I’ve always been aware of my body type, appearance, and health status. I grew up in a family that was very active between working on the farm and playing all kinds of sports. I had sisters that excelled in basketball, soccer, and softball, and brothers that dominated in baseball and basketball. As for me, however, I was actually a better sideline supporter than an athlete. Consequently, I always felt inferior to my siblings. My family never said or did anything to make me feel this way, it was what I perceived. In my eyes they were far superior to me because of their athletic ability. I learned at a young age that I loved learning and books over participating. This doesn’t mean that I don’t love sports; I can cheer and yell with the best of them, and I can be very competitive when it comes to my teams! I just spent more time studying the sports from the outside as opposed to being in the middle of the game.
Because I felt like this, I tended to shy away from pushing myself. I was happy and content to live on the sidelines and watch everyone else play the game. Sadly, not only did I do this in the athletic world but as I got older it expanded into almost every aspect of my life. Instead of voicing my opinions in class I would hold back my thoughts. All of this stemmed from how I felt about my physical self. I thought because I wasn’t an athlete and physically fit I also wouldn’t be good at other things in life. I was content to sit on the “sidelines” of life and watch as the world kept going around me. I missed out on a lot of opportunities because of my body.
Sister Susan W Tanner gave a talk in 2005 called “The Sanctity of the Body.” This comes from her opening remarks.
“In the premortal realm we learned that the body was part of God’s great plan of happiness for us. As it states in the family proclamations: ‘Spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life.’ In fact, we “shouted for joy” (Job 38:7) to be part of this plan.
Why were we so excited? We understood eternal truths about our bodies. We knew that our bodies would be in the image of God. We knew that our bodies would house our spirits. We also understood that our bodies would be subject to pain, illness, disabilities, and temptation. But we were willing, even eager, to accept these challenges because we knew that only with spirit and element inseparable connected could we progress to become like our Heavenly Father and “receive a fullness of joy” (D&C 93:33).”
You can find the rest of the talk here:
We need to get back our excitement for our bodies! We need to “shout with joy” that we chose to come here, receive a body, and use it for good! Our bodies are AMAZING!! It is what gives us power over the temptations of Satan; it is what brings life into this world; it is what carries us throughout the day to school, work, chores, games, etc.! And it is what makes serving our Heavenly Father possible by serving those around us!
Satan knows that he lost his chance at ever having a physical body; this is why he uses ours against us. Every negative thought and every temptation is to get us to destroy this precious gift from our Father. We cannot let him win!
This is my invitation to you: do what is right for you! There is so much pressure from the world (Satan) to look a certain way; we are not all the same person! Take in to the Lord. Ask Him to lead you to what is best for you. The atonement is for so much more than sin; all our struggles, fears, misgivings can and should be turned over to our Savior Jesus Christ (see Alma 7: 11-12). He has already experienced what we are experiencing now. Let Him walk with you through the journey. It doesn’t matter if you run a 7 minute mile (my hubs) or a 12 minute mile (me), or if running isn’t your thing but something else is. Find out what works for you so that you can be at your best physically to serve. Heavenly Father loves us and He wants us to succeed. To be at our best, we need to feel our best physically, mentally, and spiritually. That is the goal of the Word of Wisdom, and that is now my goal. Join me on the journey! Show your body some love by taking care of it!