Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Physical Therapy

Today, while getting a chiropractic adjustment for the first time in I-don't-know-when, I had an epiphany.

I live in my head a lot. Thinking, going to counseling, reading theology books, practicing my faith, writing. I also live in my heart, feeling, empathizing, crying, internalizing.

It's ironic that I place so much value on my internal life, yet disregard what's happening in my physical body, my body that carries me around, breathing God's life-breath in and out, my body that takes care of my children, loves my husband, plays the piano and sings.

Why is this? How have I become so disconnected from my body that I don't cherish it the way it deserves, the way I'm called to as a Christian? Why am I such an irresponsible steward of something as amazing and miraculous and precious as my physical body?

I'm not talking about monitoring my weight. In the past ten years I've battled anorexia, binged, counted calories, obsessively worked out, then become a couch potato. In my adult years I've weighed between 100 and 175 pounds. I'm 5'7". And now I'm finally comfortable with my own skin. I think I'm beautiful. I finally do not care about my weight. Really. Although I still take showers, wear deodorant and makeup, the way I look is no longer very important to me.

But in spite of all this accepting-myself-as-I-am stuff, I'm not very nice to my body. I wear it out, I strain my eyes, I eat unhealthy, I lose my muscle mass, I don't exercise, I injure my muscles, stub my toes, burn myself. The nicest thing I do for my body is coating it in moisturizing lotion.

Why? Why do I go to a counselor every week yet never go to the gym to work out? Why this double standard, the inner life vs. the outer body?

I understand why the Apostle Paul responded to the growing Gnostic movement in the first century A.D. with such strong disagreement. We humans are not just soul and spirit, we are also body, just like Jesus was not only God, but also human, made of mortal flesh, vulnerable, and weak. He got tired when he walked long distances, sleeping in the back of storm-tossed boats and getting his feet washed when they were dirty. He was human, physically one of us. And that's important to remember, because sometimes we can focus so much on our internal life that we forget we are creatures in need of physical care. And at the end of human history when this world is renewed in glory, I'm reminded that we'll also get renewed bodies, glorious in their perfection, yet still bodies.

So I'm going to take better care of my body. I'm going to exercise more, stretch more, love myself a little more. I'm going to celebrate God's coming kingdom in its perfection as I work my body towards healthiness, awaiting the day that all this work will no longer be necessary.

And then I'll just take it easy for the rest of eternity. That sounds like fun.


Jan said...

I'm with you..all the way... you are so very special..

Rebecca said...

Hi Jan! thanks for stopping by and spreading your encouragement! YOU are so special to me too!

Anonymous said...

Today we took a walk over hill and dale for the first time in months. My body will thank me tomorrow with achy muscles. My spirit already thanked me by kicking up a huge joy over seeing the beautiful sky with a full moon tossed in for effect. Thanks for the encouraging blog/reminder to take care of ourselves.

Anonymous said...

I'm guilty of that too...I wear down this old body and am forced to stop and realize that if I don't take care of it, I'm not going anywhere. I had a recent illness that helped to open my eyes to this just a little bit further. So I'm trying to take better care of best I can. =) I'm with you.

jess.modaff said...

Right there with you.

mltp said...
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