At 40 years old, I made the decision to quit smoking. This was a decision that I made out of a desire to pursue health and ultimately, it was informed by this scripture from 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
Still, I didn’t begin to truly live into this idea of honoring God with my body until almost a decade later, when I saw photos of myself at my son’s wedding and thought, “something has got to change.” I made changes to my diet, exercise, and lifestyle, and I feel like I am truly at a place where I am honoring God with my whole self – mentally, spiritually, and physically.
Before COVID, life was good. You know, I never realized just how good it was until it all came to a halt when the world shut down. I used to serve on the worship team at church, and I would go to the gym regularly to do cardio while listening to music that was scheduled for that week’s service. I own my own business – a salon – and would work about 3 days a week, which allowed me to travel, volunteer in my community, serve at church, work out, and spend time with others during the other 4 days. I am also a deadlift competitor and currently hold the state champion title in my home state. I had a life that I loved, and then it all changed.
When the pandemic began, my entire social life and routine abruptly stopped, which I know many of you reading this can relate to. I lost my ability to run my business as usual, I stopped serving at church to minimize my exposure to others, and I was unable to volunteer with people the way that I was used to. My morning routine ceased to exist and I struggled to get my day started before 1 or 2 pm most days. However, I eventually realized that I needed to resume some form of normalcy and get myself back on track mentally, spiritually, and physically.
(Check out, “Sinnarolls,” to read more about the unique way that I found joy serving others during COVID)
In this world where everything felt out of control, I asked myself, “what do I still have control over?” The answer was simple: my relationship with God. While everything else may have changed, I had the power to put things into place to grow that relationship; to get back into a routine that allowed me to live out 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. I began to practice self-discipline as I implemented daily work-outs, time in prayer and worship, and meal planning. I know, this might not work for everyone, but it worked for me.
The entire experience of praying, worshipping, and exercise isn’t just physical for me; it is a spiritual time to connect with God in a tangible way. It helps me to get my head and heart ready for the day and to ground myself in something routine in a world of chaos. It feels good, but still, it requires a high level of dedication and discipline.
I have found so much joy in this, and not just because I enjoy competing in deadlift competitions or because I actually like the routine of meal-prep and planning, but because I have gained a stronger, more grounded and healthy relationship with Christ. We are spiritual beings with minds and bodies to care for, and I feel responsible to do my best to care for this body that God has given me. And at the end of the day, when I’m not at 100%, I struggle to find the strength to be a support for others.
As we move into a (hopefully) post-pandemic reality, I’m grateful for this season of growth in myself, because it has connected me to Christ in a new way. Jesus Christ is the foundation of all that I do, and in my pursuit of finding what I could control, I have surrendered it all to Him. He has given me a good life, a strong mind and body, and I pray that I will be able to inspire others to pursue wellness as an act of worship.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31
“Can You See the New Thing God Is Doing?” from Propel Women
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mom of two military sons, grandma, a salon owner, Jesus follower, sinaroll-makin’ deadlift competitor excited to serve her community. Sherry Rowe. #BODYMINDSOUL