I am the “health and fitness” writer for this awesome blog. So when I recently heard the word “fit” in two very different settings, the intrigue set in. My ears perked up, and I have been “obsessing” over the connection that these two opposite situations have.
The first situation happened when one of my close friends came to me, asking me to help her to become “fit for the new year.” Of course I want to help people become healthy and fit—especially my family and friends—but when she said “become fit,” I must admit, I laughed inside. I laughed because that was such a broad thing to ask. I know she wasn’t aware of that, and I knew what she was really getting at, but it really got me thinking what would it really mean to be physically “fit”?
The second situation actually started about a year ago. My father-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away in December of 2016. Although it was such a hard and sad time for our family, we were so lucky because he left us “gifts” in the form of “words of wisdom” to cherish when he left us. He pulled us together for a family council to discuss how we can be “more holy” as a family. We sang the song “More Holiness Give Me.”
That song is, in essence, a prayer to our Heavenly Father, asking Him to bless us with more gratitude, more strength, more patience, and so much more. One line says, “More fit for the kingdom, more used would I be.” I didn’t think much of it then, but recently I sang that same song in church, and this time, that line struck me to my core. Not only did this song have so much meaning to me because of my father-in-law, but also the word “fit” was still stewing in my brain from my friend’s request.
So here I was, now obsessing over how the tiny, three-letter word applied to two very big parts of my life: physical health and spiritual health.
I’ve been in and around the fitness industry for 12 years now, and I’ve heard and seen many definitions of “fitness” or what it is to be “fit.” I’ve brought together the basics of what I’ve learned and come up with my own definition of fitness: I believe fitness is the ability to function efficiently in all of life’s activities and resist disease.
If that is what it is to be physically fit, then how does one become fit? Now you have to look at some of the basic components of fitness: endurance, strength, flexibility, power, and balance. In order to become better in each area, you must put forth the effort and commit to training daily.
Being physically fit and helping others want to become fit is definitely one of my passions and something I do daily. However, when I started thinking of becoming “spiritually fit” and “more fit for the kingdom,” I really started to get excited. Just like the components of being physically fit, there are components of spiritual fitness as well. Being spiritually fit is enduring trials, strengthening our testimonies, having flexibility to bend in the Lord’s way (because the natural man is “stiff”), utilizing the power of the priesthood, and balancing our priorities. Just like physical fitness, we must train daily and commit to putting forth the effort or “paying the price” to be spiritually fit.
Sister Elaine Dalton said it perfectly in her talk “A Return To Virtue.” She said, “I truly believe that one virtuous young woman or young man, led by the Spirit, can change the world, but in order to do so, we must return to virtue. We must engage in strict training. As the marathon runner Juma Ikangaa said after winning the New York Marathon, ‘The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare.’ Now is the time to prepare by exercising more self-discipline. Now is the time to become ‘more fit for the kingdom.’ Now is the time to set our course and focus on the finish. A return to virtue must begin individually in our hearts and in our homes.”
My hope is that we prioritize our spiritual and physical fitness. I know that both are equally important. I know that training daily physically by exercising and eating healthy foods will build our bodies up so that we can serve those around us. We can spiritually train by reading our scriptures, serving, and praying. I know that a rigorous, daily spiritual training will build up our testimonies and spirits so that we will ultimately become “more fit for the kingdom.”