Your body is a temple, not a prison.

“I testify there are no ordinary people, no ciphers, no zeros–only potential gods and goddesses in our midst.” -Tad R. Callister

I can’t begin to tell you all of the horrible things I have thought about myself. I couldn’t list all of the awful things I have done to myself.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I used to hate my body. I would physically hurt myself, and attempted suicide on multiple occasions. This is how I became acquainted with Satan.

Satan is the father of lies and misery, and will do anything to make us like him. He will not have a body. Ever. Out of jealousy, he attacks ours.

Satan began to convince me to hate my body at a young age. I was maybe seven or eight when I really began to be bullied in elementary school. I wasn’t very athletic, because I wasn’t coordinated. As I began to be mocked for this, I started to stress eat. Until radically changing my habits at 13, I was overweight. I felt limited by my body and hated it.

As I began to develop depression around the age of 9, my hatred for my body increased. At the age of 11 I began dying my hair, trying to impress my peers. It worked against my favor, and instead I decided to “go against the crowd” in as many ways as I could.

I would drink gallons of green tea, hoping its seemingly magical properties would begin to thin me out. I would stay up into the early morning hours of the night watching shows of girls who were perfect. I almost never slept.

At this point I felt like my body was a prison. I was a slave to my need for food, water, sleep, and acceptance. I began taking handfuls of various medications, hoping it would hurt my body enough to kill me. I would starve myself because I was too ashamed to have anyone see me eat anything. I became a slave to my own mind.

“We have divinity within ourselves; we have immortality within ourselves; our spiritual organism is immortal; it cannot be destroyed; it cannot be annihilated. We will live form all eternity to all eternity.” – President Lorenzo Snow

Now, almost ten years later, I continue to suffer the consequences of my actions. I am on several medications for anxiety and depression, all of which don’t work particularly well because I ruined my liver abusing medication as a preteen. I have hypoglycemia, which forces me to eat regularly or I become ill. I count this as a blessing, as occasionally Satan’s whispers to starve myself still sound so convincing.

But there is an important reason why I’m telling you this.

As I have come to better understand the gospel, I have also come to recognize the patterns of the adversary. In my mind, this has similar importance in coming to recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost. We need to be able to know when Satan is working against us. As Sister Julie B. Beck said, “We need to know what we’re fighting against.”

One of the fundamental principles of the gospel is that we are here on this earth to gain a body. The family is central to the plan of God, and in order to have a family one day, we need to have a body. By attacking my body, Satan was subsequently attacking my posterity. If I had injured myself enough, I would not be capable of having a family. If I had killed myself, I really wouldn’t have been able to have a family of any sort in the future, let alone deal with whatever repercussions happened in the next life for that decision.

Satan hath desired to have you. And me. He wants nothing more than for us to abuse these bodies we have been given. That is not what they are meant for.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

These bodies are a loan. We are not our own. God is giving us the chance to experience life in mortal bodies. Because we chose his plan and came to earth, we will be resurrected with our bodies, in a perfect state. But we need to earn exaltation.

Sometimes, I don’t like my body. I wish I was thinner, elegant, and athletic. But I’m not. I’m curvy, awkward, and uncoordinated. But I love that about me. God blessed me with this body, full of faults, but still in incredible condition. I have the opportunity to embrace the feelings of anxiety I have, and even learn to appreciate them.

I’m still learning this, but our bodies aren’t a prison.”Men are that they might have joy,” and our bodies give us incredible opportunities to feel joy. Don’t let Satan convince you otherwise.

 

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