I just finished Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas. You’ll be receiving a copy in your mailbox soon because it is my wish for the world to read this book. While I loved Made to Crave (and am ready to read it again), it was aimed expressly to women and speaks most to women who are struggling with weight loss. But Every Body Matters is a book for the human condition. Kingdom work is hard and we could all be in better shape for the long road ahead. (For my non-Christian brothers and sisters- how are your physical struggles getting in the way of what you could be doing with your spirit? We’re on the same page here, I know we are.)
A chapter of the book is titled “Heads Without Bodies” and Thomas laments the way the Church fails to address the manner in which our physical bodies influence our spiritual strength. We focus on the intellect, the mind, the emotions, and give little attention to what literally weighs us down. I have been as guilty of treating myself as a “head without a body” and likewise a “body without a head.” Let’s continue our conversation from yesterday- What’s different?
In 2013, (and by all means, check the archives if you wish) I lost about 30 pounds. That was cool. But it was a treatment of my body without a goal for my head. I white-knuckled my way to that point by running, trying a variety of food limitations, and posting progress reports whether it felt good or not. It is no wonder I simply tired of the race.
In 2014, I started seeing Holly over the summer. I have mentioned previously that this was a reaction of fear. I remember saying to her in an early session “I want to be in the best shape- mind, body, and spirit when I become a parent.” Isn’t that nice? It is nice. But it wasn’t actually true. (Holly has since graciously pointed out that most of us know the “right” answers to the questions and supply those whenever we can. I have since admitted that I want to lose weight because I want people to like me more.) (I’m working on that.) What I should have said was this, “I AM FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I WANT TO GET A HANDLE ON THIS AND I’M HAVING A HARD TIME.” We spent a lot of time working on learning to relax, to let go, to recognize what is good about me. (Around this time, Holly introduced me to my dear prophet Brene Brown. Just go right ahead and treat yourself to a morning Ted Talk. Go. Right. Ahead.) What I failed to address last summer was any real plan to lose weight. I gave a half-hearted attempt at going wheat free for 2 1/2 weeks. It was all head and no body.
So here’s a fun thing. I’ve lost about 10 pounds since I started writing again. But don’t freak out. It’s just water weight. In fact, I think I carry about 15-20 pounds of water weight at all times. It’s a medical thing. Like having no metabolism. Which is another thing I have. (Or, don’t have.)
I share this because it’s something I’m glad for but also because to me, it matters. It matters because it represents my body and spirit working in tandem. This is something I will continue to work very hard for (even if it means writing this same post over and over again). A scary thing that Thomas references is a study from Oxford University that determined obesity can shorten a life by 10 years. No matter our mission, and though I can love on and lift people up just the way I am today (and am loved by God perfectly,) I could do this good work for 10 more years if I address my weight now. It so hard friends, but I am called to do it. (To turn north, if you recall.) My living is service to my earthly vessel. Living good and doing right by my gifts is not simply a matter of willpower, or blood pressure, or positive thinking. It is wholehearted worship.