Updated: Apr 20, 2022
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? 1 Corinthians 6:19a NIV
(Abigail, our beloved former blog editor and so much more, now lives in Florida.)
When I was in my early 20s, I could go out until 2AM on a weeknight and still get to work by 9 the next morning. By the time I turned 30, I realized I had to be responsible, but as long as I kept to a reasonable schedule, my body was fine. Now that I’m almost 40(!) and have gone through two pregnancies, my body is starting to break down even when I’ve been responsible.
My bad posture gives me a neck ache, which gives me a headache, which distracts me from my work, which makes me grouchy, which makes me short with my kids, which makes me feel guilty. Earlier this year, I was going to PT, chiropractic and massage appointments every week, just to be able to sit in a chair without pain! I’m grateful that I can afford interventions but frustrated that my body can’t function without “maintenance.”
Then we moved cross-country. It’s a huge effort to start over finding doctors, calling to check availability, and scheduling visits, plus it takes hours out of my work week to go to all those appointments… so I let it slide. But after a few months, I was again in debilitating pain, which forced me to make the effort. If you have—or know someone with—a chronic illness or disability, I’m sure this sounds familiar.
In a recent sermon, my new pastor challenged us to remember that joy comes from the inside, and I felt the prompting to reframe my appointments as opportunities. Think of all the people I meet because of them—receptionists, nurses, doctors, therapists. If I really live into the joy of the Lord, I can be a witness to God’s strength in my weakness, His peace that passes understanding, and His joy in the midst of struggle.
Finding the joy of the Lord means I need to be spending time with Him, which means consciously putting time into my schedule—“stealing back” time, as the pastor put it. Often, though, it’s easier for me to scroll mindlessly on my phone, as I got into the habit of doing during the rush of moving. My morning routine of checking in on social media keeps me connected to friends who are now far away, but if I let it, my phone would take away from time that would be better spent with God.
That’s not easy for me to hear, to be honest. I would prefer that God just fix my body and let me keep doing whatever I want to do.
But we all have only the body God gave us! I don’t believe health problems are a punishment, but I don’t expect God to make it easier for me to ignore Him, either. Instead, I want to focus on gratitude for what I do have and can accomplish. I want to honor God by taking care of the temple He gave me. I want to listen when He prompts me with ways I can live for Him. And if that means taking a walk sometimes instead of using the phone or the computer… well, at least it’s warm here.