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In the last episode, we told stories exploring where the gospel meets body image. In today’s episode, Anna and former producer Rachel reflect on things they couldn’t say about body image – including technology’s increasing effects on body image. Anna interviews Dr. Matthew Loftus, family physician at a missions hospital in Chogoria, Kenya, about the connection between health and body image. Anna and Matthew explore what conservatives and progressives each get right and wrong about body image and how the way of Jesus is better, and Anna talks with someone around the world to see what they’re doing right now to make an impact on today’s topic. 

Join us on Patreon to hear Matthew Loftus’ response to our 3 extra questions.



#24.5: Things We Couldn’t Say (About Body Image)

Note: The Love Thy Neighborhood podcast is made for the ear, and not the eye. We would encourage you to listen to the audio for the full emotional emphasis of this episode. The following transcription may contain errors. Please refer to the audio before quoting any content from this episode. 

AUDIO CLIPS: Love Thy Neighborhood… Discipleship and missions for modern times.

ANNA TRAN: You’re listening to the Love Thy Neighborhood podcast. I’m Anna Tran. Jesse has been out of the office for this week, so today you’ll be hearing a lot from me and our guests. This is “Things We Couldn’t Say About Body Image.” In each episode, we’ve got four segments. First – Things We Couldn’t Say, where we debrief the last episode. And since Jesse’s out, we’ll have a special guest to help me out. Second – an interview with Dr. Matthew Loftus, family physician and teacher, about the connection between health and body image. Third – Beyond Left and Right, where we explore what conservatives and progressives each get right and wrong and how the way of Jesus is better. And finally – What Are You Doing, where I talk with someone from around the world to see what they’re doing right now to make an impact on today’s topic. Welcome to our corner of the urban universe.


ANNA TRAN: First up – Things We Couldn’t Say. 

Okay listeners, so since this episode aired back in 2019, joining me for this debrief is actually former producer Rachel. Rachel, welcome back to the LTN Podcast. 

RACHEL AKERS: Hey, it’s so great to be back. 

ANNA TRAN: I don’t know if many listeners know this, but you were Rachel Szabo on the podcast, but tell the listeners what your name is now.

RACHEL AKERS: Yes. So I got married, um, and so my name is now Rachel Akers. 

ANNA TRAN: Akers. Yes.


ANNA TRAN: It still feels a little weird to me to say Rachel Akers. 

RACHEL AKERS: It’s still weird to me too. (laugh) And it’s, it’s been like over a year. (laugh)

ANNA TRAN: Cool. Well, yeah, we’re revisiting this episode “Where the Gospel Meets Body Image.” Okay, so you listened back to the episode. Let’s just start here. In reporting on the stories, was there a difference between what you expected to find and what you actually found? 

RACHEL AKERS: Yeah, so in thinking about that, one of the things that really surprised me I think the most in doing this episode was just how pervasive this issue is. And if you think about it, of course, that makes sense because we all have bodies, right? 

ANNA TRAN: Mm-hmm. 

RACHEL AKERS: This is something that everybody deals with. I don’t know. I just never really considered that prior to this episode because, you know, I think we talked about that this topic was a result of kind of a poll we took from just listeners and interns of what they wanted to hear. 

ANNA TRAN: Mm-hmm. 

RACHEL AKERS: And this topic came up of body image. And I was like, “Oh, really? I guess. Sure, we can talk about that.” But then in just like talking to other people, anyone you meet, they can have some story of dealing with an issue of their weight or their appearance or their, their body doesn’t work the way they wish it would. And so I think just what surprised me the most was how much this is an issue and, and how little we seem to talk about it. In particular, like, within the church. 

ANNA TRAN: Right. 

RACHEL AKERS: Maybe that’s just my experience, but it seems like this is not a topic that really gets talked about much, but it’s out there and everyone’s dealing with it. 

ANNA TRAN: Mm-hmm. Did you yourself hear pastors preach about, maybe not necessarily body image, but how we relate to our bodies?

RACHEL AKERS: Yeah, so I think the only thing I can think of relating to body was, like, purity and, like, modesty and as it relates to sexuality, but not really as it relates to like, “What is your relationship with your body and what does the Bible say about what is our body for, how did God make it, why do we have it, what’s the importance of it, how do we care for it.” Not really a lot of that, more about like the sexuality side of it for sure. 

ANNA TRAN: Yeah, and that’s not to say that’s, uh – the sexual aspects of our body are non-related. They’re definitely very related, but for sure, yeah, I think for me as well. I mostly, when it comes to the body, heard aspects of sexuality, but nothing really about health and overall goodness as well of our bodies.

RACHEL AKERS: Right, yeah. 

ANNA TRAN: So what aspects of the topic do you wish we had time to dive into? 

RACHEL AKERS: Yeah, you know, that makes me think of, of something else. Um, I’ve kind of noticed this shift, I think, just with, um, social media, and then also I think probably a contributing factor was also, you know, COVID and 2020. I’ve noticed there’s been a bigger push of just a lot of health and diet and exercise stuff popping up on Instagram and people advertising like, “Hey, do my program. You can do it all from home, and I’ll give you everything you need.” And it’s all very secluded and isolated and it’s like, we can just take care of it ourself at home – which, you know, there’s, there’s great aspects to that. You know, I, I do that. I use YouTube to exercise at home and it’s great because I don’t have to go anywhere, you know, and I can do it whenever I want. But one thing that we didn’t touch on much in the episode that I wish we could have is just the communal aspect of this topic and just talking about how, like, you know, we don’t live in a bubble and at Love Thy Neighborhood it’s all about community and relationship and working through things with other people and just how important I think that is in dealing with this issue is to not just deal with it yourself. If it’s like accountability or someone that you are talking to about what your struggles are or, you know, just dialoguing with someone – “Well, what do you think about body image?” – and just having that conversation I think is a really important piece in this, and that is something that we didn’t really get much time to dive into in the episode itself. 

ANNA TRAN: Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s so important because, you know, I can think all I want about, like, my body, but a lot of times people have this expectation for themselves because they’ve heard it from someone else, like their parents or their peers at school. Not only are we asking questions like, “Am I happy with my own body?” but “Does my friend think I look good? Does this other person think I am healthy?”


ANNA TRAN: Tell me about how you think the topic is relevant today.

RACHEL AKERS: Yeah, you know, in, in thinking about technology specifically and like social media, I do think that there are kind of two challenges, and one that immediately comes to mind is just the Zoom chats or the FaceTimes or the Skypes and you’ve got your little picture up in the corner there. And so you’re talking to someone else, but really what are we all doing? We’re all looking at ourself. (laughs) Let’s be honest.

ANNA TRAN: Yeah, yeah.

RACHEL AKERS: We’re all looking at ourself. And so I think that technology has kind of made us a little more obsessed with our appearance in a way if you think about, like, selfies. We’re just kind of a little more obsessed with, “Ooh, look at me. Look at how I look. Let me post it for everyone to see.” So I think there’s, there’s a bit more of an obsession from technology with just us and presenting ourselves to the world so everyone can see us. And then a second challenge I think that technology presents is just this kind of idea that our body is something that can be manipulated. So I’m thinking about, like, AI and how we can kind of create any kind of image we want and we can put our face on it and it’s like, “Ooh, look at how I look like this” or “Ooh, look at how I look like this.” Even like filters – you know, if you’re on, like, Messenger and there’s those goofy filters of like, “Ooh, I’m, I’m a unicorn puking rainbows,” it’s all about, like, manipulation of our image. And so I think that’s, that’s another aspect of technology that I think can present a challenge, this kind of mentality that our image is a thing to be manipulated rather than our image is a thing to, to be thankful for and praise God for and accept the way that it has been made.

ANNA TRAN: Alrighty, that wraps up Things We Couldn’t Say About Body Image. Rachel, it was super great having you back on the show. 

RACHEL AKERS: Yeah, it’s great to be back. Thanks so much for, for contacting me and having me come back on and, and kind of debrief this episode. It’s been great. 

ANNA TRAN: Alright, stay with us. When we come back, we’ll be talking with family physician Dr. Matthew Loftus. Stay with us.


ANNA TRAN: You’re listening to the Love Thy Neighborhood podcast. I’m Anna Tran. Before the break, former producer Rachel gave some of her final thoughts on things she couldn’t say in the episode that she produced in 2019 – “Where the Gospel Meets Body Image.” And now, joining the conversation is Dr. Matthew Loftus.

Matthew is a family physician who lives in Kenya with his family. He teaches and practices family medicine at a mission hospital in Chogoria, Kenya. His writing has been featured on Christianity Today, Mere Orthodoxy, and the New York Times. You can learn more about his work and writing at Matthew, welcome to the show. 

MATTHEW LOFTUS: Thanks, Anna. I’m glad to be here. 

ANNA TRAN: Yeah. So tell us, um, a little bit about your history with practicing medicine and your teaching. 

MATTHEW LOFTUS: Yeah. So I am a family doctor. My family and I have been in East Africa for about eight years doing medical education with African health professionals and, uh, discipleship work. Before that, I practiced briefly in the U.S., uh, working at a place called Health Care for the Homeless in Baltimore City, and we were very involved in a urban church in Baltimore City, uh, then as well for several years, uh, while I was in medical school and residency. So what Love Thy Neighborhood is doing is, uh, very close to my heart. Yeah. And, uh, a lot of my work day to day living here in Kenya, working at a mission hospital, is, uh, just trying to help African health professionals connect their faith with their work as I help teach them how to be better health professionals.

ANNA TRAN: Yeah, that’s amazing. Okay, so in our narrative episode, um, Dr. Gregg Allison, one of our expert voices, uh, was talking about how gnosticism, you know, rejects the body. Are there any, like, Scriptures that you could encourage listeners to, to read and to check out to help them understand a more holistic view of the body?

MATTHEW LOFTUS: Yeah, so it’s tough to point to just one Scripture, uh, ’cause I feel like the ideas about the body are kind of woven throughout the Bible. I like to go back to 1 Corinthians 15, where Paul talks about our future resurrected bodies. I feel like that’s the point that I like to come to, just because I think about that really beautiful sense of transformation and the fact that our bodies die just like a seed goes into the ground and dies and then it’s transformed into something different and yet still there’s this deep sense of continuity between this body that we have here now on earth and our future bodies. You know, there’s this fake quote – I think it sometimes gets attributed to C.S. Lewis – about “you are a soul, but you have a body.” Um, and there’s just so many ways in which I think that that can go sideways when the body is either something that you ignore, um, in favor of pursuing some spiritual ends or, uh, this project, this object thing that you micromanage. Uh, I think you guys explored a lot of those different, yeah, ways of going wrong, um, in, in the previous episode about body image. Yeah. So really there’s no one specific Bible verse, but, you know, kind of everything from, you know, the very beginning of creation of our bodies being gifts to the end of time, uh, when we worship God in new bodies, transformed bodies. 

ANNA TRAN: I’m thinking about – is there a contrast to how people in Kenya – I don’t know if they would use the words “body image” obviously – but, like, do they have idealized thoughts about, like, body image, and how does that compare to how you’ve observed how people approach the topic of body image in the States? 

MATTHEW LOFTUS: Uh, you know, it’s funny that you mentioned that. We – um, I was just talking with a friend about it. Um, here in Kenya, obviously there’s some people and, you know, wealthier people in more urban areas that have absorbed some Western images – you know, globalization just puts all the same images around the world – but you’ll find many people, um, especially in more rural areas, like the one where I’m working, you know, you’ll come back from vacation and they’ll say, “Oh, you, uh, you’ve, you look fat. You look – did you have a good holiday?” Um, and it’s not – it’s, it’s like a compliment. It’s like, “Oh, you must’ve, you know, gone someplace nice and relaxed and eaten a lot of food ’cause you, you look like you put on a few pounds.” Um, and so, you know, I think that that obviously has some ties to very deep aspects of, of human nature of the sense of like, you know, when you have extra – you know, one of the reasons why we like to eat so much and we like to eat things that have lots of sugar and salt in them is because if there’s a time when you don’t have food around then having a few extra pounds is actually very good for you. So, you know, I think that that kind of speaks to, you know – and, and more traditional societies around the world being obese is like a sign of wealth, that you actually have enough food to have too much. So, so you do see some of those attitudes that you do see sometimes as coming into conflict with, you know, more contemporary Western ideals about thinness.

ANNA TRAN: From your perspective, how do you think Christian communities have failed to teach a more holistic view of caring for our bodies? 

MATTHEW LOFTUS: Yeah, it’s an interesting question because I, I think it, it really varies across the spectrum. You know, if you look at Reformation era thinkers, for example, like John Calvin, there is a very conscious attempt to really push back against gnosticism and speak and think about the body in a – and souls – in, in a holistic way. Uh, there’s a really interesting book by Matthew LaPine called The Logic of the Body that really digs into this. It’s a very philosophically heavy book, and I hope someday he writes a more popular treatment because I think it’d be really interesting because he – you know, it’s not just soul and body, but you think about your rationality and your appetites and your emotions and your conscience and all these other different – your will – just all these different pieces that aren’t even necessarily – that aren’t like puzzle pieces, but they’re, they all kind of meld into each other and overlap. You know, but I, I think in, in many ways where the church fails is when it just sort of unconsciously absorbs whatever cultural values are going on around it without critically examining them or addressing them. You know, so in recent decades, you know, that would certainly include like the obsessive overweight and thinness at any cost sort of messages that I think especially young women were getting. And nowadays, I think especially in more conservative circles, you see this very strong emphasis on gaining manly strength and getting jacked or, or what have you. You know, just trying to either sort of slap a, a Christian veneer on a broader cultural message, you know, without really examining it critically or just not commenting on it at all and letting people get their messages from teen magazines or television or what have you.

ANNA TRAN: Mm-hmm. Body image is so connected to just overall health. Um, and so I was just thinking – what are your thoughts on even the words “body image”? ‘Cause I had a thought that’s like, “Oh, like we’re talking about body image, but overall we want to be healthy.” Do you think it’s helpful to even, like, talk about our bodies in, like, just that blanket “image” sense?

MATTHEW LOFTUS: Well, it’s, it’s tricky, right? Because we, we think about us being – you know, the Bible talks about us being – the image of God, right, that we, we reflect aspects of who he is in our bodies. You don’t see the angels being described in that way. They’re purely spiritual beings. You know, we’re physical and spiritual together. And in a, especially the, the cultural milieu that we live in, um, in which the image, you know, images are just so powerful and ubiquitous, it’s hard not to think about one’s body image. So I think it’s something you kind of have to wrestle with as a human being, particularly in the time and the place in which we live, you have to think about the way that others perceive you. You do have to think about caring for your body and reflecting the image of God in who you are, but ultimately like that has to be a relatively low priority, especially I think compared to cultivating the habits of health, which do include, you know, eating good food, exercising regularly. There are people that can be very healthy in their bodies and yet they don’t have a particularly, uh, attractive body image as judged by certain incredibly difficult to obtain, sometimes nearly impossible, cultural standards.


MATTHEW LOFTUS: And, you know, so much more of the good life is, is not about body image at all. 

ANNA TRAN: Last question here. Um, if you were talking with a non-Christian and you could talk to them about, like, a Christian view of the body, uh, what would you wanna share with them? 

MATTHEW LOFTUS: Yeah, I, I’d want to tell them, like, look at how marvelous your body is and how many different good things you get to experience with it, whether that’s the taste of watermelon or the feeling of sunshine on your face, looking at, you know, just using your eyes to see the world, uh, or warmth of, the warmth of fire at night. And so – and like all of that goodness, all of that sensation, and all of the thing, all the good things you can do with your body, from dancing to playing music to hugging other people, like all, all of that is a gift, right? It’s, it’s, those are all things that you get to experience being in a body and you didn’t have to work for them or earn them. They, they, they’re just yours as part of the package being human. And so all of that gift comes from God, and that, that sense of gratefulness that you feel when you experience those good things, that sense that “I didn’t, I didn’t do anything to earn this,” you know, that’s not your brain playing a trick on you. (laugh) That is, that is your embodiedness leading you back to your Creator. And the sense that you feel in your body, the negative senses, right, the sense of like, “Oh yeah, one day I’m going to die. Before that, I’m probably going to be old. Somebody else is going to have to wipe my butt for weeks or months or years before I shuffle off this mortal coil. My body is so vulnerable to disease, to death, to violence,” you know, and you look at the world, you know, natural disasters, that, that sense of horror and pain and fear – that that is, that is your longing for redemption that will only come about when this body is transformed.

ANNA TRAN: Well, stay with us because when we come back we’ll continue our conversation with Dr. Matthew Loftus. Stay with us. 


ANNA TRAN: Welcome back to the Love Thy Neighborhood podcast. I’m Anna Tran. And now it’s time for Beyond Left and Right.

Okay, Matthew, in this segment of our show, we ask our guests to put today’s topic through three questions – What is the traditional view on body image? Two, what is a progressive view on body image? And three, what is the Christian view on body image? Here’s how this works. We’re going to ask you these three questions. When you’re summarizing opposing views, be charitable, present both conservative and liberal views fairly and objectively rather than trying to make it look foolish. Then for our final question, uh, tell us which elements both conservatives and liberals each get right and how the Christian view challenges and surpasses both. Alright, let’s get started. Alright, so from your point of view, what is the conservative view on body image? 

MATTHEW LOFTUS: Yeah, from my perspective, it seems like right now for the people who are right wing I would say they have a really, a really developed opinion on the subject, you know, very much focused on being crunchy, being all natural, anti-vaccine sometimes, um, developing, uh, strength, not being overweight, having, um, a very particular – you know, no seed oil, you know, sometimes it’s silly stuff like no seed oils – and, you know, kind of practically pagan view. People will talk about, you know, vitalism and going back to Greco-Roman ideals of beauty. And then on the more liberal or left wing side, I think you’ll see kind of a, you know, a strong push for body positivity, trying to accept all bodies as they are and pushing against this idea that you have to make your body look a certain way in order to be acceptable. So, if you want the dichotomy, that’s the simplest way, I think, to, to place the dichotomy.And so from – in, you know, in those terms, I do think, obviously, that, you know, it’s, it’s good to take care of your body, to steward your body, to exercise, and to eat well. 

ANNA TRAN: Yeah, so how does the Christian view challenge that right wing, let’s say conservative, view?

MATTHEW LOFTUS: Yeah, so Christianity has always and, I mean, very directly challenged the Greco-Roman worldview when Christianity was still a brand new religion in that it did not say that everybody had to, you know, have a certain kind of body or that only certain kinds of bodies were valued, you know, that they rescued children who’d been exposed and, um, disabled children and cared for women and the elderly. And so, you know, Christianity, I think, really challenges the idea that you have to have a certain kind of body to say, “Look, we all have our, we all have our bodies that God has given us.” And yes, you, you do want to care for your body, but, you know, obsessing over a certain kind of body image, ultimately destructive and exclusive of bodies that don’t look like that and, you know, bodies that cannot look a, a certain way. 

ANNA TRAN: Mmm. Yeah. So how does the Christian view challenge the progressive, liberal view? 

MATTHEW LOFTUS: I mean, I think on the extreme end you will have people who basically deny the science behind, uh, the health risks of obesity, um, on that side. And, and I think that that is a more extreme fringe, so I don’t think it’s, it’s fair to say that that really characterizes a lot of people, but it’s, it’s definitely floating around out there. Um, and I think a, a Christian view looks at the idea of, you know, the body positivity movement and says, yeah, that there’s a lot of good stuff there, that you want to value your body as a gift and not let those ideas take over and dominate your life when you, you know, you have so many other more important things to think about. But, you know, there is something good and beautiful about making the most of the body that you’ve been given, um, and developing physical strength and cultivating, um, those, the, the disciplines and, and virtues that help someone to be physically healthy. 

ANNA TRAN: This has been great. Matthew, thanks so much for joining us today.

Okay, listeners. So after our interview, Matthew kindly stuck around for a few extra minutes for me to ask him three more questions. If you wanna hear those extra three questions, we’ll be posting that on our Patreon. Go to to check that out. And now it’s time for What Are You Doing, where I talk with someone from around the world to see what they’re doing right now to make an impact on today’s topic.

Today I have, um, a great guest with me, Alex Ford. Alex, tell us a little bit about yourself and where you’re calling from. 

ALEX FORD: Sure. Hi, my name is Alex Ford, and I am a certified coach and consultant with my practice Cultivate Well. Um, I also, uh, am a mentor professor for Redemption Seminary. Um, I’m calling in from, uh, Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas.

ANNA TRAN: Well, tell our listeners a little bit about how you ended up in the field you’re in, specifically when it comes to holistic health. 

ALEX FORD: Sure. So I’ve spent the last 17 years just in the area of health and fitness just serving in various roles and about just as long serving in ministry as well, and I’ve seen just how difficult life can be for believers specifically just when they lack a biblical understanding of the body or even just a framework for understanding how to care, uh, well for themselves as whole people. And just because of a lack of general teaching on the body in the church, there’s a lot of stories that I can tell from over the years, but it’s safe to say I’ve just kind of seen it all – from the believer who believes he has to beat his body into submission through exercise or the theology student who insists that it doesn’t matter what he eats because he never gains weight or the counselor who insisted that I needed to work all hours through exhaustion and burnout or whatever would come my way while working at her practice because that’s what she did, um, or the pastor who insisted he could ignore his doctor’s health advice because his body didn’t matter or I could go on and on about the women who, you know, who, that I’ve counseled that are in deep pain because of how they relate to their bodies. There are so many stories that I could tell that have, um, just impacted me tremendously, um, and have motivated me just to show that other, show others that there’s a better way. You know, we, as believers, we have to learn how to think biblically about our bodies, and we have to consider that all of the Christian life is lived in the body and we are embodied image bearers. That’s how we were created by God. And it’s through our bodies that we image Christ to the world around us. 

ANNA TRAN: So if someone comes to you, what’s your approach to help them into, you know, whole person wellness? 

ALEX FORD: Sure. Yes, exactly. So you, you said whole person wellness. That’s the perspective from which I come. God has created us, as I said, just as whole people in body and soul in his image, and that provides the framework for how we’re to understand ourselves. And so God’s created us with particular capacities – spiritual, physical, relational, mental, and emotional – which those capacities then also help us understand ourselves better. So when we think about wellness, specifically whole person wellness, we want to recognize that it’s going to involve each of these capacities, and so pursuing wellness isn’t just going to involve nutrition and exercise or even sleep and stress management, although I will be the first to say that all of those things are vitally important. But we also want to consider how the other capacities impact our understanding and pursuit of wellness also. For example, we see this in recent research when it comes to loneliness and isolation and how those particular factors can be a greater risk to our health, um, and longevity than smoking, physical activity, and other types of health interventions. And so we see God’s purposes in creating us for community and relationship in that type of research. So again, yes, you know, nutrition and exercise, sleep, stress management – all of those things are important, but we also want to be mindful not to neglect other aspects that have tremendous bearing on our health.

ANNA TRAN: So when a person comes to you, what’s like the first step you would help them take when it comes to just overall wellness? 

ALEX FORD: Sure. So that really depends on the person. Uh, when I’m walking alongside someone, I really want to strive to start where they’re at, um, where they’re coming to the relationship at the time. And oftentimes, you know, when people are coming to coaching or to counseling, they, they have a general idea of where they’d like to start, and so we usually try to start there. And then I like to take just a very individualized, organic approach, um, rather than, you know, a checklist type of approach, because again, everyone is starting with different background and different experiences and we want to really consider where that person is and where they’re feeling like the Lord is, is leading them. And so in those relationships, you know, I’ll emphasize, like, we’ve been talking about a biblical understanding of the body is, uh, you know, the foundation that we need to start from when we’re approaching wellness, and then I try to just encourage and equip people, um, in the areas that they’re looking for support in, which is gonna look different for everyone like I said. And then I emphasize the need for grace and discipline because I find that oftentimes, you know, we can swing one way or the other, um, when we’re trying to integrate those healthy rhythms. Um, but we really need both, and so I try to emphasize that. And I find that the concept of grace-driven effort can be really helpful for us to embody when we’re thinking about our approach to wellness. So that, that grace-driven effort is really, um, really vital. 

ANNA TRAN: Yeah. That’s the first time I feel like I’ve heard those words put in sequence like that. “Grace-driven effort.” Yeah, I like that.

ALEX FORD: Yeah, it’s, it’s D.A. Carson that – that’s primarily where I’ve heard, you know, him speak of that, but in regards to holiness. You know, the, there’s the well-known, yeah, well-known quote from him, you know, that we don’t drift towards holiness, like it requires grace-driven effort. And so it’s not like we – you know, applying this to wellness and holiness – you know, it’s not like we just throw up our hands and just expect God to do the work, although we know God is always at work. You know, we want to also in faith put one step in front of the other, showing ourselves grace, knowing that we won’t be perfect, knowing that we’re not called to be perfect, but what we are called to do is be faithful. And so we want to marry this concept of, of discipline or effort with grace, um, and just strive to honor the Lord in how we view and care for our bodies. 

ANNA TRAN: Any final words, um, any words of encouragement you would share with listeners if they’re struggling or if they are just, like, eager to care well for their bodies?

ALEX FORD: Sure. I would just encourage anyone who is feeling like the Lord is moving them in this trajectory really to just dig in and do the hard work. You know, these topics can feel like we don’t know where to start with them sometimes. Um, it can feel hard, um, and it can feel vulnerable as well. And so I would just encourage listeners to just start at the beginning. Like we said, just open the Bible, go back to Genesis, and just start to read about how, um, God has created you, how, um, God values the body, and, um, start there. And, you know, if someone is feeling led to start integrating some healthy rhythms or different habits into their lives just on this journey of wellness, I would encourage them just to start small. You know, oftentimes it can feel – especially if we don’t know where to start – it can feel heavy, and so starting small can be really helpful. Um, approaching anything that you start to integrate as little experiments can be, um, helpful as well, like “I’m just gonna try this out and see how I feel.” Like my example of friends that I would talk to who are exhausted after being on their computers all day, you know, just try, try going on a walk and see how you feel. And so integrating just things in a small, tangible way can be really helpful. And just know that grace-driven effort is necessary, that marrying that grace and discipline will serve you well just as you start to integrate these things into your life, knowing that we are not perfect, we are not called to be perfect, but we are called to honor the Lord in and through our bodies, and just seeking to be faithful in that in the every day, knowing that we are all on a journey. I am still on a journey. I will always be on a journey. Um, and so no matter where we start, we’re on a journey and we’ll continue to be. And the Lord just, again, calls us to be faithful, and so that’s what we want to, uh, seek to do. 

ANNA TRAN: Wonderful. Alright. So if listeners want to learn more about what you do, where can they go? 

ALEX FORD: Sure. So you can find me on my website, Um, you’re welcome to reach out to me on there. I’m also on Instagram and Facebook at Um, would love to connect with you and just encourage you however I can.

ANNA TRAN: Awesome. Alex, thanks so much for being on the podcast. 

ALEX FORD: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.


ANNA TRAN: Thanks so much for joining us. Make sure to leave a review for the show wherever you listen to podcasts. Support the show and our ministry by becoming a Patreon supporter. You can get bonus content and workbooks for each topic that we cover. To support our show, head over to Again, that’s


ANNA TRAN: Special thanks to our guests – Rachel Akers, Matthew Loftus, and Alex Ford. This episode was hosted, produced, and edited by me, Anna Tran. Music is from Lee Rosevere and Murphy DX. Rachel, let’s, uh, let’s read these credits for old time’s sake, huh? 

RACHEL AKERS: Alright, here we go! 

This show is brought to you by Love Thy Neighborhood. If you want a hands-on experience of missions in our modern times, come serve with Love Thy Neighborhood. Love Thy Neighborhood offers summer and year long missions internships for young adults ages 18 to 30. Bring social change with the gospel by working with an innovative nonprofit and serving your urban neighbors. 

ANNA TRAN: Experience community like never before as you live and do ministry with other Christian young adults. Grow in your faith by walking in the life and lifestyle of Jesus and being part of a vibrant, healthy church. Apply now at 

RACHEL AKERS: Which of these was a neighbor to the man in need? The one who showed mercy. Jesus tells us, “Go, and do likewise.”


This podcast is only made possible by generous donors like you!


Connect with Matthew:
Connect with Alex Ford:


Special thank you to our guests Rachel Akers, Matthew Loftus, and Alex Ford.
Senior producer is Jesse Eubanks.
Anna Tran is our producer, host, and audio editor for this episode.
Music for this episode comes from Murphy D.X.