“I have to go on a run today. I also need to get a workout in. I want a lean, muscled body. If I don’t run and workout, I am never going to look the way I want to. I am going to turn into pudding. Nobody likes pudding…”

What was I telling myself? Hello, everyone loves pudding.

While I desire and TRY to be intentional every day to see myself as wildly beautiful, separating that beauty from my physical appearance, I am not perfect. I still struggle. I have my weak moments. The above thoughts were part of a weak moment. Or a weak day. One that was largely driven by my stressing about whether or not I was going to “get that workout in.” The preservation of my self-esteem was on the verge of a cliff dive.

Working out is important to me. Running is important to me. I love challenging my body--to expand its limits. Or maybe just to find where those limits really lie. Because honestly, I think that you and I are far more physically capable than we allow ourselves to believe.

Running especially keeps me sane. It’s an excellent outlet for what are sometimes overwhelming emotions, and overall it makes my body feel good. It gives me energy, drive, and a reason to admire the strength that I’ve been created with. I believe that exercise is an extremely beneficial addition to a healthy life. And yet, everything good thing can be twisted into a bad one...

I know from personal experience that exercise is not a healthy addition when it becomes something that tears away your self-esteem. When you tell yourself (like I sometimes do) that it’s what is going to make you beautiful, happy, and fulfilled, it doesn’t actually end up enriching your life. It throws it into disarray.

And that’s not worth it.

After struggling with those thoughts all day, I decided something. Rather than give in to them, or “try” to convince myself that my motivations were right, I just simply took them away. I chose to not go on that run or to do that workout. Instead, I took a DEEP BREATH. I nestled into my husband’s arms, watched a good TV show, and later went to sleep. For me, that night, that was the healthier choice. To say, “Heather, you’re worth doesn’t lie in how you look. Don’t worry about it.”

I rely heavily at times on “things” or “activities” to find my value. Things that are temporary. That at the end of this life will have very little, if any, consequence. I worry too much about things that won’t last...

These are the “things” and “activities” that do determine my value: 1) that there is a God who created me, with a specific design and purpose, and 2) that through the suffering, death, and resurrection of his Son, he conquered death, making it possible for me (in all my imperfection) to spend eternity with him. He wants me. Just as I am, regardless of my physical appearance or ability. Now that’s wildly beautiful.

Maybe I should spend time worrying more about these things...About preserving my self-esteem through the truth of who I am in the Lord.

Guess what, people. It’s okay to miss a workout. It’s okay to miss a run. Exercise isn’t where our real worth and satisfaction rest. Take a DEEP BREATH, see yourself as the Lord sees you, and treat yourself accordingly.

Which might mean exercising. Or not. It might just mean eating pudding.