Psalm 154*: A Reflection on my Body

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Lord of Life,

I am unhappy with my body!

When I look in the mirror,

if I look below the neck,

which I often seem drawn to do,

I frown.

I feel sad.

I feel mad.

I feel flabby!

I think I should be able to do something about the bulge….

I should be doing sit-ups to tighten my tummy,

push-ups to tone up my arms,

and squats to make my gluteus maximus less maximus….

I used to be trimmer,

I used to be stronger,

I used to be able to look at myself, at my body,

and feel good about how I looked,

and proud of what I had done

to get myself to look the way I looked!

Now when I raise my arm to point,

the skin under my arm waves and flaps like a flag in the breeze….

Now when I sit down,

my belly folds over my belt….

Now when I go shopping

and try on clothes,

I see a pale, bumpy, soft body

with stretch marks and cellulite…

and I have a very hard time

finding clothes that will hide all of that

and still look good,

that will still make me feel like I did

when I was trimmer and stronger

and felt good about how I looked….

and I feel sad

and mad

and flabby

all over again.

I don’t want to feel this way, God.

I don’t like feeling this way!

I want to love my body!

I want to teach my daughter to love her body!

I want her to not just hear in my words–

which are often not totally true…

but see in my attitudes–

which are usually harder to fake…

that I love my body,

that I believe that I am beautiful,

just as she is beautiful,

as we all are beautiful!

I want to teach her that Beauty

is so much more than our size and our shape,

that Beauty does indeed come from within,

that Beauty comes from

the essence of who we are,

not what we put on ourselves

to cover or hide or mask or change

who we are!

But God, I have to believe it first.

Before I can teach it, I know I must believe it.

God, I need your help to believe it.

I need you to show me

that my body is good,

that my body—

flabby, bumpy, pale, and stretch-mark-ridden

though it may be—

is still good….

When I listen,

I hear you whispering to me, God,

that my body is, indeed, good….

When I close my ears to the world’s voices

and open them to Yours,

I hear you telling me, God,

that not only is my scarred, flabby body good

but it is beautiful—

this body,

that has walked on sacred ground

in so many different countries, states, cities and places…

this body,

that has performed for me

on soccer fields and basketball courts,

on piano keys and guitar strings,

in hay mows and back yards,

on bicycle rides and mountain trails….

this body,

that has embraced and been embraced by

so many friends, relatives, and children,

that has held so many hands,

that has carried so many loads,

both my own and those of others,

heavy to both body and soul.…

this body,

that has incubated and borne

three wonderful and beautiful children,

and has fed them when they’ve been hungry

and held them when they’ve been frightened

and clapped for them when they’ve achieved

and taught them to ride bikes

and throw balls

and bake cookies

(and has eaten those cookies!)…

and has modeled for them—I hope—

how to respect and care for others,

how to give and how to receive,

and how to love without necessarily liking….

this body,

that has written

and spoken

and touched

and otherwise tried to communicate

messages of love

and acceptance

and forgiveness

in many ways and places and times

and to many people….

If I listen, I think I hear you saying, God,

that this body—

MY body—

is good,

is beautiful,

and not because of anything I’ve done or not done,

but because this body,

MY body,

like all bodies,

is fearfully and wonderfully made….

and carries within it Your image,

the very image and essence of Love….

How can I not, then, love my body??

This body,

my body,

is a gift,

holy…

beautiful…

and Good!

O God, help me keep listening for your voice

so that I might hear your truth,

so that in hearing, I might believe it,

so that in believing, I might claim it,

so that in claiming, I might live it!

This body–my body–is Good….

This body–my body–is beautiful!

Thank you, God!

Amen.

*I chose the number because it represents…more or less…my current weight!…..

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