Sometimes I like my body. Make that occasionally I like my body. And sometimes I’m uber embarrased by it. The crepe paper skin above my knees must NOT be bared for public viewing. Then there’s my growing turkey throat that I like to accessorize with a scarf no matter the season. Today in her blog, friend and co-discoverer in life, Kathi Lipp, takes me by my pudgy-fingered hand and walks me into her own journey from body horrible to body beauty full. Come along with us and take a new look at the vessel of “you” in which God inhabits this planet?
Loving Your Body (When You Have Every Reason in the World Not To)
By Kathi Lipp
I loved my writer's group. There were five of us who met on a regular basis, and not only did we share our writing, we shared our lives. I didn't meet one member, Judy, right away because she had been traveling since I joined.
I’d been attending for a few months when my husband and I were scheduled to go on a cruise. Roger was trying to talk me into going snorkeling, but I reminded him that snorkeling included putting on a bathing suit and there was no way that was happening.
“You know I can’t wear a bathing suit.” I said to him.
“I don’t get that. Why won’t you wear one?” Roger was dumbfounded.
Did that question even dignify an answer? Didn’t he see all the extra pounds I was carrying? The stretch marks and the veins that were popping up in weird and unexpected places? No – a bathing suit was out of the question.
After our cruise (sans snorkeling) I went back to my writer’s group and met Judy. My friends had told me almost everything about the Amazing Judy. Almost everything. The thing that they forgot to mention? Judy had no legs. She used prosthetics, or mostly a wheelchair. Interesting detail to leave out …
After a few minutes, I could see why no one mentioned it. It was the least remarkable thing about Judy. As she regaled us with tales of her travels, she mentioned that she had also been on a cruise, and we started to compare notes. And then she said something that changed my life forever, “And my favorite part of the cruise? Snorkeling!” Judy obviously had no problem putting on a swimsuit.
My body and I have been in battle for as long as I can remember.
I have done horrible, terrible things to her:
I’ve starved her.
I’ve gorged her.
I’ve shamed her.
I’ve hidden her.
I’ve called her ugly and I’ve called her useless.
I’ve called her names, and kept her out of relationships because of my hateful feelings towards her.
I’ve said horrible, terrible things about her to others, and to myself.
And all she’s wanted to do for me? She wanted to show up and take care of me. That’s all she’s ever hoped for.
She carried me to school so I could learn. She’s carried me down the aisle to the man I love. She carried my two most precious gifts, my son and my daughter.
She’s loved my husband well.
She’s cared for my parents when they were sick.
All she does is show up and serve. And all I do is let her know how ungrateful I am.
But recently – God has showed me something different about this body in a verse I had read a hundred times:
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV
Here’s what I discovered (finally!): She doesn’t belong to me. She is on loan.
You see, I’m so much better at taking care of other’s possessions than I am taking care of my own. And now, that is how I’m viewing this body – on loan.
I’m learning how to be kinder to her – she doesn’t belong to me.
Is she perfect? No – not by a long shot.
But she does not belong to me. I would never tell another person that their baby was ugly – why am I OK talking about God’s creation the way that I do?
What I’m doing differently now with my loaner body:
Daily, I’m giving thanks to God for loaning me this body that is strong and capable. That has born babies and loved my husband well.
Daily, I’m thanking God that he has entrusted me with a body for however long I have it.
Daily I’m going to use this body for its designed purpose. I’m going to dance with my husband at our daughter’s wedding. I’m going to walk my dog to the lake and back. I’m going to love my husband with the lights on.
And next time I’m going to go snorkeling.
Kathi Lipp is a national speaker and the author of fifteen books including her latest release, Hot Mama:12 Secrets to a Sizzling Hot Marriage. Other popular titles include Clutter Free, The Get Yourself Organized Project, The Husband Project and The Cure for the Perfect Life. She is a frequent guest on radio and TV and has been named Focus on the Family radio’s “Best of Broadcast.” She is the host of the popular podcast You’ve Got This with Kathi Lipp. She and her husband Roger are the parents of young adults in San Jose, CA. Join Kathi and her guests for her blog series at 5 Days to a Better Marriage!