Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Does it matter that I have a body?

You know that feeling, when you can feel a piece of grit or a little stone inside your shoe? As much as you try to ignore it and keep walking, that thing keeps bothering you until you stop and give it the attention it requires.

So, I have this little stone in my shoe and it is begging for attention.

One of the things that has long intrigued me is the number of amazing people I know--genuine heroes of faith, people with stories about proving God in ways that cause my jaw to drop, whose lives are truly inspiring--who struggle to take care of their bodies. 

My mind goes to the hundreds of friends and colleagues who are at this moment gathering in Costa Rica for a biennial conference. The theme of the conference is ‘On Earth As It Is In Heaven.’  I would so love to be there—there’ll be a lot of inspiring talks and tonnes of stimulating conversations. And I wonder when the conversation will turn to what heaven on earth looks like for embodied beings? Us—with our hearts pumping blood, our muscles carrying our weighty skeleton, and the breath in our lungs reminding us that we are alive!

Just to be clear, I am not foolish enough to imagine that being a Jesus follower makes us exempt from physical limitations. I am certainly not saying that being people of the Kingdom should make of us all lean, mean, muscle machines. But somehow I want my vision of the fulness of life Jesus said he came to bring to include my physical self, in a way that fits my limitations and my capacities.

I believe that somehow the inner work I do to more fully become the person I was meant to be, affects the way I live in my body. And vice versa—that the work I do to take care of my physical self has an affect on who I am on the inside. I think Dallas Willard, guru of the mechanics of personal and spiritual development, said something to that effect—that spiritual formation should be in evidence in the way I am in my body, or else we might question whether it is happening at all (of course, I can’t find the exact quote).

So, this little piece of grit in my shoe is taking me on a journey of discovery. And, like all great adventures, the first step is to become aware that a journey is possible. Like receiving an invitation to a party and RSVPing, 'Yes, sure I'll come!' I'm heading down the road and I hope that you'll come along for a stretch.

To join the conversation, find me on Facebook to join my 'Living Whole' Facebook group, or post a comment below. In the coming weeks we will be exchanging thoughts about how our physical selves affect and are affected by the rest of who we are. Hope to see you there!

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