My Body IS a Temple
Updated: Mar 26, 2022
My friend Lina reached out to me after I announced my intentions to host a podcast. I didn't know that she had shifted gears almost a year ago to begin her own health and life coaching business. I am a fan of women supporting women. It's truly what we need to do for each other. Champion each other. Encourage each other. And lift one another's voices as we can. When Lina reached out, I thought, well of course health coaching makes sense for this podcast. So many of us who have trauma histories also don't really know how to put into practice healthy lifestyle habits that can increase our regulation abilities and quality of life.
Here's what happened. Lina and I chatted, and I realized that in addition to having her talk about her coaching on the podcast, I could benefit from trying out health coaching.
I have spent almost 10 years in fairly intensive mental health therapy. I say fairly intensive because I have a deep brain pathway that tells me to avoid pain at all costs, so even though I was committed to change and wanting to rewire some of the pathways that felt protective as a child, but I knew could no longer serve me in living a healthy and vibrant adulthood, I found myself getting into the work I needed to do and then finding an escape route to avoid the work I needed to do. Sound familiar to anyone else? In case you're wondering what that looks like, it was like this.
Therapy work... getting really close to the deep deep wounds.... suddenly I was way too busy to have time for those therapy appointments. I was doing really good and important work in the world. I was fine. (And then I'd get to a point of overwhelm that couldn't be ignored and I'd be back in therapy again)
In the last few years, I took some time away from my job in the school district. I spent one day a week digging into that difficult, painful past. I learned how to grieve and lament and feel the pain. I didn't die, the pain didn't kill me and that was a relief. But I did find that my story continued to integrate. Jesus was with me in the moments my soul hurt the most. I would surface from the work more whole and ready to say yes to the goodness all around me in my home, my friendships, my life. I began to experience joy more fully. I learned that by opening myself to the more painful emotions, the ones I loved to sit in (like joy and excitement) became more vibrant as well.
There are few places I started to think about my body differently during this time.
Beth Moore's Bible Study on the Temple of God and the realization that my body is a temple means that it is actually the place God's spirit lives.
A trip with my college friends to Chicago a few years ago in which we got make overs and I realized how I had sort of not been caring at all about my outer appearance, but not in a good and healthy way - more of a my body doesn't matter way. And realizing I am beautifully made and it feels good to look good.
Jen Hatmaker's Book Fierce, Free and Full of Fire has a chapter in which she basicall y writes a love letter to her body and she personifies her body as this capable, magnificent and purposeful woman - a friend that gives the life deserved.
Reading the book Jen (in my mind she's my best friend) read called Mother's Daughters and Body Image by Hillary McBride and thinking about my own body history.
Embedding TBRI principles into my home and life - understanding how the physiological care and fueling of my body will help my nervous system regulate and maintain regulation.
When Lina and I talked, it was this final point that I realized I had not spent adequate time refining for myself. I continue to quote Bryan Post in saying that before we expect our children to try out a method, or strategy or make a change we should first do so ourselves. Here I was thinking about my journey to appreciating my body and understanding how to help maintain regulation in high levels of stress and yet I was not putting into practice consistently much of what I learned to be true through TBRI empowering strategies.
So with Lina I have a goal. I want to be able to say yes to the life in front of me. A life with two young daughters who love to adventure. A life with a husband and friends. A life that includes a ministry for playing in God's wilderness with women. A life that walks with teachers and students as they grow in their teaching craft. I want to have a strong body, a resilient body. I want to thank my body in the morning and the night for the efforts she makes to stay regulated, to connect with others, to embrace children and to help others connect with Jesus in new and fun ways. I also have a goal to be able to do a legit training program for the triathlon I signed up for in September!
So far in my coaching sessions, Lina and I have set goals, discussed how I am rocking it, looked at nutritional choices, looked at exercise routines and more. There are days I'm running because I want to say - yep I did it. (In fact I'll post this in 10 minutes for just that reason). I am not eating all the candy in my office because it's there. I still say yes to a treat when I want, but I'm being thoughtful of the impact of sugar on my system the same way I think about protein's power for my body. I'm getting intentional about treating my body as God's temple.
And that's a huge shift. Because here's the other thing we talked about in our interview. When your body may not have been treated as a temple, when your body was used or abused for someone else's purposes, when messages from the purity movement told you that your body was made worthless by the actions of another, it can be hard to wrap your mind around this promise from God: your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God. (1 Corinthian's 6:19)
And yet here is the truth. Your body was designed as a masterpiece by God. You were fearfully and wonderfully made. It is not your fault if your body was not treated this way and your body cannot be made worthless. It is your beautiful gift to this world. Part of my journey in embracing God's promises is seeing that my body is a sacred temple - no matter what has been done to it in the past.
Now, I thank my body for her resilience. Her beauty. Her ability to keep standing, moving, praising and glorifying God who made her imperfectly perfect. It's been a long journey and a huge learning curve. Sometimes I forget and I speak unkindly to her or give her fuel that is more harmful than helpful. And then, I remember. She was bought with a price and she belongs to God. I will try to glorify my creator with this one body made just for this one beautiful life I get to live.
Won't you join me?
Listen to 8000 Promises, Episode 3 available Saturday Feb. 19.
Check out Lina Warner's coaching options and contact her for a free consultation at:
firstname.lastname@example.org - 970-250-0810 - FB: @linawarnercoaching - Insta:@warnerlina