When I do my weekend cardio at the gym, I often spend my time on the elliptical flipping through an odd melange of magazines that have been cast off by those whose exercise for the day is, blissfully, complete. This past Saturday, it finally hit me: Those magazines make me feel terrible about myself!
I have all the wrong clothes. My house isn’t cute enough. My marriage isn’t happy enough. My children—if I had any—wouldn’t be smart enough. It’s all right there in black and white. And of course, it’s all wedged between ads for the products that will fix these horrible problems I have. (At a minimum, I could achieve cleaner floors and a slimmer tummy and look better in my jeans in just three easy steps, if only I would apply myself.)
It’s exhausting! I realized that instead of focusing on my cardio intervals, I was berating myself for being fat, lazy, and out of shape even as I was working out!
The negative feedback is everywhere. It would be easy to blame the publishers and the advertisers; to some extent, they’ve trained us to be self-loathing quick-fix seekers caught on a hamster wheel of self-help consumerism. And for whatever reasons, we’ve let them.
Blame isn’t terribly productive, though. What I’d rather do is find an alternative, something that makes me feel good about myself, something that lifts me up instead of pulling me back into destructive habits of self-criticism and comparison.
For our part at Franciscan Media, we hope Liberty+Vine magazine is that positive alternative for you. We launched L+V, our first all-digital magazine, in August 2012 in hopes of reaching people where spirituality—something that can seem far-off and ambiguous—becomes real for them in their daily lives, not only through prayer and worship but also through simple interactions with others, observations about the world around us, engagement with pop culture, and exploration of faith through the lens of the everyday.
If you haven’t yet seen Liberty+Vine, check it out. You can get a free sample, and then let us know what you think. You can follow us on Facebook, too, to see what we’re up to and share with us the ways you make sense of the world and keep your faith alive.
The best part? You can read Liberty+Vine on your tablet or mobile device—even when you’re at the gym.