Hers is one of the brightest smiles you’ll ever come across, and I am privileged to call her my friend. I met Angela Wallace in a discipleship group a decade ago, here in Dallas, but she currently lives in England with her husband and three kids. I think you’ll appreciate her gentle voice as she points us to God, who is love.
When I become quiet and still and ponder how I view my body, one idea that continues to evolve is (first presented to me in a beautiful way by Pope John Paul II in the ‘Theology of The Body’) that who I am is not separated into ‘body and soul,’ but in fact the distinction lies between ‘dust and life.’ I am most fully alive when I am striving to know God through both my physical body and soul. The union is certainly mysterious, but what an exciting path to both think on and offer praise to God for!
I have spent so much of my life moving like a bouncy ball between pride in or frustration by my physical body. And the older I get (isn’t the act of simply living life a gentle and wise teacher!) – I see the flaw in thinking about my body through the lens of self. “I am disappointed” – “I am very pleased” – too many “I’s.” Instead, as I walk with Jesus and He kindly teaches, I am made to see that great joy and satisfaction comes from thinking less of myself and instead delighting in how my body can be a vessel for love and a tool for seeing the glory and beauty of God.
How I see that in my current pandemic life (an expat living in a beautiful country, parenting a daughter on the verge of becoming a teeanger) is most likely not what I expect to see in another twelve months. I imagine it will continue to change with daily life. Today it looks like delivering food parcels to the elderly in our community, walking attentively with my family as we are awestruck with the grandeur of England’s countryside, and rising early to be still before God. I am aware that my body’s posture, how I move it, and how I feed it affect my ability to hear from God and to know Him more deeply.
When I think of how I want my daughter and niece to view their bodies, I am burdened for them to see their body as a way to know God. Their bodies are strong, because they are made in the image of Him who is so strong. Their bodies can be a blessing to others because they are created by God who is love. Their bodies are beautiful because the one who crafted them is the author and source of beauty.