I’ve been chronicling my journey of losing weight this week. It is by far the thing I get questions about the most. You can read part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6 here to get some background on this post. I talked in part 2 about the idol of food, one thing I want to end on is the idol of being in shape.
In the same way that it is easy for us to make an idol out of food. It is just as easy to make an idol out of exercise, being in shape, looking fit. This hits a different idol. While food can often be for comfort, the idol of being in shape often hits approval.
When I got assessed for Acts 29, they asked about my weight loss. The reason is because most church planters put on a ton of weight. The stress of church planting, the meetings at restaurants and coffee shops, the long hours, sleepless nights lead a lot of guys to put weight on. I was the opposite. I think that is one of the reasons we were able to make it through the hard start up months of Revolution.
As I described my journey, which you’ve read this week and talked about the idol of food one of the guys asked me at the end of the story, “Has exercise become your idol?” I think at first, as I was losing weight it did. If I missed a workout I would get angry, like I used to if I was hungry. It is natural for this to happen. When you lose 100 pounds, 12 inches off your waist, you want to keep it off. This makes sense. But it doesn’t make it right to make it an idol. It is easy to trade one idol (food) for another idol (being in shape or working out).
Now, I am not as tough on calories or working out as I used to. Our church has grown significantly, so has our family. It is harder and harder to make time to workout, so I’ve created a plan that fits my life. In fact, I went 10 days without working out to see if my food plan would allow me to not gain weight, and it did. If you have lost a bunch of weight and are working out, go a week without working out. If you just gasped, you may have an idol of working out that you need to deal with.
Don’t mishear me, there is nothing wrong with working out, being in shape, wanting to be healthy. Only when we elevate it to a high status in our lives. When we find our identity in working out or being in shape.