What happens when we rewrite fitness headlines?
It doesn't seem to matter what time of year it is: my Pinterest feed is always full of fitness headlines promising me a "bikini body" in thirty days or less. For example, I frequently see pins that promise:
- 30-days to slimmer thighs
- 21-days to toned arms
- 4-weeks to six-pack abs
Part of the reason I see so many of these pins is because I like them. I collect them. I have intentions of doing them. But...
...I also kind of hate them. Underlying their promises is a subtle message that says "you should improve yourself."
Reader, I'm tired of all the work that goes into improving myself.
Don't get me wrong--I actually enjoy exercise and fitness. I value it as a part of my life, and make time for it regularly. What I don't enjoy is the never-ending pressure to:
- Do better
- Try harder
- Improve more
There are few places where this pressure is more apparent than with diet and exercise. According to these headlines, all I need is just a little willpower, a step-by-step plan, and thirty days and I can achieve a better version of myself, and a better life.
Case and point, here are some real Pinterest headlines from my feed:
- These 27 workout programs are all you need to get in shape this summer
- Try this 2-week challenge to get fit and killer abs in less than 30 days
- How to eat healthy without starving: rules for breakfast, rules for snacking, rules for lunch
- Rise and Shine: 8 Stretches You Should Do Each Morning
I confess that I've gotten so used to seeing headlines like this that I don't even pay attention to the promises--and pressure--they offer. When I take a step back, though, and rewrite the headlines with a Jesus-centered perspective, their new meaning opens my eyes.
For example, what if we rewrote the headlines, above, to this:
Rewriting Fitness Headlines
- These 27 workout programs are Jesus is all you need to get in shape this summer today
- Try this 2-week prayer challenge to find fit and killer abs freedom in Jesus in less than 30 days every day
- How to eat healthy without starving condemnation: rules freedom at breakfast, rules freedom at snacking, rules freedom at lunch
- Rise and Shine: 8 ideas Stretches You Should Do Each Morning to start your morning with Jesus
Suddenly, through the lens of Jesus, self-improvement fades away. I feel lighter. I experience freedom. And I'm reminded that "Do Better" and "Try Harder" are not his messages for me. HE is the headline. Every time.
Try it! The next time you're on Pinterest, or Facebook, or reading your favorite magazine, pause on one of the headlines for 30-seconds. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you his perspective, and to help you rewrite it in his words. What does he say? What's his headline? Share your new headline in the comments below or with the hashtag #hisheadline.