For me, there’s something worshipful about the first bite of pho. The taste of star anise and basil marry together in this Vietnamese staple in a way that brings my mouth—my entire body—warmth, joy, and pleasure. As I delight in the taste, my soul resonates with a wordless thank you for the pleasure God has created—the ability through taste, smell, and touch to enjoy the comfort of a delicious bite of food.
God designed our bodies to encounter and take pleasure in his creation. From a nibble of chocolate to the tones of a symphony, from a kiss from a loved one to a brilliant night sky, our bodies enable us—in a myriad of ways—to “taste and see that the Lord is good,” as is his beautiful world (Psalm 34:8).
Of course our bodies can certainly hurt and disappoint us as well. Physical pain, disease, and limitation may be an ever-present reality. As we age, we grow in awareness of our mortality as our metabolism slows, our bones weaken, and our sight fails. And we each experience the temptations that Scripture and church history associate with the body (“the flesh”), such as lust, sloth, or gluttony.
As women, we face an additional layer of challenge as cultural voices continually berate us for being too fat or too ugly or just plan too average. In this Today's Christian Woman issue, Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence challenges that myopic focus on the shape and size of our bodies, offering a balanced and biblical response to a culture of fat shaming. And Tara M. Owens confronts our tendency to dislike our own bodies. Rather than “minimize and marginalize . . . our bodies,” Tara proposes we consider “the way that God communicates to us through our bodies.”
In this season of my life, I’m learning to tune in more to that communication—that sacred interchange between Creator and created. I’m discovering that the more I integrate my spiritual practices with my body, the better I’m able to truly focus on, listen to, and connect with God. For example, walks outdoors have become my time of silence and solitude, of prayer and contemplation. I think of Isaac who spent time walking and meditating in the fields (Genesis 24:63) as I consider the synergy I’ve been finding between sweat and supplication, between wordless prayers and rhythmic breathing as I walk.
And when I delight—whether it’s that first bite of pho or listening to a bird singing during a hike in my favorite park—I think that, too, is a form of grateful prayer.
How might God be inviting you to “taste and see”—to touch, to smell, to hear—”that the Lord is good”?
The Body-Soul Connection
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