Caring for the Body Through Indirection

Yummy snack.

Over on my personal blog this year, I’ve been sharing pieces of my journey toward learning how to care for my body. This is an area of life in which I feel quite inept. I don’t have many resources to pull from or habits built up in my lifestyle to know how to care for my body in an intentional, good-ward direction. 

But as I shared this morning in that space, last night Jesus told me in no uncertain terms that he cares about my body. This led to an exchange in which I could see that the nutrients I put into my body and the ways I strengthen my muscles and bones matter to him. 

However, I’m a complete novice at this.

There was a short-lived time in my life, about nine years ago (nine!), when I was exercising regularly and in the best shape I’d ever known in my life. But then I moved and couldn’t quite find a rhythm of exercise in my new surroundings, and the habit languished and died. 

I have never recovered that ground since.

It’s been interesting, in the aftermath of that conversation with Jesus last night, how pronounced his statement continues to be today. As I’ve sat in the quiet with him this morning, seeking to hear what he wants to say in this space today, all I keep hearing him say, over and over again, is that same line: “I care about your body, Christianne.” 

No matter how I’ve tried to focus in prayer to discern his words for you today, I just keep seeing and hearing him say that exact same line: “I care about your body, Christianne. I care about your body, Christianne.”

When I first heard him speaking it again this morning, I stopped what I was doing and wrote the post over on my personal blog about it. Then I came back to prayer. But again, he was still speaking the same line. So I started asking myself, “What could it look like to care for my body today?”

I decided that I could bring carrots and almonds and a bottle of water to the place I’m going to work this afternoon. I also realized that I could bring some leftover pad thai that I have in the refrigerator and heat it up in the microwave there, so that I’m sure to eat a real meal today. (The last several times I’ve gone to work there, I didn’t eat beforehand and didn’t bring anything with me to eat, leading to no food in my body all day long.)

When I still heard Jesus speaking that same line to me after all that, I checked out the YMCA classes being offered this evening and discovered a kickboxing class. (Kickboxing just happens to be the form of exercise I discovered that I love those nine years ago.)

So, yes. I can do those things today. Make a couple snacks, bring some leftovers, and attend a new class tonight.

It reminded me of the principle of indirection. And when Jesus — even still, after all those thoughts and decisions and steps had been taken by me this morning — kept speaking that line as I leaned in to hear his words for you this morning, I realized that perhaps it is this principle of indirection related to the body that he wants to speak to you, too.

Basically, this is the idea that we cannot transform ourselves. I cannot make myself into someone who cares for my body. I cannot make myself into a healthy person. That isn’t currently in my makeup. Only God can transform my character and overall makeup into one of healthiness.

But I can do small acts within my power to cooperate with him. These small acts — bringing a couple snacks, attending a new class, for instance — are my way of cooperating with God’s intention to form me today.

We do what is within our power to do, so that God can do in us what is not within our power to do. 

How might the principle of indirection be helpful to you today in the places God is seeking to form you?