This past summer, I went on a major health kick.
I read articles galore on high protein diets, cutting out dairy or ways to cut sugar cravings.
Feeling the freedom of a lenient schedule and my parents’ money for groceries, I jumped in wholeheartedly.
I ate so many colorful fruits and vegetables. My snacks were full of “power protein” to keep me going.
The thoughts rolled through my head: “I feel great. I feel wonderful. My body has never felt or looked better.”
But inside, I was dying.
My mind said an apple, but my heart and soul said a large ice cream cone with sprinkles.
The cravings kicked in and all I wanted was for them to go away.
I pushed away every thought, thinking it was a weakness.
After all, healthy is strong, and strong is the new beautiful.
But, I felt miserable and my stomach grumbled within 20 minutes after eating lunch.
Looking back at this constant cycle of new health kicks, I am tired.
I wish that for all of us, we could understand the beauty of embracing wonderful food for all that it is.
God blessed us with amazingly complex bodies that can climb mountains, run miles and swim across deep lakes.
So why do we choose to hate them so much?
These past few weeks, I have worked toward understanding the joy that God wants for us in the beginning of each new day.
I have grown tired of counting calories. I would rather count the blessings.
Instead of running five miles at top speed, I want to be able to stop and enjoy the beauty of the sun shining upon the bay.
God does not want us to hate our minds or bodies or anything about ourselves.
In his message to us through Psalm 139, we hear that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
It goes beyond the dinner plate and the scale. His grace goes into your soul.
I see my friends every day at the Recreation and Wellness Center working toward a goal.
Some want to stay in shape, but others crave something more.
If God had to give us a workout, it would be for our souls, not our bodies.
I praise the Lord that bikini season is over.
The pressure of looking my best should not override my joy and love for each day as I think about when I can eat next or how many miles I can reach tomorrow.
As fall and winter slowly, or rather quickly, arrive, we will enter a season of lots of food.
Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas cookies will adorn our plates.
But with those excessive calories and fats comes joy and love and a sense of belonging.
If I was invited to Thanksgiving dinner at God’s house, I do not think he would be offering me a gluten-free stuffing or sugar-free pie.
We would be loading up our souls with food that nourishes us beyond what we physically need.
So, please, accept that piece of pumpkin pie. And add that whipped cream on top.