I'm not sure how ya'll feel about resolutions. On the one hand, it might feel cliche' to make a resolution for the new year, and perhaps a little embarrassing to admit that you're not already perfect (Say whaaaa??). Or maybe you like to take each day as it comes and resolutions feel like too much pressure. But, on the other hand, sometimes we all need a little push to get us started down a new track. There isn't anything magical about the New Year, or a New Year's resolution, but we do know that the mercies of our God are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23) and that each new day is an opportunity for you (and me) to stand in His grace and become more like the person God made you to be.
So, if you're going to jump into the New Year with a resolution, I want to offer you 5 reasons why I think a HEALTH resolution is one every Christian should consider:
1. You are valuable. Your time is valuable, your thoughts are valuable, and *YES* your health is valuable. God made you not just with a spirit, but with a body; and that body is his gift. Yes, this world is broken and your body will fail you - maybe it is already failing you, but do not forget that you - body and soul - are valuable.
2. Health resolutions almost always involve discipline and self-control. These qualities are difficult for us to embrace in our society today, but exercising our discipline and self-control muscles (the jokes just write themselves, I'm tellin' ya) will strengthen our ability to exert self-control in other areas of our lives.
3. Losing weight, getting fit, being able to wear pre-pregnancy clothes, or cutting out sugar don't mean you have a vain heart. I think Christians feel afraid to have health and fitness resolutions because they sound much more superficial than "I resolve to pray for 8 hours a day," and other more spiritually focused resolutions. Don't be sucked in to this mentality! Any and every resolution can be vain if the motive of your heart is vanity. And, yes, I'll just come out and say it - the struggle with vanity is real, but don't let the fear of being seen as vain (or even - dare I say - actually being vain) keep you from pursuing a goal that will improve your health.
4. There are innumerable things that we, as Christian women, can do to serve Jesus and the world. Almost all of them are hard to do if you are tired, regularly unwell, and physically weak. Its hard to chase and cuddle children when you struggle to run or pick them up. It is hard to go to early morning prayer meetings when you are always exhausted; it is a challenge to commit to serving the homeless when you feel unwell as often as not. Jim Elliot, missionary and martyr, wrote about his participation in a wrestling team, "I wrestle solely for the strength and co-ordination of muscle tone that the body receives while working out, with the ultimate end that of presenting a more useful body as a living sacrifice." (Through Gates of Splendor, p.16) That's hardcore, but definitely worth considering.
5. Health resolutions are easy for most people to connect with. Your neighbour will likely understand your desire to start jogging in the morning. Your sister-in-law will probably identify with your desire to eat less crap and more veggies. These resolutions are inclusive, and can open doors for you to share your life with the people around you. Ask that lonely co-worker to walk with you over lunch. (Resolve to WALK and be a WITNESS). Ask your weary spouse to come to bed with you early each night (Resolve to SLEEP and be a SERVANT). Invite your pal to give up eating dessert with you for a month and message each other sweet encouragements instead. (Resolve to eat FRUIT (instead of dessert) and be a FAITHFUL FRIEND). Use your health resolution to better yourself and to love the people around you.
Are you convinced? If not, I limited myself to 5 reasons, so just let me know and I'll bombard you with even more reasons why you should consider making a health resolution for 2016. MmmK?
Take some time to think about how you're doing, spiritually, emotionally, and physically and consider whether a New Year's resolution is an opportunity for you to embrace something new and good in 2016.
Emily has worked in student ministry and is a Personal Fitness Trainer and Health Coach, who loves bringing those two passions together. She is also a wife to one of the coolest dudes around and mother to the other coolest dude in town.