“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body,”
(1 Cor. 6:19-20).
Since the birth of my two children I have gained over 2 stone in weight and despite my best efforts – I have not been able to lose it. Unfortunately, God did not give me one of those bodies that just pop back into shape!
I eat junk to try to take my mind off of the stress in my life and it has worked, for the most part. Chocolate and crisps has got me through 2 rounds of post natal depression, the death of a family member, a very difficult patch in our marriage, the long lonely nights of the new-born feeds, the stress of un-employment and endless demanding screaming kids! Junk food is my best friend, my loyal companion, my rock in times of trouble, my comfort and pleasure.
So why am I about to end this love affair?
1 week ago I leaned over the bath to turn the taps off and BOOM! – My back went. It is not the first time it has happened (another result of carrying large babies and lifting toddlers!) This time it was really bad. I have spent all week on crutches and have to see the back doctor pretty much every month for ever now. The fact that I am 2 stone over weight and completely unfit and out of shape has contributed to this.
During the week we had no food at all in the house so I went with my daughter to the local supermarket. We walked through the door and the security guard felt so sorry for me he told me to use the electric mobility scooter to do my shopping!!! (Secretly I have always wanted to have a go on one of these!) Before I could politely decline, my 3-year-old daughter has already climbed into the driving seat! “I seriously CAN NOT do this!” I told the guard “I’m 32 years old!”. Anyway, I estimated that the chances of seeing someone I knew were very slim at that time in the morning – and my daughter wanted to ‘have a ride on the special car!’ so we took it!
Actually it was such great fun! she sat on my lap and we whizzed along making terrified people jump out of the way! It was quite embarrassing when I was trying to reach some breakfast cereal and she suddenly grabbed hold of the controls and shot us into reverse at top speed sending us careering backwards into the Coco pops!
Anyway, the point of this post is for me to come to terms with the fact that my body and my faith are not separate things. It is a very common thing to think that they are. But didn’t Jesus use His body to serve God and mankind by dying on the cross? How much more physically/spiritually connected can you get?! God gave me this body as am opportunity to honour Him with it – and it is up to me to take care of it. It has served me and my husband and my children well so far, through work, sex and child-bearing, and it is my responsibility to keep it working.
The catechism puts it like this…
II. “BODY AND SOUL BUT TRULY ONE”
364 The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit:232
- Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honour since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day. 233
365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the “form” of the body:234 i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.
Used in accordance with His will, my body becomes a prayer to God – a way of acknowledging that what He wants for my body is better than what I want. It is a very hard and humbling thought and I know I am going to struggle with this one. I am going to have to give up and grieve for my beloved junk food, and face life stress depending on God now, not chocolate. But I know I am not alone.