I was an obese child with a pretty face and a sharp mind. My parents were preachers, Charismatic, non-denominational preachers. We learned to speak in tongues at vacation bible school and my babysitters cast out demons as easily as they ordered pizza. Adults in my life lovingly repeated, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts!” It’s what’s on the inside that the counts, the inside counts, the outside doesn’t count. The outside only counts if you are a heathen, or just especially dumb.
Don’t you know all flesh is grass!?
Don’t you know this will all fade away!?
This is how I lived with my body most of my life. My body was just a thing that didn’t matter, an inconvenient, uncomfortable container that I had to wait inside of, carry like a cross, pray to be delivered from, discipline mercilessly.
My body. The stuff of me that exists outside my brain, and wherever my heart is. My body is almost six feet tall, weighs around 170 pounds, has gigantic feet stuck to one end, and a somewhat ridiculous amount of hair to the other. Its trunk is almost longer than its legs, its arms never know how to hang. It has never had much of a posterior, until the powerlifting. Twice it has stretched to build and protect other little bodies , and twice it has been cut into, unexpectedly, to rescue the people living inside it.
My body has been producing and/or feeding other people for almost five years straight. My body loves to deadlift, to squat, to move huge amounts of iron across the room. My body pushes the old Volvo up the driveway, picks up the sandbox full of rainwater, sprints to catch the toddler running for the street.
My body carried me to school, to church, to band camp, to graduation. It walked me on stage, off ledges, down the aisle. It married my husband, made my babies, and pushed every single button that put these very words on the screen.
How does this not count?
Remember the part about our bodies as temples, and God valuing the human body so highly that he chose to live in one, and then walk around in it healing bodies, feeding bodies, and eventually letting his own be broken as a sacrifice for the whole world?
Your body is important to God. Your body is important to your husband. Your body is important to your children. Your body should be important to you.
Does it get in your way? Does it keep you from working, from playing, from loving? Is it stacked up around you like sandbags, keeping the whole world out? Is it the wall you hit when you’re inspired to do brave things? Is it the excuse you make when you are called but to afraid to answer?
Is your body strong? Does it GO when you say go? Does it carry you with grace and momentum? Does it help you do your work?