Summary: God has created us carefully and wonderfully, which should be part of our "body image".
At Home in Your Body
Text: Psa 139; 1Ti 4:4-5
Focus: God has created us carefully and wonderfully, which should be part of our "body image".
Function: The listener will give thanks for the body they have been given.
Most of us will ask this question at some point: "Who am I?" We might think about the home we were raised in, our town, and country. We’ll also think about our likes and dislikes, our skills and abilities. But part of the answer, at least, is coming to terms with this fleshly machine we drive, the human body. Who am I in this body I inhabit?
You are not just your body, but because it’s the only part people can see, it makes a big impression -- on you and others. And the truth is, some of you at least, feel short-changed. You are not very happy with what you’ve got.
The whole thing that makes this awkward is, you had little choice about the basic model you drive. You can’t go get a totally different one, even with the wonders of medical science. You’re stuck with the body you’ve got. Or could it be that you’re "blessed" with the one fitted for you. How do you become at home in your body, so that you can enjoy the experience?
Our society has set high standards and can be cruel on those who don’t meet them, which is like 99% of us. But even the other 1% are rarely satisfied. Sometimes I talk to very beautiful, in shape people and they are unhappy with their appearance. In fact, only 1% of women in Canada would use the word "beautiful" to describe themselves. Maybe we need some new thoughts from the manufacturer.
YOUR BODY AND GOD. When I began thinking about how God thinks about me, it shook me a little. Like many of you, I’ve heard how wonderful we are, but bringing it home to me is quite a different matter.
From early on, we pick up these beliefs about our bodies -- some are true, some are not. In Jr High, I was chubby. I still catch myself thinking I’m chubby. I used to have very blonde hair, and I have to remind myself it’s not blonde any more. If it’s light in any colour now, it’s gray!
What’s curious is, God cares. He’s not only concerned with your soul. As we open Psalm 139, we learn some amazing things about His viewpoint. It’s evident, for instance that
He likes to watch me move. We get that from the first three verses,
"You have searched me and know me. You know when I sit and when I rise.... You read my thoughts from far away. You watch me when I travel and when I rest." Psalm 139:1-3
If it’s not too much trouble, would you please stand for a moment. OK, sit down. That’s not a real profound illustration, but God was just a spectator. He sees your movements, every flex of your muscle. He knows when you wink your eye, or raise your eyebrow. He does inventory on every hair of your head. Nothing about your body is hidden from Him.
Not only does he take interest in my movements, He’s thoroughly familiar with me
That’s the theme picked up again here: "You are familiar with all my ways. If I say, ’Let the darkness hide me and let the light around me turn into night,’ even the darkness is not too dark for you. Night is as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you." Ps 139:10-12
He knows your habits and quirks. That leg that won’t stop its nervous bouncing? He knows about it. Some things are quirky and some embarassing. You may hope to keep some of it hidden, perhaps a scar, a tattoo, a habit. Not possible. He’s as familiar with how you use your body as you are.
For some that’s uncomfortable. We might feel like everyone is watching and judging us all the time. We think they see every zit, every hair out of place. Others are not usually so hard on us as we think.
Is that how God watches us, to judge? Is this a blazing, exposing light to embarrass and shame you? God’s light is not for that purpose. It’s more like the operating light on a surgery table -- if there are things to heal, that is what He wants to do.
Another thing we need to hold to is this: God Created Me Beautiful. Imagine those first days of life, before you’re born. It’s always warm, rather quiet, somewhat dark, and yet moving and alive. Full of promise. Your new life is dawning as your mother’s body provides every nutrient you need:
"Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born." Psa 139:14-15 (NLT)