Perfection is an Illusion by Stephanie Nickel
I could start this post by summarizing my spiritual goals. After all, since I’m a Christian, these should far surpass any physical health and fitness goals I have, right?
Well, the answer is yes and no.
I do want to be spiritually healthy above all else. And if I had to choose between physical, mental, emotional or spiritual health, I would choose the latter.
Thankfully, at least at this point in my life, I do not have to make that choice.
So, setting aside my spiritual goals for the time being, let’s examine my physical goals.
My ideal self, my “perfect” self, looks something like this: 129 lbs., size 9, 25 percent body fat, well-defined biceps, hamstrings and quads, flat stomach.
And guess what! As things stand, this is realistic and attainable—with a significant amount of hard work.
What would I have to do?
- Eat small meals throughout the day
- Increase my fruit and veggie intake
- Eliminate—or at least drastically reduce—my intake of processed foods
- Steer clear of calorie-rich desserts and beverages
- Drink more water—much more water
- Do resistance training 3-6 times per week
- Raise my heart rate (likely by going for a brisk walk) for 30 minutes 6 times per week
And by the way, you should feel free to check in with me later this year. Before the end of 2015, it is my goal to implement all of the above.
But even if I become “my ideal self,” I can’t claim to be perfect. For one, who’s to determine what constitutes perfection for “a woman of a certain age”—or anyone else for that matter? Many of you reading this would not be satisfied if all of the above descriptors were true of you, while others of you might be pleased to achieve my current level of health and fitness. We’re all different. And despite what some people think, the ideal is illusive and perfection is simply an illusion.
If we become obsessed with our physical well-being, the other areas of our life can suffer.
If we neglect it altogether, it is guaranteed that they will suffer—even if we try our best to deny it.
Will I attain my perception of the ideal weight, pant size, etc.? I don’t know. But I do know if I begin to exercise more and eat well, my body will find its “happy place.” That might be 140 lbs. and a size 12. We’ll see.
But when I find that happy place, I will think more clearly, work more efficiently, have a more positive outlook on life, and set a good example for those whose lives intersect my own.
And in the end, even our spiritual well-being is tied up in our physical health—at least to a certain extent. Though healthy eating and regular exercise aren’t a guarantee that we won’t fall victim to sickness and disease, God created us in such a way that we decrease our chances of getting everything from the common cold to life-threatening diseases if we do what we can to keep fit.
And when we are fit, we will be much better able to study God’s Word and retain what we read. We will be able to focus our attention and spend time with Him in prayer. We will have energy to interact with those He brings into our lives. We will be good stewards of that which He has entrusted to us.
Does God love us more if we’re healthy? No!
Can we be effective ambassadors of Christ if we’re carrying a little—or a lot of—extra weight? Most certainly!
If we’re battling the consequences of poor choices we made in the past, does that invalidate our efforts to serve the Lord? No. No! NO!
I would encourage you to abandon your pursuit of perfection. Instead, seek to be your best in order to live the life God has placed before you to the fullest. And trust Him and His plans starting right now.
Check out other articles by Stephanie