I don’t quite remember how I started reading Beauty Beyond Bones, Caralyn writes profoundly about her relationship with her body, with food, and her relationship with God. Her blog post Eat Pretty rattled around between the auditory canals, asking me to listen to the words. Particularly over the last few days as I’ve baked, the spiritual relationship with food, the nourishment of body and soul lived at the forefront of thoughts and prayers. In light of reading Cravings this makes a lot of sense.
This morning the thoughts placed themselves in the right order to make sense enough to write about. (And rest assured this will be a quilt/creativity related post.) Going back to Genesis we read and hear the story of the fall in the Garden, how Adam and Eve ate the apple, forever changing their relationship with God. In that moment our relationship with God and, our bodies, and food and work are forever changed. There is now something misordered, and burdensome about all of these things, at least potentially. I can imagine before the fall Eve looking deeply at her reflection in a pool of water and enjoying the gift of her own beauty, not vainly, but appreciatively, seeing the good the Lord has done. I can imagine Adam and Eve being loving and caring with one another, offering themselves to one another with great awe and admiration. I can imagine the enjoyment of food both for nourishment and the joy of eating. And then, in one fell swoop, with whatever happened, it was gone. Gone. Adam and Eve both lied. Adam and Eve both listened to the evil, believed it, and took action on that lie. That lie misordered so much.
The truth is, we all buy the lie, at great cost. We all buy the lie that we’re not good enough. We’re not smart enough, we can’t do the very thing that we’re setting out to do.We buy the lie that our bodies aren’t right if they do not conform to current social norms. If our faces have acne, if our booty is bigger than a size zero. If our eyes aren’t bright blue and our hair blond, we’re not pretty. It’s a lie.
We buy the lie when we believe deeply that the work of our hands is not worth the price we’re asking. We buy the lie when we listen to the “it’s not good enough for prime time” when we hold back. We buy the lie when we hold back our talents, we hold back from promoting our work, for getting paid what our labor is worth.
What happens for some of us? We seek comfort in food, alcohol and many other things. We seek to hide behind a bigger body, or a thinner body. We seek comfort, consolation and find it in ways that betray us. Because the only words that matter are the ones from our Father who says, “I love you and you are mine” and “you are fearfully and wonderfully made.” and “it is finished”.
This week using my own hands to make bread has been cathartic. I’ve been struggling greatly with so many things but my identity most of all. My true identity is as a well-loved child of God who is has, through God’s prompting, become a good quilter, a decent teacher, a mentor who asks good questions, a well-loved wife, and so much more. And yet these roles: quilter, teacher, mentor, and wife make no difference in the dignity of the human person. These are gifts, good gifts, to be explored and learned, and opportunities to discover and more fully participate in the relationship with God and other human beings I’m privileged to meet and interact with.
Our identity is as His well-loved kid.
Our identity does not change if our quilts win awards.
Our identity does not change if our bread rises perfectly.
Our identity does not change if our quilts are imperfect.
Our identity does not change if our bread falls flat.
Our identity does not change if our garlic knots are garlicky enough.
Our identity does not change if our booties are tiny.
Our identity does not change if we have …oh you get it.
We are His. We are loved.
The only thing that changes is my response to that love. The only thing I can do is trust His Love and Mercy. Cling to Hope. And just be.
May our longing to dwell in that love reach fulfillment.