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What happens when we rewrite fitness headlines?

rewriting fitness headlines(1)

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.

>> Related: the diet experiment that isn't really a diet

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:

>> Related: a podcast that debunks self-improvement headlines and offers something much better instead

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.

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  • Shane Bekker

    Love this simple blog. “Do Better” or “Try Harder” is definitely not the heart of Jesus, except that His Holy Spirit empowers us to get fit for the Kingdom of Heaven. Without the Holy Spirit, we are stuffed. I always say, “Holy Spirit, I can’t do this without your help (what ever the task or issue is). And I let my fitness be one where I fit into His plan that empowers me best to serve Him.

    So, my headline would be, “Fitness Tips For Empowerment By The Holy Spirit That Make Your Day Great.”

    Thanks Stephanie for sharing your fitness tips.

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