I don’t want to waste my life. What’s the point of being physically strong if I’m not using that strength to serve and encourage others or point them to Jesus? After a rough game of ultimate Frisbee recently I was struck with my deep desire to be a woman of strength and character. The “boy band” that was playing on my team wouldn’t pass the Frisbee to me even when I was wide open in the end zone. I wondered if it was because I was the only lady on the field but came to find out that they do it to everybody.
After the tough game I really wanted to improve my physical fitness and ultimate Frisbee skills. I just wanted to keep up with the guys, always have. Do you ever feel like the spiritual war within you and all around you might just rip you in two? That’s how I felt that day. Sports are a God given passion of mine but I have often tried to use them as a form of seeking the praise and admiration of others. While the physical benefits and enjoyment of sports are fun, without some deeper purpose they seem pretty empty and meaningless. It left me wondering, what do I stand for?
This struggle brought to mind I John 2:15-16, “Do not love the world or anything in the world, if anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life comes not from the Father but from the world”. Sadly, God is not my greatest treasure (yet) because I often love the world. Better yet, I love ME. My heart is chronically trying to find shortcuts to fulfillment apart from God.
I spend so much time trying to appear kind, beautiful, fit, healthy, and spiritual that I haven’t devoted my heart, soul, mind, and strength to the Lord and actually growing in godliness. Even if we view the body image crisis of women in our country as a social justice issue caused by unrealistic cultural pressures, we can still fight for the good of others who struggle. As I pondered these things I couldn’t help but wonder what if:
- I chose justice for the oppressed rather than my own comfort?
- Spent less time obsessing about my weight and more time working toward systemic changes so desperately needed for those who are economically, educationally, and socially oppressed in our country because of the color of their skin?
- I cared more about those who are dying because they have no clean water to drink than about how my hair looks?
- I spent less time looking in the mirror and more time fighting to protect children from being sold repeatedly in the sex trafficking industry?
- Rather than focusing on trying to find cuter clothes to feel more secure, I focused more on growing in a disciplined life in Christ to cultivate the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit (I Peter 3:3-4) and becoming a woman worthy of praise because I fear the Lord (Proverbs 31:30)?
- I loved people more than their praise?
- Rather than wanting to look fit and athletic, I actually moved my body as an outpouring of worshipful and praise-filled energy – from the pure delight of encountering God in nature, community, breathe, and movement?
- When things in life and relationships get hard, instead of running, avoiding, or escaping through food (or restricting food), I committed to staying and trusting God?
Just like with physical training, we need to practice and put in our spiritual reps. There is no substitute for time with my God, diligently practicing servanthood, meditating on his word, pouring over the Bible, praying like God is listening because he is, and living in authentic biblical community. I even have to be careful not to become focused on trying to “be good” versus receiving God’s power for determination, hard work, and sharing talents (Romans 12:1) and offering them back as worship. I hope to use my passion for athletics to serve others and build them up in their physical and spiritual strength and to model and share the gospel.
I want to care less about how I’m seen because I see the One who sees me. I am so desperate to be a woman of character, conviction, strength, and discipline. The discipline I desire is not just another diversion from my real heart issues but rather a path to healing and wholeness by God’s Holy Spirit. I know only God gives me that desire and the power to live it out (Philippians 1:6).
Alyse Rogers is the wife of an Army soldier and they are excitedly expecting their first child this Spring. She practices as a mental health counselor for a Christian nonprofit, where it is her profound privilege to point others to the healing power of Jesus. Alyse strives to advocate for justice for the economically, socially, and racially oppressed. She has a sense of adventure and loves ultimate Frisbee, hiking, yoga, SUP yoga, her sassy Siamese cat, and all things outdoors. Above all, Alyse aims to worship God in all that she does in life and seeks to live the good life with Jesus. Read Alyse’s other posts here.