Would a Proverbs 31 Woman Have Time for the Gym?

Would a Proverbs 31 woman have time to go to the gym?

If you’d posed that question several years ago, I’d have popped my headphones back into my ears and continued repping to my favorite worship music, or pounding the pavement to the lively voice of a good preacher. I certainly would not have wanted to answer you. I didn’t have a problem; I had a healthy addiction to being “healthy”.

I accepted Christ as the one true God and my personal savior at the age of seven. Since then, growing in a godly home, I was taught to aspire after the mysterious Proverbs 31 Woman. But through the tangled years of adolescence, a different god warped my thinking and I began to pursue the idols of beauty, strength and thinness, all the while professing the risen Christ and devoting (my spare time) to Him. Let me share the short list of what it cost, or almost cost me …

Finish reading this post at: Proverbs31Woman

Is Yoga Sinful?

It’s no secret–I love exercising. It used to be an absolute, unhealthy obsession. And I will admit that yoga helped to break that for me. Yoga brought me to place of movement that didn’t equate calories; yoga some how melted stillness and activity together; yoga makes me strong in ways that nothing else ever has; yoga calls itself a practice and not a workout … and really, when I finish a yoga class, I can often hear the Lord whispering to me. As I lay in shavasana, Scripture washes my mind, prayers come easily and peace reigns. (Of course, this doesn’t happen every time without fail, but it’s more often than not.)

And then, someone (more that one someone) told me that yoga is sinful. They seemed like they knew so much about it. I heard that the poses were offerings to false gods, I heard that it was based on false, eastern religions. I heard that Christianity and yoga were mutually exclusive.

And then I heard otherwise … so what to believe?

So, finally, I just made my own call. I love yoga. I know that God healed me from anorexia–it was all Him–and I also know that yoga was a big part of that. But truthfully, I didn’t tell a lot of people about my home practice. I wasn’t sure how to defend it. I wasn’t prepared to be criticized for my decision. 

Enter, a podcast that I stumbled upon today: Faithful Wellness interviewed Brooke Boon, the founder of Holy Yoga, and it made sense! Rather than try to restate everything that Brooke said with such clarity, I’ll simply post the podcast and link here for you.

This blog started as a chronicle of my recovery from anorexia then, it hosted the launch of my book: The Predatory Lies of Anorexia, so it only seems fitting that it continue to proclaim Christ, freedom, health, hope and clarity to those who are looking for freedom from body image, weight issues and eating disorders.


LASTing Peace, “How Does God Want Me to Workout?”

Does God want you to exercise? Is all exercise a vain and idolatrous pursuit? Let’s talk about that today.
Here’s the link to Desiring God that I mentioned in the video:
Because He Lives!

Burning Plows

fireOn Monday, we talked a little bit about burning bridges. We have to eliminate all options besides recovery if we are to recover from an eating disorder, or any other addiction. It’s the same in our walk with Jesus; we have to forsake all other options, burn all bridges to the past, in order to follow Him.

The example we looked at first was Elisha in 1 Kings 19. Elisha had been plowing in his father’s field, behind 12 yoke of oxen, when Elijah threw his cloak over him. In essence, Elijah was commissioning Elisha to become his disciple, to follow in his footsteps and to become like him. The interesting part is that Elisha didn’t simply say, “Okay,” pack his bags and leave. First, he slaughtered the oxen and burned the plows. He had no alternative now, all that was left was to obey Elijah, all of his past life was destroyed.

When we accept God’s free offer of grace, to follow Jesus and to submit our lives – including our addictions and disorders – to Him, it is essential that we burn all bridges to the past. There is no plan B.

Now, I want to take a quick, hypothetical peek beyond Elisha’s story and meld it a little bit to my own. I wonder, if Elisha ever wanted to go back? Certainly, there were tough times ahead. After Elijah was gone, Elisha bore a heavy burden as a major prophet to rebellious Israel. I wonder if he ever walked past his old home, visited his parents and wished that he could return to simpler, familiar days? Did he feel loss?

Recently, I have felt the bare knuckle punch of rejection. It’s worst when no one intends to hurt you, but invariably everyone does. And, it’s because I can’t go back.

When we moved back to Columbus, GA, I was excited because this time I already knew people in the area. Unlike so many previous moves to places unknown, there were familiar streets and places and people in this southern town. Most of my friends were from the running club. I used to meet them four mornings a week for runs up to 21 miles. We also celebrated a few birthdays together, organized local races and got pedicures for our swollen, post-run feet. But since I have begun walking full-heartedly in recovery, I had to forsake distance running and in a sense, burn my running shoes, a bridge to the past.

Right after we arrived in Georgia, I met one old running buddy for coffee. I chatted with a couple on Facebook, bumped into two downtown. I have been politely dismissed. And it hurts. You see, each of them invited me to join them for a run, asked if I was still doing races told me of upcoming running club plans. I cannot go. You see, I burned plan B.

My only viable option is anything but returning to old habits that fueled my eating disorder. For me, one of those was compulsive, extensive exercise – especially running.

If you give up your eating disorder, or other addiction, what bridges, shoes, plows will you have to burn? Will it cost you something? Will you ever have the opportunity to look back and then realize there’s no way to go back?

If you have decided to follow Jesus in all that is His best for you, including your health, physical body, habits and heart, burn everything else.

Changing My Mind

Quietness and rest were foreign to me during the painful years of my eating disorder. In fact, they were down right scary. If my body was resting, then obviously, I wasn’t working hard enough to burn every available calorie. If my mind was quiet, then obviously, I wasn’t worrying enough about my last meal or my next one. I wasn’t meticulously counting the calories burned during my last workout or plotting my escape from a lunch date with friends. I truly believed that my frantic mind and anxious diligence made me stronger than others, both physically and mentally….

Read the rest of this post at FINDINGbalance.com

Guest Post at Haven Journal

There are two very important rules about running.

1. Don’t run unless you absolutely love it.
2. Don’t stop running when you hate it.

Between those margins, you’re safe to pursue running as a sport, or as a fun, safe and effective means to stay healthy.

Running has become the default mode of all broken exercise programs. It’s simple, requires little special equipment, can cause fast weight loss, and gee, almost everybody’s doing it. However, those who begin running as merely a painful means to an end, such as weight loss, will almost surely find themselves discouraged and maybe even injured.

If you’re sure that running is for you, if it seems to reset you emotionally and physically, if it provides you with much needed time outside in the fresh air, if it is the best start or end to your day that you can possibly imagine, then by all means, grab your shoes! And take notes, I’m going to give you a few pointers.


From PrayFit, “Unearned Health”

It almost feels like cheating, borrowing another post from Jimmy Pena, over at PrayFit. However, the silliness of attempting to re-express something so well-written to begin with, has overridden my embarrassment.

I’ve included the full text here, but I highly recommend that you visit their website for numerous other excellent devotionals and fitness information.

Read: James 1

You’ve likely seen someone boast that health is “Always earned, never given.” Sounds reasonable, right? You put in the work, you get the reward. Soundsreasonable, but it’s not true. Health is not earned. Granted, some people appropriately celebrate their health (and hopefully more and more of us each day), but even the byproducts of that discipline — toned muscle, greater endurance, increased strength — gift…gift…gift. Oh we don’t like to admit it. We like to think we’ve earned the right to raise that banner and boast, “I EARNED THIS!” But in truth, it’s when we realize we have undeserved and unearned health that we can make the greatest impact with it.

You might also consider the flip-side. There are those among us who are statistically apparently healthy, but who choose a sedentary lifestyle over an active one. Those who opt for poor food choices over balanced, sensible meals. Despite great genetics, honorable stewardship is the furthest thing from their minds. If you’re like me, you may have people close to you who have absolutely no health issues, but have no issue with abusing it; alive but not living. Healthy vital signs? Sure. Earned? No. A gift. Unopened, but a gift nonetheless.

Whether they’re opened or still neatly wrapped, the bible says that every single gift comes from above and that includes the body. So just remember, as you wake up with grace and mercy, check and see if your limbs work and if your heart’s beating. If all systems are go, then celebrate! Treat life like a Christmas morning kind of present. Open it up! It’s when you see what’s inside that you can really see what’s inside you! And you can’t give God the glory and claim it at the same time. Christians have to choose. So choose to walk, train, run, swim, strive, push, claw, climb, and reach with every single, grateful, thankful, humble, undeserved, unearned gift of health you got.

–Jimmy Peña