2019’s theme is “The Body.” Each week our blog will focus on this. Today’s blog is…..
The Body is a Gift
Felicia Fox is the Associate Pastor for youth, children, and discipleship at First Baptist Gastonia. She is a graduate of the M. Christopher White School of Divinity at Gardner-Webb University. She enjoys helping young people see God in their everyday lives, painting, attending roller derbies, and playing with her two dogs. Her two fish are named Wu and Tang.
The body you were given can help determine the life you will have. That maybe a hard truth for some of us to hear. We don’t like to think about issues like white privilege or male privilege especially in most churches. But it’s there, a hidden truth that can dictate our lives of faith and our churches.
I remember the first time I was told that my body didn’t allow me to be a minister. Where I grew up being born a girl meant I could only serve God and the church by helping in the children’s program or maybe leading the choir. If I was lucky I could marry a minister and help him at church. I was told those words as a teenager wondering why God was calling me. Sometimes I can still hear the words of a senior pastor telling me I was sinning because I wanted to be in ministry. Those words hurt me deeply. They hurt my soul and I blamed my body and God for not making me good enough.
I’ve grown up and now I know that those words were not from God. I also know they come from a place of privilege spoken by a man who never had to prove he was good enough to minister despite his race or gender. Those harsh words were actually a gift to me. They allowed me to know what it feels like to be told I wasn’t good enough.
We work with teenagers who are fighting with issues of calling and self esteem everyday. They are being told left and right that their bodies make them fit into this or that category. The tall teens should try out for basketball. The student with glasses has to be smart. The girls should cover up more. We’ve all heard those comments and others like them.
As youth ministers part of our calling is to help teens embrace who they are and what God is calling them to be. We often limit our focus on bodies to purity talks. Maybe it’s time we start teaching our teens that they are created in the image of God regardless of their body type or physical abilities. It’s time we teach them to embrace what makes them unique and remind them that their bodies are a gift from God too.