Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Swim Suits, Bodies and Pre-Earth Life

This summer I took my 6 year old daughter shopping 
for a New Swim Suit.

(We've been very blessed with hand-me-downs for her so she's never gone swim suit shopping before.)

She found 3 suits that caught her eye and we took them into a fitting room.  
She was so excited to be shopping!  She was so excited to be in her first fitting room EVER!  Everything was so fun for her.

She tried on the first swimming suit, 
looked in the mirror, gasped and said, 
"I look amazing!!"

Since that day she wants to go swimming all the time.  
Because she looks amazing!  Because she feels amazing!

I love the joy she feels in having a body.  Aren't bodies amazing? What a marvelous gift from God.

In the dressing room when she gasped in delight at her swimming suit, my heart captured that moment and longed for her to always feel that same joy in, and complete acceptance for, her body.

Statistically, it's not gonna last.
Around 8-10 years of age most girls start feeling unsatisfied with their bodies and say things like, "I'm fat" or "I'm going on a diet."
8 years old.  Second grade.  

I've always thought this was a sad commentary on our society and that it's an attitude picked up by absorbing the body-obsessed culture around us.

Yesterday I was having a conversation with a friend about this topic and my eyes were opened to a new way of seeing this... 
are you ready?
During the conversation I was reminded of an experience a different friend shared with me months ago.  Her daughter came to her in tears -so sad- and almost ashamed to admit what was troubling her.  When she finally felt ready to confide in her mom she said,
"I'm sad because I don't feel beautiful.  I don't think I'm pretty."

This daughter is 8 years old.

And here's some background on this girl.  She is home-schooled, meaning she isn't picking up this social concept on the playground at recess.  She isn't being bullied or teased. 
 She watches very little TV.
In short, she is somewhat protected from the prevailing attitudes about bodies in our society and culture.

The interesting thing to me is her age.
She is 8.

In our LDS culture, 8 is a pretty big deal.  At 8 she is accountable, of age to make commitments to the Lord, old enough to understand, to choose and to take responsibility for her choices.

At 8 she can be baptized.
And at 8 she is feeling shame about her body.
That she is not enough.

Who do we know that does not have a body? 
And will never get a body?
And is desperately working to get us to disregard our bodies as miraculous gifts AND necessary AND crucial to our progression?

AND is working to shut women down and stop us from doing good and becoming who we came here to become? 

Yep.  That guy.

I've learned to look at what the adversary focuses his attacks on most heavily and study it to learn why it is worthy of such attention.

And bodies are definitely under attack.  
The diet industry is huge!  Fat-shaming yourself or others is rampant.  We see people on both sides of the spectrum.  Some obsessively working out and dieting so that their bodies become an object of worship for themselves and others.  Others abusing their bodies or disregarding their bodies and letting them become out of shape and overweight.  ( I'm not judging here!  I'm in a body too!)

I have felt to repent for fighting against my body.  For not caring for this remarkable gift Heavenly Father gave me. For saying and thinking mean, hateful things about my body.

Poor body!
It's doing a great job- breathing, moving, keeping up with all my impulsive schemes, providing hands to serve and arms to hug- and it has not gotten a lot of thanks for all of this service.

The news that we were going to receive bodies caused us to shout for joy! We were willing to face hardship and risks all for the sake of obtaining a body and progressing to become more like Heavenly Father.

So here's my challenge to you today.

Make peace with your body.
Take care of it.
Forgive it for not being perfect!
(None of us are in this fallen world: 
none of our bodies, none of our spirits.)

Ask it to forgive you.
(I'm serious here!)
And then commit to working together.  You are on the same team.

Be grateful for your body.
Pause and think of all the things you are grateful for- 
all the things you experience because of your body.

Walks in nature

Then, ask Heavenly Father how you can care for your body.  
He knows.  
He created it. 
Ask if there is something your body needs, 
something you can do to nurture your body.
Taking care of your body is the best way to show your gratitude for this marvelous gift, 
this gift that makes you stronger than the adversary.

And when you feel inclined to disregard your body,
stop and remember where that feeling comes from,
and shut it down.

More Reading:
 * James E. Faust's The Great Imitator conference talk. 

"The power to resist Satan may be stronger than we realize. 
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not. The devil has no power over us only as we permit him. The moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, p. 181)."

* The topical guide: Body, Sanctity of
(Here's a few of my favorites! There's lots though- check it out.) 
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

 1 Cor 3: 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

3 Ne 28:39 Now this change was not equal to that which shall take place at the last day; but there was a change wrought upon them, insomuch that Satan could have no power over them, that he could not tempt them; and they were sanctified in the flesh, that they were holy, and that the powers of the earth could not hold them.

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