Hi everyone. Rob here,
I offer 3 John 2 to you as my prayer and my greeting.
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
What a strange time we are living in! We are now entering week 2 of our lockdown. Some of you may have been doing it for longer and others less, but we have all had our lives utterly disrupted by the spread of Covid-19. There is one message that our government has been sending that I’m particularly grateful for and it goes like this:
Most people have been heeding this advice but there are always exceptions. Domestic violence is up by 25%. People have insulted and spat upon supermarket workers because they haven’t been able to buy everything they want. Police have been spat upon as they enforce the rules. Some have policed others with too much vigour and some have just been selfish as they break social distancing and lockdown guidelines. The person we are most likely to be unkind to though, is our-self. Self-care is enormously important at any time, but particularly so at a time like this. The reality is we have never done this before and so we need to release all the pressure that we have put on ourselves to get this right. There is no ‘getting it right’; there is only walking with God.
I have given myself 3 simple guidelines to help me be kind to myself each day.
- Have I taken care of my body?
- Have I taken care of my mind?
- Have I taken care of my heart?
Today, let’s talk about number 1, our body.
Before the lockdown I was training for a 50 kilometre charity walk. It got called off but I got used to walking long distances by our beautiful river. That’s not happening now. I have to settle for shorter walks around our neighbourhood (grateful that local walks are encouraged), time on the rowing machine and press ups. It’s not my ideal but it’s still good. Learning to settle for the good is an act of kindness to ourselves. It’s good for my body to do those things. It’s also good to eat well, stretch and enjoy fresh air. Keep moving. Don’t settle for life in front of a screen. It’s not good for you and you know it. Take breaks, move, walk, run, dance. Take care of your body.
Romans 12:1 tells us this:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
We live an embodied life, even in lockdown. Our bodies are also limited, decaying and dying. They also have potential that few of us have realised. True worship means offering up this body to God. In doing so we offer up ourselves; our limits and our potential; our goals and our shortcomings; our regrets and our hopes. It would be easy to give ourselves permission to eat too much and move too little in the next few weeks. While I advocate grace, I also advocate resistance.
For me it comes down to this question: Will I be a better human being if I honour my body in this time or neglect it? It pleases God when I become more human. Jesus was the True human and I follow him. I give my body to him. I ask for the Holy Spirit to help me be disciplined. I ask for grace as well as goals and I ask that my body would be a vessel for his love and his Spirit.
May you know God’s kindness to you this week and may you have the grace and capacity to extend his kindness to others. Grace and peace.
p.s We’ll talk about the mind in a few days and then the heart. I made a You Tube video this week talking about Jesus stories. Here’s the link.