For my entire life I have struggled with my body image. I cannot remember a season since I was a child where I was not over obsessed or under impressed with the body that I had to carry around each day. Even when I felt my best, I still always felt like the worst. Whether it was my complexion, skin, weight, height, or hair, I always found something to detest. No amount of compliments ever changed my mind. I hid my insecurity behind a facade of over confidence in my intellect and abilities. A poor body image and a worse opinion of myself compounded at 16 as a junior in high school when I developed an eating disorder. I worked out more than I should, and ate less than I needed to and quickly dropped from a healthy weight to a sickly one. By God’s grace and with help I overcame the eating disorder, but I never seemed to be able to shake the constant feeling of my body never being good enough. Even in marriage with the most loving and supportive husband who adores me and my body, I have struggled with those thoughts and feelings each day without fail.
Each day, that is, until two weeks ago.
I was in the shower, because all of my great life lessons are learned in the shower, and I was thinking about my body like always. If there ever was a warranted time to struggle with my body’s appearance, it was 50 days after having a baby. Loose skin and stretch marks had me down, and I was mulling over my physical goals for 2014 when I suddenly felt this passion and excitement for my body and meeting my goals that I have never felt before. Without even thinking, I said out loud “God where did this feeling come from?” and in response I heard:
“Because you finally have learned that your body is not your own.”
Um. Excuse me God? Not my own? I carry this body. I maintain it. Last time I checked no one else was shaving these legs for me! What. Are. You. Talking. About?
Then it occurred to me…He was right. It isn’t my own. There is nothing like having a kid to make you realize that you have no control of what happens to or in your body. It is my husband’s to delight and enjoy in. It is my son’s from which he was grown, birthed, and is now sustained. But most importantly, more than any of the other things my body belongs to, it is the home of the Holy Spirit and God’s to use in anyway He sees fit. Should He decide to use me to share the gospel with a million in India, or with my kids in the kitchen, it is His. Should He use me to bring Him glory by writing novels, or by honoring my husband and making him sandwiches, it is His. And for the majority of my life, I haven’t been acting like it. I continued to mull over my new revelation in the shower, when I got out and grabbed my bible and immediately came to this:
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” – 2 Corinthians 6:19-20
Just like how I can’t focus or be on track when my physical home is out of order and in disarray, the same goes for the Holy Spirit when my spiritual home is out of order and in disarray. I suddenly had this incredible desire to make my temple FIT, to make my temple WHOLE, and to make my temple WELL. I learned that day in the shower that PHYSICAL fitness is just as important as SPIRITUAL fitness.
So I made a commitment to myself. I will become the healthiest I have ever been before this year. I will be in the best shape of my life, for myself, my husband, and my child. In my opinion, it was sinful of me to be filling my body with junk, irregularly working out, and not caring about my physical health. There is something very spiritual about the physical. I felt convicted to claim to be a believer and not care for the most important thing a believer possesses, the Holy Spirit. So I started making steps. Changing the way I ate, what I cooked, and where we went. I started working out and actually looking forward to and enjoying it. I find joy and peace in caring for my body, and for the first time in my life, I don’t feel like I am trapped in my skin.