Destiny In Bloom

On God and Your Body

On God and Your Body

posted on January 10th, 2013 / by Marissa Star / 21 Comments

Yes. You read that right. We are talking about God and our bodies.

Yes, that human body God so ingeniously created to be the thing that we grew into, the vehicle we would occupy as we journey through our destined-before-time lives.

Our bodies tell the genetic story of the lives that came before us, each one of us so full of history: the shape of our ears, the curve of our noses, even the length of our fingers taking on an essence of the lives that fused together to create our unique person, the person we see when we look in the mirror everyday.

I’ve always been amazed by the human body, how intricate and unique each one of us is. There is not one like another. Bodies; they are strong and they are fragile. Our bodies can get sick and yet they have the built in abilities to heal themselves.  The more you study them it’s fascinating and amazing, every new fact I learn about the body further convinces me of the love and care of a beautiful story telling creator God.

A God whose design for us included the reality of our tangible body, He created us, beings, who are made up of three components; spirit, soul annnd … ahem … body.

Bodies are amazing.

Why as Christian woman, or men for that matter, do we make it so taboo to talk about them? As if we weren’t aware of them or as if it would be less spiritual to do so? People, male or female, have been completely aware of their bodies and their changes since they were children, anyone would be in complete denial to confess anything less. They are active, functioning containers of the daily miracles of being alive.

Your heart that beats, your lungs that breathe, your eyes that see, your skin that responds to touch… and if that was not crazy-amazing enough, your body holds your brain, where you experience memories, and a heart that feels joy, happiness, sadness, pain, and all the feelings that make you know you are indeed ALIVE.

Why, for the last several generations, have we been so mean to them? Why are we starving them, torturing them, neglecting them, and cutting them; as if they defined us? What if it was possible to see them in their proper balance? What if we loved and respected them out of pure amazement at the one who saw fit to create them to be the container of His voice and presence on this earth.

I guess I struggle with this, because I’ve had a couple questions in my heart to bring to the table of this discussion:

Could it be possible we’ve let our bodies suffer the abuse of our pain, our fears, our need for control and power or the expression of the lack there of?

Is it at all possible we’ve lacked balance because we didn’t know how to teach that balance to others in this crazy society of narcissism and fast food? Have we been crippled by our own caparisons and the insecurities we’ve allowed them to bring because we’ve been inundated with images and messages of what beautiful should look like? So much so that we’ve lost sight of the simple wonder and appreciation of our alive uniqueness wrapped in our one-of-a-kind epidermis?

I’m just curious.

I want to stir your heart and get those brain juices flowing.

What do you really think? Why?

I’m not trying to be controversial, if you know me at all; you know I’m not that person. I’ve asked these questions. I’ve brought them before the God I know and wrestled with them, wanting my own personal freedom and peace with my own body.

I cringe when people act like I’ve been that girl who’s always been thin, or never struggled or they assume because I’m thin now, that somehow self-image or the feeling of beautiful is easier for small people. As if being small makes a healthy, whole person or brings identity.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The body was never meant to define beauty or establish identity … any time it does that, it has crossed over to occupy a place that only God should occupy and that becomes something called idolatry.

I think we’ve seen the body idolized and it’s cause us to shy away from seeing it rightly. Or we have compared ourselves to images that society has idolized and felt like we came up short, so we shy back from body health completely. Having healthy body self-image has nothing to do with a worldly standard but everything to do with God’s original design for our humanity.  I believe He desires that the way we live and relate to each other would show us and teach us more about our Creator and how He created us in His image.

If you remember correctly, He formed the man from dust (He formed a body) and then He breathed the breath of life into him on the 6th day of creation and then He called what He had created good. (Gen. 1:27-31)

He called the body good. One more time …

HE called YOUR body good.

Long story short, we know the story, Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (tempted by the serpent, satan). For the first time they were aware that they were naked, they were ashamed, they covered them selves and hid.  Because of their choices, our bodies (who some say were meant to never die or grow old) began to age and eventually our bodies would die. Our bodies weren’t the only thing to suffer when sin was introduced into the picture, we also deadened spiritually being disconnected from the life of His truth. (Super paraphrased from Gen. 3)

Leaning fully on the knowledge of good and evil we learned to navigate through life with over-developed souls. Our soul consists of our mind, will and emotions. Our soul is where our self-life happens, it’s where we think, feel and will to express what we think and feel into our behavior.

I’m so grateful that in the garden God had a plan to redeem us to walk with Him again in truth, our spirits being awakened and coming alive in Him as we became aware of God’s great love for us.

That great love for us, manifesting itself in His son Jesus, redeeming us from our sin and shame with His very life as the sacrifice; it’s when we believe, confess and receive that gift that our spirits are awakened to life in God. Life in God being the place we live from where we connect with God, hearing His voice and experiencing His presence. It’s our spirit that receives the truth of our identity by who God says we are, not what we’ve experienced, been told by other people or the imprint of our society.

I know that was a lot of theology in order to say what I really want to say, but it is important that we think rightly so that we can experience the freedom of having a properly aligned whole and healthy personhood. Proper alignment being that we would live from our Spirit that hears truth from God and that the soul and body would be subject to the spirit.

Our souls, apart from our spirit, will struggle to find peace with our body, it will struggle to find identity in the way it looks or what we can make our bodies do. Our souls will strive, compare and compete causing cycles of body shame and condemnation in a world that defines beauty in numbers and shapes. It has caused men and woman to self-loath and a generation of young women to starve and torture themselves with eating disorders.

I understand it’s taken many of us years of programming our souls to think and feel wrongly about our bodies and that’s not easily undone in one day.

However, I DO believe when we surrender our souls (our mind, will and emotions) to the truth our spirits receive from God about His original design for our bodies we can return to the awe of how truly amazing our bodies are. I believe we can find the peace and inner resolve to love and respect our body the way God would intend.

Which, finally, leads me to the permission to take care of your body and not think it’s unspiritual to do so. Taking care of your body is one of the best things you can do for your overall person.

What you put into it matters. Keeping active and healthy matters, for your overall health, both for you and your family. Taking care of your body includes your overall diet, activity level and giving it proper rest. I love the scripture in the bible that talks about taking care of the temple of the Holy Spirit, the place He wants to dwell, inside us, our body. (1 Corinthians 6:19)

Just like I think it’s bad religion that excludes the Holy Spirit, I think it’s unhealthy to our wholeness to neglect the care of one third of our whole personhood.

I have not always loved my body. I have fallen prey to comparison, self-judgment and despair. I know what it feels like to not feel beautiful because I looked for worth and value in what I looked like and a number on a scale.

It was when I was 200lbs crying my eyes out to God for help that a true revelation of my beauty came. I choose to believe everyday weight had nothing to do with who I was or with my beauty. I began to rock beautiful long before I lost the weight.

Through that long journey I did learn how to take care of my body, to make a lifestyle of health with my soul submitted and accountable to the truth God feeds my Spirit. I love working out and I love fitness but I also intentionally steward my body’s proper place in my heart. Stewarding healthy body image is progressive and not always a one time deal, I wish I could tell you it was, but God is so good to us that He continues to free us to greater levels as we vulnerably open our spirit to hear Him.

During a recent conversation with a friend, my heart was really confronted with something I had not let go of with my body.

Driving away in my car, the Lord whispered to me,

“Ris, can you say you love your body?”

“Yes Lord, I love my body.”

“Can you say, I love my stretch marks?” (I have a lot of those from having my four sons)

I felt sick to my stomach, it took my breath away.

“No, I can’t. I don’t love them. Actually I hate them.”

Then I heard myself and was reminded of a quote I love, “Be careful what you say to yourself, yourself is listening.”

I heard it. I knew it. The power of life and death is in our words. Right away I knew hatred was NOT in the heart of God for me to feel towards any part of me.

So I told the Lord, “I think in this moment I’d be lying to say that I looooove them, but I do give you permission to speak your truth to me about my stretch marks, I give you permission to do the heart surgery you need to do so I think rightly, Your thoughts, about my body.”

I could feel Him put His hand on my heart and gently say, “I promise to take every scar and make it your story, I’ll take every trail of your heart and make it your testimony … I redeem everything. I can redeem how you think about your body.”

You know … tears … love that washes away shame … peace … God hugging my humanity … making Himself known to my spirit … taking care of my soul.

What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you about your body? Is He wanting to wash over you with new truths about how you see your body? Is He showing you ways you could surrender some soul-ish thinking so your spirit can love your body with God’s truth?

The truth is …

You are amazing. Your body is amazing. And today is a perfect day to hear God and make peace with that.

21 Responses to “On God and Your Body”

  1. So good!

  2. I love this and it only confirms what God has been dealing with me on…we are a master piece, but the world constantly tries to tell us different…each of us expresses and shows a different unique attribute of what God calls beautiful and is in FACT beautiful, but so many times I have found myself trying to improve, change, or look down upon what He has given me for my body…I believe The Lord wants to take me and all His daughters to deeper depths of freedom in this area!!! Thank Ris for always listening to the heart of God and inspiring us to tackle the quiet, sometimes hidden issues we as a culture avoid!! Love you girl!!!

  3. WOW! WOW! WOW! You just went there! Thank you for taking on a subject from such a heavenly perspective. Sooooo many things stuck out to my heart, but the one I want to really focus one is the "soul submitted and accountable to the truth God feeds my Spirit". 30 + years of hating my body went out the door when I submitted my soul to the truth!! I spent so many years letting the size of my clothes, the number on the scale, & and the opinions of men define my value and worth as a woman. Jan 2012 started a new year, but also a new way of thinking about myself and learning to line up with God's opinions of me. Learning to ask Him how He saw me, what He had planned for my self-abused body, & agreeing with Him. There is supernatural things that happen when you hear, confess, & agree with what He has spoken to your heart. Whewwwwww!! Last year I stopped going after other's success stories and I started asking God to show me my story. The steps I needed to take to love my body again. It wasn't about losing my obese label, it was about gaining an identity in Him. Marissa- thank you for being open, honest, and completely vulnerable!! Oh and cheering me on!! ♥ya!

  4. love this!

  5. There is so much life and freedom wrapped up in this post, Ris. SO SO SO good. Thank you for taking the time and doing the work it took to take what was in your heart and get it out here 'on paper'. Beautiful!

  6. "The body was never meant to define beauty or establish identity … any time it does that, it has crossed over to occupy a place that only God should occupy and that becomes something called idolatry."

    Crazy, deep, beautiful writing Marissa!! I am blown away by your vulnerability and authentic honesty.
    I just LOVE how you place God in every area of your life and give Him permission to have complete control in EVERY area of your life! Truly inspiring! It has caused me to search my heart in new places. I pray this speaks to many!
    Love you!!

  7. Soooooo. That was YOU sitting in the booth behind Nancy Smith and me on Tuesday, right?!?!?

    You just posted an entire chapter focus of the book God is calling me to write. Thanks for the validation!!! I'm thinking YOU are totally psychic!!!!

    Sigh of relief…someone else "gets" it, Lord.

    Great and spirit filled insight, sister!!!

  8. I can so identify with this Ris! Learning to love my body, no, practicing loving my body has been such a challenge for me. Recently, I've become aware of how much I prevent my husband from touching my stomach. It's the only "off limits" part of me there is in my mind. Of course I don't physically prevent him from touching me there but I am acutely aware of it when he does. I cringe and get very, very uncomfortable. I know this is not right and even inhibits fullness in our intimacy. You are so brave in admitting that you had not only not loved, but hated a part of your body. I have done this too. Lord, give me a revelation of your love for my stomach! Not a future or past version, but my right now, today, too soft, flabby, stretched marked stomach. I want to love ALL parts of my body the way that you do and be free to let my husband love all of me as well!

  9. I began to rock beautiful long before I lost the weight.- Love that and this whole article
    Rock on girl!

  10. Soooo wow. Lets just go THERE! I love how this is written- from such a heart of humility and such a heart that is so beautiful- YOU! Thank you for opening your heart to THIS subject… It is such a hard one. I truly love the end how you gave God permission to speak a newness to you about your stretch marks or for any of us that are reading- we can learn to give Him permission for ANYthing we don't love about our own body.

    Thank you for being the authentic beautiful YOU…. Love love kerrie

  11. Good word!

  12. This. Is. AMAZING! Beautiful. Needed so much today! Thank you for such a beautiful journey into valuing, appreciating and loving our bodies!

  13. oh my goodness. This is so good! I especially love the stretch mark part. God has spoken to me about mine. I hated mine. But one day after checking my self out on the mirror ;) God spoke to me about them. Each set of scars come with a story. One set of stretch marks came from carrying my first born, who has an amazing birth story. Another set came from carrying my second, where I almost lost my life after I delivered him but God intervened in a way that changed my life forever. And all the other marks are from my weight fluctuating which not only represents the emotional turmoil I've gone through the years, but also different areas God has healed me. This is when I realized, hey, God loves me and my body for what it is and not only do I have a story, but so do my imperfections! I love my stretch marks because of this moment.<3 "I began to rock beautiful long before I lost the weight"- uhm, rockstar!!

  14. Awesome! Awesome!!! I think I've needed to hear this for 28 years. Thank you. I am going to believe the same thing over my stretch marks. 4 beautiful girls. ;)

  15. Such a touching message. Shines a new light on the old body image issue. Puts our focus back on God where it should have been all along. My favorite quote: "What if we loved and respected them out of pure amazement at the one who saw fit to create them to be the container of His voice and presence on this earth." Thank you for sharing what God is showing you.

  16. soooo good ris!! one of your best and so timely! thank you for living so authentically… are a blessing! love you much!!

  17. Wowza! Heart surgery going on. I have struggled with my weight for some
    time. And I have been forbidden to get a new battery for my scale. I can see differences in my clothes but I think, I really mean I know, I still picture myself as the 19 year old teenager. So I'm comparing myself now, to my younger self. I'm 31 with 4 kids, I'm not the same person, neither is my body. I'm learning how to love me for me, and that includes what 4 pregnancies and 40 months collectively of breastfeeding have done to my body. "I began to rock beautiful long before I lost the weight!" Exactly, I don't want to wait to embrace my beauty or rock a style that I like! Thank you for always keeping it real! ;-)

  18. ""I began to rock beautiful long before I lost the weight."

    Loved this! You just spoke directly into my heart right there. Thanks for your honest words and for going there!

  19. Great post from you my dear. Thanks for sharing dear!

  20. I struggled with eating disorders and body image for half of my life and the Lord delivered me; however, the enemy still whispers once in a while. Your testimony is very encouraging and right on target. I admire your boldness. I, too, have a memorable tatoo. It is a rosary. It represents forgiveness. It reminds me that I am forever forgiven of my sin. It is a great conversation starter and opens a window to witness to others. May the Lord bless you!

  21. [...] marks and tell them I loved them while I was preparing to write an article for Destiny in Bloom, On God and Your Body, and it made me sick to my stomach every time I looked at [...]