Week 3 • Day 1 • Renewal Devotional

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BODY: The World is One Big Curb
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

To this day, I don’t know precisely what did me in, but I suspect it was the way I was beating my body up with stress and over exercise, trying to do more than it could handle, day after day. Then, in just one random moment, I picked up the mail, entered my apartment and as I crossed the threshold, it was as if someone pulled a string in my lower back and I fell completely apart. I was in a deep denial, as I laid motionless on the floor, and refused to let my husband call an ambulance. Eventually, I had to pee and couldn’t move. My stomach extended and ballooned as if I was 6 months pregnant. It caused my back to repetitively spasm and that’s when I told him to call an ambulance and “WHAT IS TAKING YOU SO LONG?”

For weeks afterwards, I couldn’t move, sit, stand or move my head without excruciating sharp pains radiating through my entire body. To just “be” without grimacing, I had to take drugs so strong, I lost all of my short-term memory. Everyone around me suffered greatly as every ten minutes I told them about that one time I found five $20 bills in the snow.

“Yes, you’ve told me,” they’d say graciously.

“Really? When?”

Over time they got less gracious and just ignored me like someone left the TV on in the background.

My physical therapist loaned me a wheelchair because getting up and walking on my own was almost impossible. Eventually, bored of my close family and friends ignoring my awesome money in the snow story, I decided I needed to make myself useful and go back to work. It wasn’t until I tried to get to work that I realized the power of curbs and their ability to completely shut me down. There were accessible places, but they were hard for me to get to. It was like the world was just one big curb. All around me, people walked with ease, and they didn’t even care! No one was praising the Lord about it, shouting with gratitude! What was wrong with these idiots? CAN’T YOU SEE YOU CAN WALK AND THAT IT’S A MIRACLE?!

If our faith, our intimate relationship and dependance on God is the most important thing in our life, our health can’t be close behind. Our body is the vehicle that transports our spirit to and fro. If we’re chronically sick, if we exhaust easily, if we’re bed bound, if we’re laid up, if we don’t have energy – then it’s hard for us to implement God’s vision for our life. We aren’t motivated, creative or inspired when we’re so tired we can barely lift the coffee to our lips. We can’t handle our responsibilities when we can’t get out of bed. It’s hard for us to grow into who we’re meant to be. It’s hard to serve others, to help, to laugh, to enjoy life. It’s hard to accomplish our goals, to create a vision and execute. With God, of course, nothing is impossible. But bad health, especially bad health because of our own poor choices, gives us a MUCH bigger mountain to climb than necessary.

So big, many won’t even give it a try.

The worst pandemic in modern history taught me that my health matters. I can’t love and nurture my children if I’m not here. I can’t use my gifts to bless people. I can’t fully embrace my short time on earth. And if we’re lucky enough to be relatively healthy right now, we mustn’t  do things to our body that makes us more vulnerable to viruses and disease than we ought, or take our body for granted, beating it up until it breaks.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 often convicts me when I come across it. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. It’s to glorify God, to be a light on a hill. I’m not to stifle it. In fact, I believe it’s my duty to make it the most impeccable vessel I can. I’ll get on my hands and knees and scrub the base of my toilet when someone I just met stops by for a visit, but then go on ahead and let the Holy Spirit live in a garbage dump. What I eat, or don’t eat, matters. Allowing chronic stress to ravage it, matters. Not sleeping well, matters. Abusing it by overtraining or undertraining – matters. Constantly exposing it to chemicals, poisons and other nefarious things, matters.

But what an incredible God who gave us a body that can rejuvenate itself among wonderful natural foods that can aid in that healing. Fat can be lost or gained. Type 2 diabetes reversed; cells restored. Our liver regenerates, intestines regenerate their lining, bones grow back, lungs repair after quitting smoking and cuts that are bleeding profusely will scab, seal and renew as if nothing even happened. Even my back, through careful physical training, is completely healed today. You’d never know there was a time I could only get a round in a wheelchair.

Our bodies are miraculous renewing machines. Sometimes through supernatural, instant healing. Most times, through a slow recovery process by good, mindful exercise, therapy and consuming the right foods in the proper amounts (which is all, of course, just a slower form of supernatural healing that I suspect God uses to teach us a lesson).

Nothing I’m saying here is novel, is it? It’s all common sense, really.

But when we don’t control our mind, then our body takes the brunt of that impact. Either through stress, stress eating, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, or even too much physical exertion. Through alcohol or drugs or promiscuity or all the other things we do to quiet the mind that controls us rather than the other way around.

When I think my body is mine, I’m prone to abuse it. I don’t know why, I just do. When I think my body is God’s, I tend to honor it.

And when I abuse it, I suffer. When I honor it, I’m free.

It’s only when we lose our health, that we truly understand what we’ve lost.

And take it from me, the world is filled with curbs.