Hello, everyone. As a general rule, I’m not going to use my blog to simply express personal thoughts. However, I’m between projects and sessions right now and these thoughts seem apt. (No, I’m definitely not about to express anything politically related).
Since my junior year of high school, seven years ago, I’ve followed a blog called “Delightfully Tacky.” Recently, the name was changed to “The Brave Life.” Blogger Liz Morrow lives in Anchorage, Alaska, with her husband, their corgi, and new son, Jack.
As with any blog, you have to be wise and sometimes pick and chose the things you read. Liz’s blog began as more of a “fashion” blog. I still love to see her different outfits and eclectic style. I’m inspired by the beauty where they live and her photography. Over time, the blog has evolved, tapping into other areas. I have come to realize that I don’t quite see eye-to-eye with Liz Morrow on some personal things. However, I still enjoy reading her thoughts and learning more about a point of view on life that’s different from my own. And that’s my hope on any platform.
So, if you would rather not hear some of my personal beliefs and opinions, feel free to stop reading now and tune back in this weekend when I post a DIY entry about crafting a Valentine’s Day wreath! Oh, and enjoy one of my favorite pictures from my trip to Charleston, SC, shown above!
On March 16, 2016, Liz wrote a post entitled, “Reconnecting Body + Soul.” I read this post last year. But today, as I was scrolling through the sweet photos of her son’s nursery in her most recent post, I somehow found my way back to this entry and re-read it. My reaction was much different this time and it got me thinking. It made me stop and ponder instead of just scrolling past.
I never thought much about my body. It almost felt like a car that I was driving around in until I died and then I got out of and no longer had. Feelings, both physical and emotional, were almost annoying in that they reminded me that I was inextricably linked to this body.
This past year for me has been chalk full of moments where I felt like this. I’ve often wondered why God chose to create us in this body. Our bodies are so flawed and imperfect. There have been times when I feel trapped in it; I’m experiencing anxiety, worry, sickness, and wishing I could just be released from the barriers of my physical body. It’s moments like this when I have a “lightbulb moment” and realize that is the exact reason we are in this body. It’s a reminder that what we’re experiencing here is temporary and fleeting and one day we won’t have to deal with it anymore. Instead, we will have something far better and be with the One who is perfect. That hope is what gets me through those difficult moments.
Now, this isn’t to say that being a thinker is inherently bad, and neither is being a feeler. But being a feeler who doesn’t think can be bad, and being a thinker who doesn’t feel can also be bad.
Have you ever taken the Meyers Briggs Assessment? I’ve taken it three times in the last six years and every time I’ve ended with the same outcome. I am an INFJ, an Introverted, Intuitive, Feeler and Judger, through and through. However, my feeling vs. thinking area came very close. I spend a great deal of time feeling a lot and then thinking about my feelings. The part of “growing up” I am right in the middle of is figuring out how to let myself feel without shame, but also know when to not listen to my feelings.
I think that’s where I differ from many people I know, due to my spiritual life. I believe there are times when I should not listen to my feelings and choose a path based on my thoughts or what I believe to be the “right” choice. There are times when my feelings and thoughts are in sync together and there’s no issue or hesitation; the right choice is also the choice I’m passionate about. But it’s ok with me that I’m not always passionate about what I believe to be the right choice. Those two things don’t always have to line up, and if they did, I’d be slightly concerned. Does that make sense? It’s what I’d deem a self-sacrifice of sorts.
And, of course, I’ve been thinking about this. Thinking about why I am this way, how I became this way, and how to course correct and find balance between thinking and feeling. Besides the fact that I believe I’m naturally a thinker, I’ve realized that growing up in the church probably instilled in me some detrimental thoughts and beliefs about feeling and being in my body…There was no discussion of the body as something to celebrate, to enjoy, to partner with as a way to access spirituality.
Reading this part of the post made me sad. I grew up in the church as well, and yes, I won’t deny that this attitude she mentions about our bodies is prevalent. There were individuals I knew growing up and others I know now, who, in a way, “demonize” the body; the idea that if we enjoy anything about our physical bodies or what we have in this physical world, we are losing sight of spiritual things. I just don’t believe that’s true at all. I read through my bible and there are too many passages to count spent praising the beauty of the world around us and the amazing things we have to celebrate about our time here, in this body. Our physical bodies are a gift. This earth is a gift. And we are stewards of all of these things, to respect and enjoy. The part we forget sometimes is that we don’t have to sacrifice our deep appreciation and connection with this body, in order to also strengthen our spiritual body.
But, how can this be? It’s all about perspective. As an artist myself, I look at the rest of creation and our bodies and I am so amazed at the intricacies. My God is the most talented, creative, artist of all time. The more I understand and get to know the aspects of His artwork, the more I understand and get to know Him (and the more I understand how truly insignificant I am in comparison).
I like having a body. I like being a body. I like touching things, I like moving, I like feeling the heat of the sun on my skin, I like petting my dog, I like eating and drinking delicious things. And those things feel, in a way, spiritual. They feel real…I want to feel less stuck in my mind, more able to release and be in my body without analyzing every thing or feeling like focusing on being in my body is a waste of time.
I like having a body too. As I mentioned before, being in this world and seeing or feeling the beauty of the simplest of things, such as the warm sunlight (especially in Florida, goodness), is wonderful. It’s a gift. These things are tangible and real, and I agree, sometimes it feels like a spiritual experience to be connected so closely with the One who created these things. There are times when I feel as if the warm sunlight or the calm breeze is God giving me a hug and smiling down on me, just when I need it the most.
But then I get sick again or I feel disappointment, hurt, pain, and suffering. We see the many ways which these bodies are so greatly limited. I see the vast suffering in the world around me, intermingled with such an awesome creation, and it hurts my heart.
I will end with one of my favorite passages from the book of Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon. He figured it out so we don’t always have to learn it the hard way. In Ecclesiastes 2:24-26, he wrote, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from Him, who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases Him, God has given wisdom and knowledge and enjoyment…but all this is also vanity and striving after wind.”
I want to strive every day to celebrate the gift I’ve been given, but I also want the part of me which will surpass the vanity, my soul, to be molded into the One who painted it. He trumps all thoughts or feelings I may ever have, no matter how great they may seem.
I want to feel the joy of my time here, in this body, but I never want to lose sight of the place beyond this body…
…okay, back to enjoying my coffee.