totally ENJOYING that part of the season! And yes, that means not focusing on our plans or a goal weight. It means focusing on HIM. Focus on the journey, not the goal. Focus on Him in the midst of it, not down the road. Imagine God is the yellow stripes down the middle of a road and just keep your eyes on Him.
Some of us aren't in seasons where working out is really an option. We can't get away because work is too busy, kids are busy, or a beautiful baby has come into our life! That's okay! I truly believe THAT is where God is wanting YOU to Be Still and ENJOY the Season you're In. If you can get away and go for a walk or hit a yoga class, then go for it. But don't beat yourself up for where you are at my friend!
Oh, and guess what I've got to do this every day too!! Right now, not having kids in the house has allowed me to get up early and go workout to get the day started. So I've been doing a mix of walking, barre workouts and yoga. I love it because they all are low impact, and the classes have awesome instructors and atmospheres. I'm not running miles that kill the knees that I have left. I'm being gentle on my body and mind.
It's funny because last week I was at an early barre class and I talked with two ladies after class. As we rolled our eyes to share in the exhaustion, we laughed about how we're moving slow and how we used to be able to do push-ups, planks and runs a lot more in the past but we are meeting ourselves where we're at. Where? Right NOW. And just the night before I went to that class, I made a remark to my husband (not beating myself up, but just noticing) "Wow, I'm kinda out of shape." Thankfully, I'm doing something about it. But you know what my husband said, "Honey give yourself a break. You've been in a season." He was right. The last four years of our life together had been one crazy season with every kind mixed into it. But it was a beautiful thing to hear Him say that.
The next day after I got home from the gym, I started to prepare this week's message and listened to Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are." Started balling, just realizing that my husband truly loves me just the way I am. What a gift God!! I realized how crazy it is that we always think in the demanding seasons of life we're not beautiful or something. But if we're showing up, however we're supposed to show up in that season, being still and enjoying it? That's where we're beautiful. Right now, in the season that we're in.
So here's my message. Ladies we are all beautiful - just the way we are in whatever season we're in. I don't care if you've got scars or baby puke on your face, you are beautiful. I don't care if your pants size went up or you need a haircut (like me). I don't care how much you want to say, "But I'm not as pretty as so and so." I care that you ARE. You really are beautiful JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. I know you may not be feelin' me right now but believe me. Be kind to yourself, and your body. Forgive yourself for not being further along in health or some other area. You are where you are and God's okay with that because that's exactly where he wants you to be...still.
Here are two verses that God gave me in devotion time recently that I think speak to this message:
You ARE fearfully and wonderfully made. "I will give praise and thanks to You; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my Soul knows it very well." Psalm 139:14 AMP
You faith is worth more than gold (Amazing!!). "In this you rejoice greatly, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, which is much more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested and purified by fire, may be found to result in [your] praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:6-7 AMP
Finally, here are a few videos that I think speak to it as well. Maybe you can add them to your workout playlist to remind you: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.
Here's Your Playlist for the Week With Videos Below:
Alessia Cara, Scars to Your Beautiful
Bruno Mars, Just the Way You are
Pitch Perfect Girls, Just the Way You Are
Billy Joel, Just the Way You Are