This past week, as I was teaching the Bible lesson to my fourth grade students, I took the time to explain the meaning of "heart" as used in Scripture. To love something will all your heart isn't referring to the beating organ. Ten year olds are just learning to comprehend abstract thought, so I like to do as much explaining as I can to help them along.
Your heart is who you are, I told them. It's the being that lives inside your body. Your body is just the physical part of you that is necessary to live here on earth, but your heart is the person inside you---who you really are.
As I was telling them this verbally, I began an internal conversation with myself. If my body isn't who I am, then why I am constantly unhappy with my body? Why do I spend so much time being upset about my physical appearance? My body is just the vessel holding my presence---it is not who I am. This led me to a few thoughts:
1. Who am I really? I think I tend to focus on my physical appearance because I don't know who I really am. It's easier to focus on physical things. Just as my students struggle to understand the abstract, I often struggle with who I really am. Trying to make myself who I want to be physically is a concrete idea I can grasp.
2. We are all beings living inside these physical bodies. Not only do I tend to connect my life to my physical appearance --- I often judge others on theirs. I think one is prettier than another, one is cleaner than another, rather than being concerned with getting to know who that person really is.
3. If I can learn, somehow, to carry this thought with me on a daily basis, I think it will change my peronal relationship with God, and will also change my personal relationship with people around me. It will require me to work to get to know who they are. It will also require work for me to get to know who I am.