My Body is A Temple

I had the most profound experience last week.
I was sitting at the temple waiting to witness a friend’s wedding.
In rolled an elderly woman sitting in her wheelchair.
Her body had disintegrated.
All that was left was skin on bones.

The week before I had attended a funeral of a good friend.
He was normally a big jolly fellow, not fat, but tall and built.
Cancer had stole his life too soon,
and left his wife and three daughters weeping.
The final pictures of him were skinny.
The funeral weighed heavily on my mind this day,
as I was also simultaneously overjoyed for our dear friend
starting his life with his new wife.

I was contemplative,
and seeing this sweet little old lady,
effected me to the core.
My heart ached for her to be healthier.
I wished I could have seen her at her prime.
I wanted her to have a little meat on her bones,
so she could get up and walk without fear.

And it dawned on me.
All at once.
I live in a pervasively sick society.
And I am not talking about cancer or heart disease.
I am talking about attitudes.

I am talking about my own attitude.
When my sister and her hubby just visited from California,
I couldn’t question them enough about their eating habits.
They are both the epitome of looking good.
and I wanted to know their tricks to the skinny life.

The answer:
For breakfast we eat a piece of toast.
For lunch a half a sandwich,
but for dinner we eat whatever we want.

Whatever your little teeny tummy’s can handle,
which I am sure ain’t much.

For a moment I wondered if I could jump on board the regiment.

But why?
Why would I want to deprive my body of nourishment?
So I can be skinny?
I will tell you why it’s tempting.
Because everyone else is doing it.
Why is everyone else doing it?
Because they want to look good.
Period.

Who defines what looks good?
We do.
Our advertising does.
Our pop culture.
Our movies.
Our admiration in others.
Our minds.

At church on Sunday,
we discussed the idea that our bodies are temples.
Our teacher did a really great job.
One concept was especially meaningful to me.
We are the house for the Lord.
Our bodies are the literal house.
We can live in such a way that the Lord will be with us.

And I am here to tell you,
that the Lord doesn’t use body size
to determine with whom he dwells,
but he uses the size of the heart,
and the purity of the mind.

We are doing God a great disservice
when the worshiping of “skinny” or “rock hard abs”
becomes a greater priority over Him
and who we really are.

I recently attended my 20 year class reunion.
There were the bombshell gals.
There were the ones who have gained
a pound or two or 100.
And there were ones in between.

But, each individual carried their own spirit.
I could sense into their heart.
I could tell which ones were healthy.
Which ones were happy.
Content with their life.
And loving of others.

And I am here to tell you that
when our time comes,
those are the things that will matter.

We have created such a sick society
that obesity is an even bigger problem then
anorexia or bulimia.
Our society is sick as a whole.
Why?
Because our ideals are sick.
People are sick
at both ends of the spectrum,
instead of being safe in the middle,
where all they are worried about is their personal best.

Yes, our bodies are temples.
And yes, some of us have some learning to do
in the maintenance department.
So, you don’t need to tell me
to lessen my caloric intake
or get my butt in my tennis shoes
more regularly.

But, I will tell you this.
When you see an emaciated woman
of 80 or 90 years old
and realize that the society around you
has all their young people trying to look the same as her,
you may be forever changed too.

What are you doing with your temple?

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13 comments

  1. what!? i'm the first to comment (while I'm nursing completely immodestly, in front of my boys I might add).
    Alice, I couldn't agree with you more. This is such a tender subject for me. I eat what I love and love what I eat. I try to keep it balanced and move around when I have to because my body IS a temple and I want to keep it clean (having a clogged drain really stinks. . .if you know what I mean?).
    YOu might be rolling your eyes hearing this from me but I never understood the diet world. In my own opinion, it is truly just another if not one of the greatest ways Satan tries to pull us down. The Spirit can not dwell with us if we don't care for our bodies or care about them too much. Sometimes I think that Satan laughs and says to himself its the oldest trick in the book. Even those “health freaks” out there who think they eat everything right don't even realize how much it consumes their lives. Yes, I'm talking about you Dr. Oz!
    I loved how you said the Lord doesn't go by the size of our bodies. If He did, I would be throwing in a AMEN! and Hallelujah! pass the cookies, please! But instead I just sneak the cookies and tell myself that curves are curvilicious and just because there are “perfect” body types here on earth, who knows if they are right for the eternities. I'd really like to think that Michaelangelo had it right painting all those round, plump cherubs. I've mentioned that I love artwork of fat people. They make me happy.
    I could go on forever about this subject but I won't. Thanks for sharing. No question. . .our bodies are temples.

  2. Great post! When I see tiny old men or women… I worry. It only takes one bout of anything (illness) to make you skin and bones. So maybe our metabolisms slow down for a reason (reserve)in case sickness does befall us.

    I think it is better to be healthy than skinny… but I would like to fit in a size 14 jeans again.

    Thoughtful post Miss Alice.

    ToOdLeS.

  3. Wow you have hit the hammer right on the head. I have lived with this my whole life. I never was a small girl and as you know having a family puts the pounds on, and I have so much regret. How many days I was unhappy just because I wasn't the size I thought I should be to be happy. Thank goodness for life and the lessons it teaches us, I now am wise enough to realize it's not the size that makes me happy it's the fact that I am taking care of myself, be it spiritually or physically. My children love me and my husband loves me. We need to realize as women, that society is looking for the joy we have when we take care of ourselves first, I believe that is why it's so hard. Satan knows the strength we should have if we would start there, but we see what the world wants and we become discouraged and feel like a failure . So I think your right it's not about size it's about a state of mind also. No I am not saying we should all be over weight but it's about taking care of your self so you can be a better person for all the others in your life. That may mean your best is a size 12 instead of a size 2. I will never be a size 2 and thankfully my husband is happy with my curves(as we call them)and so accepting of my body. I just wish here wAs a way we could teach this to the teens so they wouldn't have to wait till there 40 to understand.

  4. Hi- I couldn't keep myself from replying :). This has been on my mind for… well, since my teenage years! Our society has a twisted way of portraying what is right, & I too, recently had my “eyes opened” when I had this thought: “I'm sure Heavenly Father is disappointed with so many people on this planet who waste time & obsess about their bodies— including me!” what a waste of precious time! figuratively beating myself up about nonsense like fitting into my old clothes is ridiculous. I could rant about this for hours but I will end with this: Geneen Roth Is an author & has a website & sends me occasional emails, & this lady really knows what she is talking about. Loving yourself, being kind to yourself… her words have changed me. thanks for your post 🙂

  5. I actually just spoke about this in church … your body being a temple and how you should make it pure through eating healthy, pure, non-processed foods. It is not about depriving yourself of delicious foods or of being on diets, it is a change of mindset. There are dietary guidelines given to you, if you care to really read them (Word of Wisdom). Don't roll your eyes and say, but you have always been skinny.
    I do agree that some people try so hard to be stick thin in order to emulate some distorted hero in Hollywood; however, I believe even more that too many Americans are FAT! (Sorry for the bluntness) It has become the norm to be extremely overweight, and people to think you are a perfectly healthy person. Now there are some people who are overweight and healthy, but that is the minority. We, as a society, are “digging an early grave with our teeth” (to quote Ezra Taft Benson).
    My family has been on the side of people being extremely rude when we changed our lifestyles and started eating in a healthier manner and trying to eliminate processed foods (They will get you in the end.) The hubby did lose quite a bit of weight. What is the deal with people calling you anorexic because your body is healthy, and they are not or do not care to be? We take it too easy on unhealthy lifestyles nowadays.
    I am not a “health freak” or “crazed health fanatic” and being healthy does not consume my life. Eating healthy has been integrated into my life and it does not take any more time than an unhealthy lifestyle. Also, I hear it all the time, it is too expensive to eat healthy. Here is what I say to that: Do you want to pay slightly more now or pay a lot more later when you have some sort of health condition.
    That is my soapbox statement. Agree or disagree, there it is. Thanks for the post, if this comment does not go along with your point, sorry.

  6. Nadelie,

    I believe you are a health freak, but more power to you.

    I just think that people shouldn't judge and say “you are not living The Word of Wisdom” or “you are not healthy” just because there are so many factors that go into a person's appearance, not just what they eat.

    And to tell you the truth, I know plenty of skinny girls that are less healthy than I am. They have high cholesterol, aren't healthy emotionally, and have all kinds of other ailments that I don't have. They have self -image issues. A person's appearance does not determine their whole health.

    I used to walk/jog in the mornings with two very skinny girls. I had no problem keeping up with their pace.

    God made us to have different body types. Period. Skinny people should not look at those of us that are a little bigger and think that they are healthier. That is the problem in this country. Skinny does not equal healthy.

    Marilyn Monroe at a size 14 was healthy and so are many others.

    I am glad you got to give a lesson on what you are passionate about, but just because eating raw foods is a strength for you it doesn't make you more beautiful or more righteous than others.

    I love friends that aren't afraid to be blunt with me because I know I don't have to pussyfoot when I respond back.

    And let's be honest…you are a whole lot more concerned about your appearance than I am and you do count calories and eat the way you do because you want to stay skinny and you want Dave to be buff. Even if you eat right for the right reasons, you also struggle with the wrong reasons.

    That was the point of this post. Our society has created all the wrong reasons, and many people suffer because of it.

  7. BTW – I just got a physical. My cholesterol is great. All my tests are great. My blood pressure is great.

    According to the BMI I probably need to lose 80 pounds, but seriously, my whole entire life, no matter how in shape I have been, I have never fit into the BMI.

    I was just listening to NPR where there was someone reporting from Batswana. There people steer clear from skinny people because to them it says that they have AIDS. Larger is more attractive for health reasons.

    I have wanted to lose weight my whole life just to fit in with other people who are malnourished, anorexic, or are blessed with teeny bone structure.

    I don't want to lose weight when I realize the only reason I am even worried about it is to fit in with health fanatics.

    I want to run 3 miles without having to stop, but guess what? I could do that without losing a single pound.

    We have created a society with only one definition of beautiful. And the definition is fake. I feel sorry for those that fall into the trap. And I am declaring that I will no longer believe the lies.

    I think all my children are beautiful and equally healthy, and they all have different body types.

  8. I really like your posts on body image. I think that body image issues are some of the saddest issues that I've seen, especially because they're so pervasive in women. I've known women who are size 0 and women who are bigger all have the exact same body issue complaints, and they all make me really sad. I think that you can be beautiful at any size (just look at the picture of you on your blog–how beautiful is that?!). I get a lot of flak for my stance because I'm skinny, so it's always nice to hear women who have different body sizes saying the same thing.

  9. Nadelie, I just went back and re-read your post, and I agree that we shouldn't have the blaze e attitude that “fat” is “fit” and that it doesn't matter if we don't take care of ourselves.

    Our country is plagued with two sides of this issue for sure. The over-obsessors and the not-carers. But just like with any issue, I think the danger is if anyone stands too close to either side. I think safety is in the truth. The truth being that different is what makes us all beautiful, and we should each just try to be the best that we can be.

  10. I agree. Why deprive ourselves of the good stuff. God put cows here so we can have steak. He put chickens here so we can have hot wings. And he put sugar here, so we can eat anything that has sugar in it. Men are that they might have joy. If I had to live off a piece of toast and half a sandwich, I'm no joy.

  11. I can't resist a good blog and yours is a good one. Loved this post for a million reasons. I especially liked the part where you're getting your butt in your tennis shoes. I'm going to use that phrase from now on. 🙂

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