on being confronted with modesty culture:
I was doing [an internship] at a church a few hundred miles from home one summer — the summer after my junior year of high school. I was in the middle of a Saturday night prayer service, and I was at the front of the church near the altar with both hands raised — eyes closed. I had a pastor’s assistant come and tap me on the shoulder and tell me that while my outfit was really cute, it was the distracting some of the men and could I please go sit in the back and worship Jesus.
I immediately high-tailed it out of there and locked myself in a bathroom stall and sobbed uncontrollably — the kind of sobs you usually only cry when you’re a kid, where you can’t catch your breath and you’re hyperventilating. And being just so humiliated, but not knowing at the time how to put words to why I felt embarrassed. Feeling so ashamed of it that my parents, who I tell everything to, I don’t think to this day I’ve told them that story.
on understanding the resurrection:
A lot of times, because Paul uses the word flesh when talking about waging with our sin nature, we take a gnostic view of our bodies — which wasn’t what Paul was trying to get at. Understanding that that’s not what Paul was talking about, we then wrestle with this reality of God wrapping himself in flesh — sweating and walking and being dirty and in pain.
A big, key turning point for me is also understanding that these bodies will be resurrected. Jesus’ resurrection makes my bodily resurrection possible — this is the body that God gave me and it will be perfect in the next life. This [body] is something God made and saw as good and will be even better, so I’m going to start to delight in it now.
on loving the Body:
I care about the young women coming through the church. I want to see the Kingdom in its fullness on earth as it is in heaven. Granted, I’ve had it better than most.
My mom always demonstrated a really healthy respect and care for her own body, so that translated easily to me. My mom being an athlete, her body was something that she trained and used for herself. I definitely internalized that concept.
Even in my own experiences of being shamed or not liking my body, I don’t want to see other young women to experience that. I want them to taste the freedom that comes with recognizing who they are and how they were made.
There’s no extracting myself from the church. I wouldn’t be having these conversations if I didn’t love the church — if I wasn’t a product of the church. I think that with all of the Western, Evangelical language about sexuality and chastity — it’s too late for a few Bandaid changes. I think we need to have a real, holistic, from the ground up, rebuilding of that. I would love to have the church engage in that conversation in a thoughtful, educated, robust way.
on stewarding her sexuality:
For my whole life, I’m going to steward my sexuality. I will still be stewarding my sexuality within marriage in the same way I steward it today as a single 23 year-old.
It’s harder to live in the tension of wanting to honor God, honor other people and myself, than it is to obey a set of rules — but I think it’s ultimately what we’re supposed to do. God meets us in that tension, and His spirit meets us in that tension. The rules tend to produce shame and a fragmentation of your personhood. I’ve come down to — am I honoring God? Am I honoring other people? And am I honoring myself? That’s the compass that I use.