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The Perfect Size
Photo: Studiomill
I stand in front of the closet, discouraged again. The one pair of pants that actually fit me are already in the dirty clothes hamper. What will I wear today? Will I ever lose weight?

I come from a long line of women who have struggled with their weight and as I hit my 30’s, I joined them. I know what the problem is – it’s a simple equation for weight gain. Though I eat healthfully, I eat too much, and I don’t really like to exercise (unlike my marathon running, triathlon competing father).

To be honest, I’m not really sure what size I should actually be shooting for. I am fairly tall and would never be called “small boned” (I thank Grammy for my considerable calves). I’d be really skinny as a size 8, but am clearly overweight as a size 16. The problem is that to be a size 8, I’d need to watch every bite that enters my mouth as well as exercising like a fiend—in short, I’d need to obsess about my weight. However, when I’m a size 16 it actually shows me I’ve moved to the other extreme on the scale, which is neglect. I can eat anything I want and not exercise at all.

My Body a Temple

So which size does God want for me to be? Obviously, the goal is for me to be healthy… but that’s not all that is said. In 1 Corinthians 6:19 and 20 Paul writes, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 

So what does it mean to be a temple? The temple was the center of worship in the Bible. But the Israelites were often chastised by God for either neglecting or obsessing over their temple. For years they would allow the temple to become rundown or allow inappropriate practices to be carried out inside those holy walls. And then at other times, the temple building and objects inside would become more important to them than the worship itself. They brought idols into the temple of the Lord and carried out their idolatry (or obsessions) in God’s house.

Is it possible that even though the magazines make me think I should be as skinny as I can (for me a size 8, but for you maybe a size 2 or size 12), that’s not what God wants? I think God wants me to neither obsess over nor neglect my weight.

I have come to believe that God wants me to be a size 12. To be that size, I need to eat healthfully and exercise two to three times a week. For you, the balance between obsession and neglect might fall elsewhere. But I have come to accept that God’s vision for me is one of health and wholeness, not of extremes.

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By Joelle Yamada. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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