Ok. Let me be the first to say that when we got ready to study this principle I wanted to find an excuse to not be in class. I would not be the person that would fall into any real category of being “physically fit” and I haven’t been since I was about 16 years old. Life circumstances, college, and 2 (almost 3) children have aided in my lack of what some would call “physical fitness.”
However, I was pleasantly surprised (as I have been through each one of these lessons) that my clothing size doesn’t really have much to do with how physically fit I am for the job that God has called me to do.
Defining Physically Fit
The best way to think about the concept of physically fit when we are putting it in the context of the Proverbs 31 woman is that she is in good physical conditions. This has 3 criteria that goes with it:
- She is suitable. She has assessed the job requirements and determined where she needs to adjust and adapt to get the job done.
- She is proper. She has taken her suitability and combined it with good judgement.
- She is fit. She has learned to work within the requirements of the job and made adjustment when needed.
An Attitude Adjustment
Proverbs 31:17 says:
She dresses herself with strength and makers her arms strong.
Here we see this woman has a realistic attitude about the condition of her body. She takes the time to evaluate the things she can do and she doesn’t dwell on the things she can’t. She realized, like we have discussed in previous principles, that she has limitation and she has abilities. She has learned to work within those parameters.
Often times we think that we have to go to the gym and have a lot of intentional focused “work out” time if we are going to get any type of exercise done in our day. However, if we were to take the time to sit and really think about the things we do to manage our homes each day we would realize that the activities that take place in our home are the same that take place in the gym. You rush up and down hallways and stairs (if you have them), you bend over and pick things up several times a day. You squat to kiss a boo boo, clean up a mess, or communicate with a child. If you are like me and can’t reach the top shelf well, you climb, stair step, or jump to reach things high above you. Exercise can, and does, happen anywhere if you think of things in the right manner.
An important area that we as women who are striving to become “physically fit” is to learn to read our own bodies. Each one of us has a cycle that ebbs and flows. We will have good days where we are sure we could take on anything and we will have bad days that leave us wanting to do little more than climb into bed, hide under the blankets, and wait out the return of Jesus. How we respond to each of those peaks and valleys as well as whatever happens in between will also determine how well we are ‘fit’ for the job we have been given to do. When we take the time to really know our body we can learn to plan for various occasions and set our schedules (to the best of our ability) around the good days and the bad.
A Living Sacrifice
In Romans 12:1 Paul reminds us that we are to present our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord. Our bodies are to be holy and pleasing to the Lord. When the Israelite people brought their sacrifices to the Lord in the Old Testament the were called to bring God the very best. He wanted the first and the best each time they presented a sacrifice. This is no different for us today. God wants us to give Him the very best of ourselves. We can only do this if we take the necessary measures to care for our body.
Eating the right foods, moving in some manner each day (as a busy wife/mother/homemaker this should be an easy aspect), and getting enough rest are all important areas that must be maintained to be a presentable sacrifice to the Lord. This means we need to learn and understand the importance of recreation. Having fun and taking some down time is ok. It is a good thing to do. We all need time to rest and recharge so that we can function at the best of our ability.
We also have to learn to be managers of our time and not become a frazzled, stressed out version of ourselves. Through managing our time, planning out our days, weeks, and months we can in essence “gird our loins”. We can be prepared for what might come by knowing what will come. If we know our schedule and have a basic routine down it is so much easier to adjust to the sudden onset of illness, emergency circumstances, and days just not going quite right. When we take the time to present our best to God, preparing for anything that might come along, living in the realm of being physically fit for the task God has assigned to us we are able to create a welcoming environment that provides rest and refuge for those in our care and those who cross our paths.
A Final Thought
The idea of being “physically fit” has been so distorted by the world’s view of what a ‘fit’ person looks like. Any time I hear the term being ‘physically fit’ I automatically begin to shrink back hoping that no one notices me standing in the crowd. But God has a different perception. Should we take care of our bodies? Absolutely! But are we required to be a size 2 in order to say we have done that? Not at all. At the end of the day, what we are required to do is have the capabilities to complete the task that God has given us. We need to be able to effectively manage our homes, be present and active in the lives of our family and those around us, and give the absolute best to God as we present ourselves as a living sacrifice each and every day we are granted time here on earth.
Are you giving God your ‘first fruits’? Is the living sacrifice you are presenting to the Lord each day your best and brightest? If not, what can you do to ensure you are caring for your body so that you might be ‘physically fit’ enough to give God the best you have to give? Join me next time when I talk about the principle of being economical.