I recently had an epiphany and feel led to share. As I confessed in a recent post, I struggle with food. And currently, I am not happy with my weight or my body. There. It's out there. In my line of work, we study the Bible and the history and philosophy surrounding the time the Bible was written in. It's one of my favorite things about studying the Bible because I begin to understand the historical and literary context of the ancient world.
I realized that in the past year, I don't take full body photographs if I can help it.
In studying the New Testament, I have come across the philosophy of dualism. Now, before I bore you to death, let me simplify. There are many types of dualism out there but the one I am constantly thinking about is called Cosmological Dualism. In a nutshell, it's a separation of the sacred and secular. Plato held this view. In modern terms, we could define it as a belief that anything with spirit, soul, heaven, mind, angels, etc is good. The physical is bad; Earth, matter, body, etc. Unfortunately, it is alive and well in the church today. Prayer is spiritual, work is not spiritual. Worship is sacred, music that is not Christian is secular and therefore, bad. I have battled this concept even in my own life. Personally, I believe that God never intended for this concept to take root. In my worldview, which is a Judeo-Christian worldview, spirit and body are integrated. I know this and I often fight this dualism in my own life and lives of others. Back to my epiphany. As I have shared, I am struggling right now with my body. I am not happy with it. I have been praying and asking the Lord for help with this issue. This thought raced through my mind recently. "You think your body is bad." What? It shocked me. As I said, I fight hard against dualism in my life and I am sensitive to it in others' lives. I couldn't believe it. However, I knew immediately that it was true. I grieved. Yes, I grieved. I have pondered it a lot this week. This is a new revelation to me so I am not even sure of the consequences yet. You see, I believe ideas have consequences.
Photo courtesy of the Bean (aka, my husband). My body is NOT BAD.
Let me tell you how it's affected my week. Something in me changed in that moment of revelation. I look at my body differently. I can't really explain it. If my body is good and I now believe it is, I want to treat it "good." I feel a lightness in me. I am looking at my body differently. Our bodies are gifts! Our bodies are amazing! They are intricately woven by a Creator who from the beginning, said "Let us make man in our image...and God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good." (Genesis 1:26-31.) Every day, I am telling myself, my body is good (and believing it) and I am praying that God helps me to understand how to integrate my body and my spirit. I have to tell you, it's beyond "self-love." It's a complete mindset change. I am grateful to the Lord that He showed me this area of brokenness. Only He could have changed my mind.
How do you view your body? Do you see any dualism in your life? What challenged you most about this post? Thank you for your kind comments! I love hearing from you.