I’m beginning to think it’s all about falling in love. With your own body.

For years I’ve tried the exercise plans, the “eating more healthy food that tastes suspiciously like grass” plans, the “beating up your body to try to make it comply to your wishes plans”, the “starving yourself so that all you can think about is food, food, and more food” plans.

I think I had it all wrong. I think all these years I’ve been trying to fix my body with the hopes that eventually I’d like it and it would serve me the way I expected to be served. I didn’t ever dare to hope I’d actually love it. That was not only beyond the realm of possibility, it was beyond what I could even give myself permission to think.

Loving my body was just far too wrong, wrong, wrong. The body is the place where sin resides, after all. Loving it would mean that I was making it my idol and putting it ahead of God and that’s just heaping more sin onto an already sinful, disgraceful body. One must force the body into submission, not listen to it or try to understand it. Paying too much attention to it meant allowing it to entertain sinful desires and every sunday school student knows that lust and passion and too many sexual thoughts lead us straight to hell.

No, I mustn’t love it. I mustn’t even think about it much, or touch it tenderly lest it lead me astray.

For too many years I have fought the demons of my past. Guilt and shame and fear of sin have their ways of embedding themselves so far below the surface of our consciousness that even when we think we’ve rooted them out and stomped on them and thrown them out with the trash, their deeply embedded roots just keep growing little sprouts that trip us up when we try to move on and leave them behind.

Perhaps I’ll never fully allow myself to love this weak and flawed body, but I’m trying damn hard. I’m trying to honour it with what it needs, let it move when it wants to move, eat when it wants to eat, sleep when it needs to sleep. I’m trying to touch it tenderly and slather it with lotion when it’s dry and parched. I’m trying to stand naked in front of the mirror more often and whisper “you are beautiful”.

Because I no longer believe that this is sin. I believe this is honouring what God has created and trusting that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” and that my “body is a temple” where God resides. God wouldn’t make an ugly temple. God wouldn’t want this priestess to loathe the sight of her own temple – the place where she meets God – and never treat it with kindness and respect. Just read through the parts of the old testament where God instructs people in the care and construction of temples and you’ll see how much God values a beautiful, well cared-for temple.

I am forty pounds from what would be considered my “ideal weight” and yet that no longer matters. I haven’t stepped on a scale in months and I don’t plan to. I am finally beginning to love my body and more fully love the God/dess that resides in it and that is all that I need from this journey. I do not need to conform to anyone’s ideals, fit into a certain size of jeans, or accomplish a specific weight loss goal.

This body is beautiful just the way it is. This body is strong enough to run five miles. This body has born four beautiful children and nursed three of them. This body gives my husband pleasure.

This body is ENOUGH.

It’s all about falling in love.

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