There’s this moment I love with young women I meet. It’s a moment where they ask me something or tell me something and I have to decide whether or not to speak to it. I have to decide if I have the right to speak to it, or if I should let them figure it out. And sometimes in those moments I can’t not speak to it. And usually I lean in, pull my coffee close, and say something like, “Okay. Can I talk to you like I’d talk to one of my girls? Can I be straight with you?” And usually they say yes, maybe because they’re just polite and don’t want to make it awkward.
So. Hey, girl. Can I talk to you like I’d talk to one of my girls? Can I be straight with you?
I was at a conference last week and got to hear Barbara Brown Taylor speak. (Read her stuff if you haven’t.) And she talked about the body. She talked to us about how everything that is sacred is experienced through the body. How our bodies were divinely created to give an avenue for the sacred. How our senses make the Gospel real.
And it is true. When I think about the resurrection, I can’t help but think of the women and how their feet must have gotten damp from walking to the tomb in the morning. The smell of wet stone and sand. The early morning light, filtering through the trees. I think of the resurrection through my body. The sacred does not happen apart from the body. It cannot. We were created as such.
And this is why, my dear, this is why I want you to see your body as sacred. Your body is not the part that gets thrown away when your soul gets saved. Your body is not the thing standing in the way of redemption. Your body matters. Your body matters to God.
Your skin matters. Those that would say they are color blind, they mean well. We know they do. But your skin was not an accident or a throw away part of you. It was lovingly created. Knit together with joy. To be blind to the intentional work of the creator is a poverty. Your skin is your body, and it is sacred.
A violation of the body is a violation of the sacred. This is why people talk about consent. To invite someone to touch or experience your body is an invitation to a sacred act. Nobody gets to do that without your invitation. People who think they can make comments about your breasts, your hips, your belly – they are violating the sacred. Your body isn’t the throw away part of you. Your body matters.
Your body is not just a carrying case for your soul. Your body is your soul. Of course we know that our bodies can get sick and break and we wait in hope for the resurrection and the perfect bodies we will have then. But your body now is not just a shell. Your body is sacred. And it matters.
You were created with joy and with great dignity. You were created as sacred. And when your body becomes a tool for someone else’s sin, it is not just a mistake someone has made. It is a violation of the sacred. You are allowed to see it that way. You are allowed to get angry. When someone speaks about your body in a way that is dishonoring, you don’t have to be okay with it. You don’t have to laugh it off. You don’t have to feel stupid for thinking your body is worthy of honor. You get to defend that as fiercely as you desire. You don’t have to apologize for raging against the violation of the sacred.
Girl – I don’t know how else to say it. Your body matters. Your body matters in eternity. It is not the throw away part of you. It is not the dirty part of you. Your body was not created as a tool of the enemy to cause temptation and lust. Your body was not created to stand in the way of others’ holiness. Your body is holy. It is yours. It is for God to reveal himself to you through your eyes, your ears, your tongue, your fingers and toes. Your body, packed with nerves, to feel God’s presence. To feel the presence of others. To drink deep of the gifts He has surrounded you with.