I know it’s not considered the most masculine thing in the world to talk about insecurities. If you’re like me, it’s more comfortable to pretend like you have it all together. Especially online, where you’ll be open to more criticism than you typically would face to face. Regardless, I want to share one thing I’ve struggled with for most of my adult life.
I’m talking about body image and perception. I know for the most part you see women talking about this stuff, but it’s a real thing for men too.
For the last 10 years I’ve felt like some part of my body could use work. That if I could just get bigger muscles or lose more weight, people would finally accept me.
The more I work out and get closer to the goals I set for myself, the more I realize that not many people treat me differently. No one cares as much as I thought, and even if they do, they don’t vocalize it one way or another.
Don’t get me wrong, I'm sure I’ll be more confident with my shirt off and I definitely feel better, but getting in shape didn't heal my insecurities. It actually revealed them more.
The definition of insecurity in the dictionary is: “uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence”.
As a Christian, I believe insecurity comes from misplaced security. When we place our identity in things other than Jesus, it usually leads to insecurity in some form, because nothing truly satisfies the way that he does.
No matter where your insecurity lies, it will never go away by getting more of what you feel like you’re lacking. If you don’t believe me, look at the extremes that our society has gone in all directions with consumerism and health. We are taught to believe: If I can just get that next promotion or lose ten more pounds, then I’ll finally be happy. It may not be in the front of your mind, but I believe if you search your heart, you’ll find an area where you are lacking that you feel like needs improvement to have a better quality of life.
If you place your security in looks or things it will leave you feeling empty.
If you’re reading this saying to yourself: “that’s not me”, then awesome. I would say you are further along in sanctification than most and there are other areas that God would like you to grow in. However, if you’re like me and you struggle with vanity, here are a few things to partner with instead of insecurity.
Things God finds beautiful:
All creatures are beautiful to him. (Genesis 1:31)
Brokenness is beautiful to him. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Humility is beautiful to him. (James 4:6)
Security is beautiful to him. (Matthew 6:25-34)
These revelations have brought a lot of healing in my life. No matter how much I lack security or fail, God accepts me. No matter how lost I am, he’s right there looking for me to stop and let him find me and know me. Worrying about the way my body looks is just surface fruit of a much more problematic root.
I wasn’t looking to God to find acceptance.
This realization meant nothing without action. Instead of focusing on myself I decided to worship God with my workouts. Previously, fitness was an area that I rarely even thought about Jesus. Now it’s time set aside to commune with him.
My workouts have transformed because of this revelation. It’s no longer just trying to meet goals when I go to the gym or running trail. When I run, every step is devoted to God in worship. When I lift or do yoga, I’m worshiping him. It’s led to a crazy transformation in my heart and body. There is no longer an external end goal for fitness. It’s become a beautiful time to push myself in surrender to my Creator.
I’ll still have personal goals like getting to a certain weight or running a faster 5k, but it’s not healthy to kill myself in the process. I’m just enjoying the journey instead.
If you’re not there yet, you might think I sound crazy. My advice if you are struggling with the way your body looks is to spend your exercise time communing with God and strive to find security in how he sees you. At the end of the day, you only have one life, and in my opinion it's a waste of time to worry about what other people think about the way your body looks.
Monthly Check In:
I ran a 5k with my Uncle Clint last week. He is a much better runner than me and he’s helped me learn to enjoy running. (That’s not a sentence I ever thought I’d type) I didn’t meet my goal of under 30 minutes. I missed it by 3 minutes. Oh well, that leaves room for more improvement! It was a fun experience and I’m going to keep trying to get better over the next few months.
This month I’m going to get back on the keto diet and lose the last 10-15 pounds to meet my goal. I described that diet in another fitness post if you’d like to join me.
Day 1: Run 2-3 miles, Yoga
Day 2: Full Body
Barbell Squats: 3X10
Dumbbell Bench Press: 3X10
Wide Grip Lat Pulldown: 3X10
Tricep Extension: 3X10
Dumbbell Curl: 3X10
Shoulder Fly: 3X10
Plank: 3X1 min
Day 3: Run 2-3 Miles, Yoga
Day 4: Full Body
Barbell Deadlifts 3X10
Dumbbell Incline Bench 3X10
Seated Cable Rows 3X10
Hammer Curls 3X10
Seated Shoulder Press 3X10
Hanging Leg Raises 3X10
Day 5 (Optional): Fun Run (2-5 Miles), Yoga
*At home option if I can’t make it to the gym:
Air Squats: 4X20
Dumbbell Rows: 3X10
Dumbbell Curls: 3X10
Chair Dips: 3X20
Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3x10
Plank: 3X1 min
I just want to end by saying that I’ve loved the feedback I’ve been getting. It’s been really encouraging to know that other people are following along and getting healthier!