My mom loves the arts. Theater, photography, music, painting—you name it, she’s done it and done it well. For a while she got really into building her own picture frames.
She would make time to go to the arts and crafts shop where she would carefully select the wood, measure, cut, hammer, and paint until the frame was perfect. She knew that the right framing could accentuate the beauty of the picture inside. How you frame it matters.
This idea can apply to more than merely picture frames. Just as the right frame can make a photo or painting really pop, the way we think about food, fitness, and the language we use affects our attitude about them. In this way, we are all frame-builders.
Have you ever thought, “Uggghhh, I need to work out more.” If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably wondered, “Why is it so hard to eat healthy?” Without even realizing it, we can frame the ideas of physical fitness and nutrition as a punishment and a chore – something we don’t believe will bring us joy.
What if instead of taking on such a self-defeating attitude, we chose a different, more becoming frame? A frame that draws our focus to the place where the beauty lies. How might that look?
The Frame that Doesn’t Fit
There is a bad frame that we need to send to the dumpster. It’s the idea that spiritual things matter more than physical things. This line of thinking creates a false dichotomy between the physical and the spiritual, giving the illusion that some things we do are either spiritual (like reading the Bible and prayer) or physical (like eating and exercising).
In reality this is just a reinvented form of an early church heresy known as Gnosticism, which taught that spiritual things are good and physical things are bad. Gnosticism crept into the church as a Christianized form of the secular Greek philosophy of Dualism.
It became dangerous when it put Jesus into a frame that elevated His deity and denied his humanness. The church was convinced to be harsher on their physical bodies, denying their physical needs and strengths, and emphasized functioning in a legalistic spirituality.
Jesus came as both fully God and fully human, understanding and even empathizing with our physical weaknesses and teaching us how to walk in them with the help of His Spirit. While God did create us as human beings with a body, soul, and mind, these distinct parts of us were never intended to be separated (Matthew 22:37-40, 1 Corinthians 6:20).
If done with the right motive in the right way, every activity is an opportunity to worship and bring glory to God—whether it’s preparing or eating food, changing dirty diapers, singing in church, talking with a friend, going for a walk, or explaining to your child how to properly conjugate a word for what seems like the billionth time.
Everything we do is an opportunity to honor God. Especially when we know the next day is not promised, and our ability to even get up and walk on our own two feet is an absolute privilege. (Colossians 3:17&23, 1 Corinthians 10:31).
Maybe it’s time for us to make a better frame for food and fitness. One that includes dignity, respect, and gratitude. Reframing our thoughts will help us better see the freedom God intended for us to experience in body, soul, and mind. Let’s get rid of the guilt, legalism, and the world’s idea of what it means to be in shape. Instead let’s build a frame with truth, love and grace.
Lord Jesus, help us to love you with our heart, soul, mind and strength. Show us where our thinking needs some re-framing. Give us the grace we need to live in a way that honors the way you created our bodies to function. Help us to flourish. Amen.