Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Body, the Temple

Over the past few months I've been dwelling a lot on the passage in Corinthians that says: "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body." 
As a child, I took that in a purely decorative sense: dress modestly, avoid tattoos, piercings, or other outrageous displays that might not represent Jesus.

I was reminded of this verse again today in the checkout line of the grocery store.  I had bought a loaf of bread, and as it went down the conveyor belt I thought--mmm...sandwiches!!  In one short week I can eat all of the deli meat and soft cheeses that I want!! 

That may seem like a weird thought, but when you are pregnant there are a lot of seemingly benign foods on the no-no list: soft cheeses, deli meat (including my favorite--chicken salad!!), hot dogs, alcohol, caffeine, and certain kinds of fish.  And those are just the big ones!  As I've been caring for this new life inside of me, I have been SO much more aware of the things I've been putting in my body.  Processed foods, fatty foods, high fructose corn syrup--any ingredient that I can't pronounce!  The things I choose to consume go directly to my child, and the toxins that I encounter on a daily basis hit him at a much higher level in proportion to his tiny growing body.

It's not just foods, either.  I look at stretch mark cream that is intended to be rubbed onto my belly and absorbed into my skin, and it has paraffin and other chemicals that are not always good for you--sometimes even carcinogenic!  Do I want to have that absorbed directly into the area that my child is resting?  The same goes with the chemicals in cleaning agents and even perfumes--things that my highly sensitive nose is very attuned to lately.  I rush past my neighbors who sit smoking every night, practically on my front porch. 

The list of things I've gotten into the habit of avoiding over the past 9 months is large, but what about things that I've been practicing?  Exercise, good sleep habits, eating frequent meals, drinking a LOT of water, and trying to reduce stress.  All of these are things I've been consciously trying to implement as my body has been housing this little one that I love so much. 

Now that I know what it is like to physically have another being living inside of me, it makes me wonder--have I really put into practice that verse from above?  My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit--who lives inside of me!  My body is his dwelling place.  That should go far beyond not wearing tight or revealing clothing.  The Hebrews decorated their temple inside and out.  It was a HOLY and PURE place of reverence.  Do I maintain my body in that same way?  Do I keep my body healthy in order to glorify God in His temple?  Do I consider what I eat and drink, what I say, the music I sing, and the things that I do all in perspective of my precious Lord?  Right now every thought is on protecting and honoring my child in every way that I can.  But even after he is born (which should be any day, praise God!) I want to continue these practices of setting aside my body as a temple.  No, I am not going to give up deli meat permanently (I'm pretty sure the Holy Spirit is ok with a sub every now and then).  But I do want to maintain the same reverence that I have had for my body as a vessel of something that is greater than myself, that is meant to be holy and pure, and that I have been entrusted to maintain to the best of my capabilities while here on this earth.