Concerning fitness, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview a local woman, Marianne Hoffman.
She runs a chapter of Revelation Wellness right here in my neck of the woods. Revelation Wellness is a faith-based fitness organization which spans all over the United States.
It is my pleasure to tell you about this inspiring story of a normal girl, who had common views about fitness. She saw it destroying women around her, when it should have been making life better. But when she came across the philosophy of Revelation Wellness (which is really just a biblical philosophy), it changed her completely.
Rather than fitness holding her in bondage, it began to set her and the women around her free.
A Little About Marianne
Marianne grew up in a Christian home. But for the majority of her adult life, she had been running from God. She describes her journey as a “long, acidic rebellion,” in which she wasn’t attending church or pursuing any relationship with Christ.
About 5 years ago, she started spending time with people at a church around here who had an actual excitement for their faith. It was not something she had ever experienced herself, but when she saw the changed lives around her, she began realizing what faith meant –
Believing in Christ and living out of utter gratitude for all the mercies and love He has shown us.
Her devotion to Jesus grew from there.
Marianne had been teaching some fitness courses locally. Concerning that time in her life, she said, “it was heartbreaking… to see people put so much effort into their physical appearance and never feeling satisfied or a sense of accomplishment.”
After all, she had finally figured out what life was really all about – knowing and loving Christ. But the women in her classes were filled with defeat, self-loathing, and shame.
But they were actively working to better themselves through fitness… Why would they feel so terrible about themselves?#Women in #fitness classes were filled with defeat, self-loathing, and shame. Why? Click To Tweet
A Different View on Fitness
It was right around that time that Marianne stumbled across a picture on Facebook by Revelation Wellness of a woman doing a push-up and the caption was “Philippians 4:13“, which as many of you probably know, says:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Now, yes, the passage itself is actually dealing with the Apostle Paul and how he was able to suffer through all kinds of trials at the hands of men because Christ was all He needed.
However, the principle remains that if we are seeking Christ, then He will help us through difficulties.
And the very thing that sets Revelation Wellness apart is the philosophy that Fitness is actually worship to God. And if we worship God through exercise, then He will help us honor Him with our bodies.
You see, God made our bodies, and at certain points in Scripture, He even calls it “a temple of the Holy Spirit“. So it follows that we are responsible for the stewardship of our bodies. Just like we are responsible to steward our finances, our time, our relationships in a way to please God.
And this is one thing that the church in America just kinda seems to ignore. It is nothing to us to see a pastor, a leader of the church, to weigh over 300 lbs. Let alone ever encouraging members to understand that taking care of our bodies is part of our worship.
It’s just the way our culture thinks.
But Revelation Wellness provides a remedy to this faulty thinking.We are responsible for the stewardship of our bodies. #faith #fitness Click To Tweet
How to Break Strongholds
You see, most of the time, people are made to feel shame, Marianne explained, for being overweight or out of shape. Women are targeted in particular. And what happens is a woman begins to work out, sees some results, but then can never fully obtain the perfect bodies seen on TV, so they never feel satisfied. Never feel accomplished.
Never feel like they’re enough.
But if exercise is about worship, and not about how we look, then all that pressure of the sexy-looking end result goes away. You see, worshiping God accomplishes the very needs of our soul. And anything we do to honor Him, including working out, satisfies our deep desire to know our Creator.
So as Marianne began to teach courses through Revelation Wellness, she began to see women who were content with their workouts. They were happy to come and exercise. They were proud of the wonderful things God made their bodies to do.
Interestingly, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) stated that faith-based organizations are the #2 fitness trend in 2016. I asked Marianne why she thinks that is. She responded, saying:
We’re in a very transitional moment in our history. In fitness, ego and lust and envy, pride are already overtaking people. Faith-based fitness is growing because people are seeing that there is more to fitness than the evil which is currently overtaking it. The emphasis is no longer on self. We do what we do for an audience of one.
I hope all you readers can see why organizations like Revelation Wellness and people like Marianne Hoffman are disrupting the status quo. They, with the power of the Holy Spirit, are helping us to remember an important biblical fact – that our bodies were meant to honor God, not be shamed into torturing itself.
Marianne’s twitter handle is @revwelllawrence.
For you local readers (Lawrence, KS), Marianne holds Revelation Wellness classes with a $5 suggested donation at 7:30am on Saturdays at Morning Star Church.
Also published on Medium.