Put everything aside. Whatever else has your attention, let it go. If you are multitasking, stop. If you are eating a meal or a snack, put it away. I mean it when I say that I want your undivided attention. Why? Because your heart is at stake.
Pause for a moment, and take a deep breath. Exhale, and place your hand over your chest. Close you eyes and feel for your heart’s steady pulse. Is your heart still beating? Remove any thoughts from your mind. Release it all from your body, and let go of all tension from work, school, or any pressure that you are under. Just breathe….
There are often times, that we forget to check our pulse. Yes, as long as we’re breathing and moving we know that we are alive and everything is fine. But what if we are not okay? What if what we feel seems like normal to us, but we are truly missing out on what our full potential is. To focus on the issues of women in particular, there are things on this earth that make our inner being feel out of line. There is the pressure to be successful, the pressure to be liked our peers and find that loving husband or mate, the pressure to have a good paying job to support our families, the pressure to raise our children right, and the pressure to look good to everyone around us. Whether we like to admit it or not, we feel those issues pressing up against us at some point or another.
We powerful women like to shrug off that fact that our inner being might not be 100 percent, but as long as we are still able to move and get the job done, that is enough for us. But why not let your heart truly beat for once. Not just your physical heart, but your spiritual heart. It is known that not everyone claims or wants to be very religious, but more and more people have made the statement that although they may not be religious, they believe that there is something spiritual to their life. So whether you are a follower of God or believe in some sort of inner soul, this can apply to you.
We women like to ignore our feelings if it means going on with life. We like normalcy and if blurting out our deepest darkest feelings means controversy, we would rather keep them to ourselves. It is important for us to be portrayed as strong and unmoving, because in this day and time, we may not always have a man or family to lean on. What we don’t realize is that the more we try to suppress our feelings, the more our spiritual heartbeat slows down. It can then slow down to the point of a break down. Why do we allow ourselves to get this way? Why is it so hard sometimes to figure out where our inner grief is coming from? Fit at Heart is about answering those questions. So many times we accept that the way that we feel is how it is, and there is no way around it. The concept of Fit at Heart is that having an unhealthy spiritual heart can lead to an unhealthy body whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally. Just as you physical heart pumps life into your body, your spiritual heart pumps life into your spirit.
When asked a given person on what comes to mind when they hear the word heart, most would say they think of their inner being rather than their physical organ. Why is this so? Because your heart is the source and dwelling of everything about you. It is your knowledge, will, understanding, passions, desires, thoughts, appetites, affections, purposes, and endeavors. All of those things are deep within you and your spiritual heart.
We women like to put on a front that everything in our world is as it should be by what we say, what we look like, or how we act. But God says that none of that matters. Peter points this out in 1 Peter:
“Your adornment must not merely be external-braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let is be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
-1 Peter 3: 3-4
Isn’t that interesting? Peter says that our hearts contain an inner person. So within every one of us, there are two people.
*The person that everyone sees and knows.
*The hidden person that only you can see.
With that in mind, let us clarify the definition of the spiritual heart: Your spiritual heart is the TRUE YOU.
The definition of a spiritual heart is the reason behind why it is so important to be fit at heart. When it comes to lacking an ultimate fit heart you might be 1 of 2 cases:
Case 1: Your outer being is portrayed to others as someone who takes care of herself. You may be seen as a healthy eater who cooks beautiful meals using only the freshest foods. You may be seen as the wife or girlfriend who is active and is always working out her body. You may be seen as the mother who has it completely together for her child. You might seem like the most innovative person with the brightest future. Yet if people praise you for all the great qualities that you display on the outside, why do you:
* feel that you’re not eating healthy enough?
*feel that you are not good enough for your boyfriend or husband?
*feel that some days it’s not worth the work of being a mother?
*feel that you should be smarter?
*feel that binge eating is the only way to cope with the stresses of this world?
*feel that you should skip a meal because you are not skinny enough?
Or as most women in this area are dealing with on a daily basis, why do you look at yourself in the mirror completely disgusted with your body because you believe it does not compare to somebody else?
Therefore in case 1, why do you allow your inner feelings to get you to do things that completely go against what everybody praises you about? It is because in this incident, your unhealthy spiritual heart has caused you an unhealthy mind. Which also can possibly lead to an unhealthy body.
Case 2: Your outer being might be portrayed to others as someone who is extremely unhealthy or overweight. People judge you by your appearance and do not take the chance to get to know the real you. People see you as a person who is physically unable to do much of anything, therefore they do not ask you to be involved. They assume that you have made the ultimate choice to live an unhealthy life and that you don’t care. Therefore, if people have the wrong perception of you and put you down because of your outer self Why do you:
*feel that you cannot get motivated to get healthy because something or someone has hurt you in the past?
*feel that getting healthy will not change the fact of how people perceive you?
*feel that no one cares to get to know the real you?
Or as so many women are struggling with in this area, why do you feel that you are already so far off the deep end that it’s not worth trying to change your lifestyle now?
Finally in case 2, why do you allow your inner feelings to keep you from radiating your inner self to your outer self by getting healthy? Because in this incident, your unhealthy spiritual heart causes you to have an unhealthy physical body.
In both cases, the question to ask is: If relating to those feelings makes my heart spiritually unhealthy, how does my heart become spiritually fit?
Before we answer that, keep in mind that so many of us women do not want to admit that our heart might be lacking. We can’t afford for a weak heart because we’ve got too many things going on in our life. Acknowledging that our heart could be stronger and trying to fix it will only take time and time is something that we don’t have. So, we’d rather run on 50-80% most of the time to get us through the day. Life happens right? We’re not meant to have strong hearts all of the time. Says who? It is true that the stresses of life can come our way daily and those stresses can make our hearts weak. But who says that we have to let that weakness stay and make a home in our spiritual hearts? Who says we cannot develop strong enough hearts to combat anything and everything that comes our way, to the point of when things go wrong, when negative thinking begins, we know exactly the right way to attack the situation and come out victorious. Who says we can’t? NO ONE.
Your heart is your own and it belongs to you. Your heart is your life, and your life is your heart. It is up to you to take care of it and to guard it.
Proverbs 4:23 says:
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.”
If God created us in his own image, then shouldn’t our heart reflect God’s heart as well? What people saw in Jesus’ outer self was exactly what was in his inner self. Therefore, we have the capability of developing our hearts to be like Jesus because we are created in the image of God. We have the power to have our outer self be seen by others as successful, healthy, complete and have that also reflect on our inside. Yet, the question remains, did you relate to any of those feelings listed above? If so, where is your heart at this very moment? How unhealthy is it? How can you know for sure? How can my heart reach it’s full potential?
The first layer to develop in order to become fit at heart is:
Notice that Awareness is at the center of your heart. The first layer begins at your core. In order to have a fit heart, you must be aware of what shape it is in. It might be somewhat lacking, or it might be crucially weak. Whatever the case, if your spiritual heart is affecting you in a negative way, you must become aware of what state your heart is in.
To everyone, King David looked as if he had it all. He was said to be handsome, he lived in a palace and had a beautiful wife named Bathsheba. To the outside world, he looked to have had it all. However, David allowed his heart to stray from God and he committed very bad things. Internally he was battling the stress of knowing that he committed adultry and he had Bathsheba’s husband Uriah murdered. However, such as David being called a man after God’s own heart, David became aware that his heart needed to change for the better.
In Psalm 51:10, David acknowledges that is heart is not right by saying:
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Is your heart still beating? Take a moment and truly become aware of where your heart is. You may know exactly what area needs to be fixed, however, sometimes it is hard to pinpoint one aspect in your life that is making your spiritual heart unhealthy. Therefore, how can you truly become aware of what type of spiritual heart that you have at this very moment? Awareness: Layer 1 (Part 2) is about finding out what type of unhealthy spiritual heart you have. Sure you may know if you fit case number 1 or number 2, but what name could you give your heart? Stay tuned for the next post that gives 3 types of hearts to be aware of. Once you become aware and identify your heart, then the process of developing the next 3 layers begins.
Do you want your heart to be it’s full potential? Do you want what people see on the outside to reflect what’s on your inside? Then take the first step by developing the heart layer of awareness. Become aware by asking yourself today: Where is my heart, is it spiritually unhealthy or is it spiritually fit?