Bodily contentment

26 May

“Because your steadfast love is better than ______________, my lips will praise you.” Psalm 63:3

At one women’s meeting in college, we were challenged to fill in that blank with whatever our biggest idol was, the thing we wanted most. At that time, I filled the blank with marriage. That’s what I wanted the most–and the thing I had the hardest time trusting God with.

But now the blank would be filled with a flat stomach. My stomach is my least favorite body part and no matter how in shape I get, how many sit-ups I do, I’m never quite satisfied with it.

Like most Americans who aren’t satisfied with their bodies, I have tried diets and exercise. I have counted calories and analyzed nutrition facts. I have sworn off sugar, cut out pop, ate more protein, ate fewer carbs. And you know, in college I was thin. I look back at pictures and think “Hey, not bad!” But here’s the kicker: I was never satisfied. No matter how much weight I lost and how toned I got, I never got to that elusive point (that I sinfully think is still out there somewhere) where I think “My body is now exactly how I want it.” Even if I did get to that point, one cheeseburger and it’d all be over.

So the past couple of days, I’ve been thinking about contentment, God’s glory, and my life. I listened to a great sermon by Tim Keller called Splitness about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and the Apostle Paul in Romans 7. Keller points out that the commandment that gave Paul the most trouble was the 10th–Thou Shalt Not Covet. This commandment was different than the rest because it dealt with a heart issue and not just behavior. Keller said that the opposite of covetousness is contentment and that if we really had God, if we really understood how loved we were, we would be content.

Then, Travis and I were up hiking near Nederland. And I started thinking about something I read in Comfortable in Your Own Skin: being content with your body is glorifying to God. I had heard John Piper say that the purpose of our possessions is to show how much more precious God is to us than they are. The purpose of my body is to show how much more precious to me God is. It made complete sense: I remind myself to be content without the latest fashions and newest gadgets because God is enough. Being content with my body as it is right now–not because “it’s good enough” but because GOD is good enough–is glorifying to God.

Another thought I had that is weaved into all this is that in Christ, I have been freed from the Law–meaning I am justified on the basis of Christ’s perfection and not my own. Similarly, I have been freed from the law of beauty–being thin. Jesus thinks I’m drop dead gorgeous (to borrow from Greg Stier) because of Christ’s beauty in me. He is perfect so I don’t have to be.

“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” Being thin doesn’t compare to experiencing the Father’s steadfast love. His love trumps all.

“All of You is more than enough for all of me, for every thirst and every need. You satisfy me with your love, and all I have in You is more than enough.”

2 Responses to “Bodily contentment”

  1. jonathan May 26, 2008 at 9:27 pm #

    “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.”
    Proverbs 3:13

  2. Leah May 27, 2008 at 6:43 pm #

    Absolutely beautifully written and so wonderful to hear someone who actually gets it. Even if we are still female and have had the worldly view beaten into our heads, it only takes a bit of meditation to start believing and living it.

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