I REMEMBER the days when getting hurt wasn’t a big deal.
A cut here, a bruise there, scratches and skinned knees all seemed to heal almost overnight. Playing volleyball or soccer games with a sprain or muscle soreness was the norm.
But something happened on the morning that I turned 25. I woke up feeling more stiff than I usually did. And that was just the beginning.
Over the next year or so, I began to notice subtle changes that were happening with my body.
Cuts and bruises took longer to heal. My metabolism dramatically slowed down — sometimes a large lunch could stave off the possibility of dinner. Keeping in shape meant more than just a few pushups and sit-ups. I started needing six or more hours of sleep, rather than my previous usual amount of five hours.
Old injuries that were once easy to brush off became harder to ignore. A pinky toe that popped out of place during a volleyball practice — and popped right back in — would feel extremely sore if I walked for too long in flip flops. A sprained ankle from soccer often felt weaker and would sometimes roll again if I put too much weight on it.
I learned that my body was not as indestructible as I once perceived it to be. I was succumbing to the unstoppable forces of aging. And I had to learn how to show care and restraint to certain parts of my body that I had never had to worry about before.
I had to learn how to show care and restraint to certain parts of my body that I had never had to worry about before.
I realized there’s something here about how I understood my body in relation to how I understood the body of Christ.
Just as I didn’t worry about certain parts of my body when I was younger, I didn’t notice how I often would hurt my brothers and sisters. Surely, it wasn’t that serious of an injury — it’ll heal overnight, right?
Just as I begin to age and be more cautious about how I push my body, I begin to notice and take heed of the potential pain I bring onto others.
How we understand our bodies is important. We are embodied beings, endowed with flesh and bones and internal chemical reactions that sometimes bring us great joy and other times are the source of great pain.
We are embodied beings, endowed with flesh and bones and internal chemical reactions that sometimes bring us great joy and other times are the source of great pain.
If we are to truly be followers of God, we must understand what it means to love God — not just with our mouths, in our minds, or in our hearts — but with our entire being, including our bodies.
How can we better understand God and community, and find meaning in our sexual desires, appearances, appetite, addictions, and gender? How can we better know ourselves, so that we can better understand the rest of the body of Christ?
Whether we like our bodies or not, or even how they change over time, there is no escaping that we only exist and know God within our bodies.
Care for your body. Because it will help you care for the rest of the body of Christ.