The other day, Aaron and I were talking about one of his favorite Super Nintendo games as a kid--Earthbound. He still has it; it is beat up and well loved and he still enjoys playing it. As we were talking, he admitted that sometimes he regrets taking it of the box and playing with it; a mint condition version of Earthbound is worth hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars now.
As much of a miser I am, I don't think I'd go back and tell ten-year-old Aaron to keep the game in the box. Toys are meant to be played with; I've never understood "collectibles." To each their own, but why are people paying hundreds of dollars now to buy old toys that are just going to stay in the box? Maybe they're collecting value, but for what? As soon as you take them out to do what they were made to do, they lose all their value.
Most of treat our bodies like collectibles. We reach some kind of "ideal" body around our early twenties and from that point on, we live just to keep our bodies in that condition—so no one can tell that they've been taken out of the box. We constantly try to keep off the pounds. We dye, shave, pluck, and tan. We try everything to get rid of freckles, wrinkles, stretch marks, acne.
I realized this over the summer as I reflected on the flaws that hold me back from having the "perfect beach body"—the stretch marks left over from pregnancy, the blinding white legs, the mosquito bites and scrapes all over my legs, the bits of flab here and there.
As I think about that elusive beach body, I wonder what I would want it for. If somehow, overnight, I could get my body in mint condition, what would I do with it? I couldn't do anything for fear that the perfect body would elude me again. I couldn't have another baby, spend time in the sun or the outdoors, eat cookies—anything—for fear of the stretch marks, white legs, mosquito bites, and bits of flab coming back. I couldn't just live my life and use my body for what it was made for.
I'd be keeping myself in the box—trying to add value to myself, for someone else to look at.
Our bodies are meant to be used—taken care of, sure—but used. They serve us, we do not serve them.
They aren't collectibles, they aren't made to be kept in mint condition so that they'll be of value to someone else. They're made to enjoy, to eat and drink, have and take care of babies, swim, run, cook, serve, and have fun in.
And for believers, they are a temple of God, a living sacrifice to Him, and what we do in them can honor and worship Him. So I'm going to take care of mine, love it, and honor it—but like any good temple, if it's going to serve its purpose, I can't keep it pristine.