Each year I am privileged (and we as a church!) to have a new batch of confirmands and mentors. It’s always a gift to meet them individually and see how they form as a group over the course of our year together. No two groups are alike, just like no two confirmands are alike. Seeing the Holy Spirit work through them, and in their hearts, is one of my most precious gifts as a Pastor.
We use a series of discussions based on the book Way to Live, which was written by teenagers. Each week we cover a topic important to this age group: friends, food, community, etc. One week in the fall we talk about Bodies. It’s an important conversation and we stress how our bodies are gifts from a loving God, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes and abilities, and that we are to care for our bodies as a way to honor the Giver. Body image is a major issue for most people in general, but particularly during the teenage years. At the end of our discussion confirmands and mentors share, anonymously, the answers to the following questions referring to one’s body, and I share them with you here:

I struggle with:

Eating enough and my height. A slow thyroid and bad seasonal allergies. Eating too much. Being skinny. My thick hair. Enough exercise. My weight. Feeling positive. Being really short and small. Staying up late. My eyes – I don’t like contacts. Acne. Scars from childhood accidents. Eating a balanced meal. Being able to fall asleep. Self-confidence and compassion. Positive body image. Back pain. Negative thoughts in general and depression. My double chin. Memory.

I am thankful for:

My personality. A rocket-fast metabolism. My hair. My spirit of joyfulness. Being tall. Being disease free. Staying healthy so long in life. Good vision. Being muscular. Doing cross country. Being smart (mental body). Discipline to manage my weight. Being a multi-talented athlete. Running. A strong heart. The luxury of having all 5 senses intact. Being a positive person. Being able to reason right and wrong with my brain. Here’s Johnny!

Sometimes we can forget to be thankful for what we have and judge ourselves against impossible, worldly standards. This is where the gift of faith is so important. For we are all the body of Christ, made in God’s image, loved the way we are, with whatever ailments we drag along. Perfect in our own right. So maybe you find yourself on this list in some ways. What might you add? What might you seek to take away? How do you interpret your body as a gift from God which deserves care and attention as a way to honor the Maker who blesses us?

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Nick