"Resolutions" for the body
Be kind to yourself
‘Tis the season. My social media is ready to be filled with people committed to eating, exercising, and “caring” for their bodies better in 2023.
People want to be “healthier”; Christians want to be better “stewards” of their bodies. But lean in, listen hard and you’ll hear it: I want to look different. (Men, of course, are a little behind on the cultural body pressure, so for them, it’s still okay to just say “I want to lose weight.”)
We make ourselves feel better about our desire to be thinner by telling ourselves it’s about health. And it’s not. I know this because of how many of us would answer these questions:
what if you could be healthier, but you would need to gain ten pounds?
what if you could lose 25 pounds in a couple of months, but it would come with the potential side effect of increasing your risk for cancer down the line?
what if you got a painless, symptom-free, virus that resulted in losing 5 pounds in a week?
These kinds of scenarios (which are very real) force us to show our hand. We want thinness, not health. We want to control how our bodies look, not steward them.
Of course we do. We’ve been programmed our entire lives to believe that bodies are for looking at. If I ask you what you love about your body, (or what you hate about your body), what comes to mind? I’m guessing it’s more likely to be a part that you like (or don’t like) how it looks. (I doubt any of us thought of the amazing way our bodies distribute water to our cells.)
But bodies are for living in, not looking at.
Judging your body’s performance by how it looks is like judging a car’s performance by what color it is.