Balanced & Beautiful

Dressing for the Glory of God

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by Laurel Damsteegt, Part 9


God designed our bodies in a marvelous way. The different organs function so smoothly together that we hardly think of them unless we have health problems.

This is terribly ungrateful of us. Paying attention to our health is not selfish; it is a way of showing gratitude to God for His workmanship and redemption.

The body’s intricate system of organs and its network of complex nerves all need oxygen to survive. The oxygen is carried by the blood. We don’t have to put forth any effort to make this happen, and we often take this wonderful process for granted. And so it’s easy to think nothing of wearing tight clothing that puts pressure on the body. The discomfort that results is a warning we shouldn’t ignore. That unpleasant feeling is the body shouting out, “Listen to me and loosen up!” If we ignore the warning, we may actually cause long-term injury to our organs or blood vessels.

In the 1800s, many women wore corsets to pull in their waists. The result was a whole generation of women with dysfunctional abdominal organs. We may not go to such extremes today, but we usually don’t worry much if we have a tight waistband, very snug undergarments, or tight elastic around the tops of our socks. Have mercy on your system! Give it room to circulate! Clothing needs to be comfortable. Choose waistlines that have some “give” in them, stockings that don’t bind your calves, and jackets that do not constrict your arm movement.

If you want good circulation, make sure you stay warm in cold weather. The arms and legs should be as warm as the trunk.1 Yet we often venture out in the snow with thin-soled shoes, bare legs, and jackets that barely reach the waist. Give your body a break! Today it’s not hard to find warm undergarments, pile-lined boots, and thick, washable sweaters. Then, with a wool scarf tucked snugly about the neck and thick warm mittens, you can truly enjoy the wonders of winter without suffering its bite.2 Take advantage of staying warm!

We may think it old-fashioned, but covering the head is also important. In cold weather, tremendous amounts of heat can be lost through the head. The face and ears can suffer from exposure, too. Choose a winter hat that covers the head and ears. Some coats have a handy hood that can be pulled up, keeping the neck warm. Hats are important in summer, as well, helping to keep the head cool while working outside. Treat your brain to some respect!

Shoes, most of all, should be comfortable. Pinched toes, carbuncles, corns, calluses, and bad backs are the feet’s way of crying out, “Treat us well, and we’ll be your loyal servants!” Shoes that are soft and comfy, with good arch support, may cost a little more, but they are well worth the expense. When the feet are unhappy, the whole body is unhappy. Good shoes also make a huge difference in the amount of time we can be on our feet—walking, standing, running, and enjoying ourselves.

Listen to your body, care for it, and it will function as the high-performance machine God designed it to be.


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1. “Another evil which custom fosters is the unequal distribution of the clothing, so that while some parts of the body have more than is required, others are insufficiently clad. The feet and limbs, being remote from the vital organs, should be especially guarded from cold by abundant clothing. It is impossible to have health when the extremities are habitually cold; for if there is too little blood in them there will be too much in other portions of the body. Perfect health requires perfect circulation; but this cannot be had while three or four times as much clothing is worn upon the body, where the vital organs are situated, as upon the feet and limbs.” Ellen White, The Ministry of Healing, page 293.
2. “The dress should fit easily, obstructing neither the circulation of the blood nor a free, full, natural respiration. The feet should be suitably protected from cold and damp. Clad in this way, we can take exercise in the open air, even in the dew of morning or evening, or after a fall of rain or snow, without fear of taking cold.” White, Child Guidance, page 425. See also The Ministry of Healing, pages 290–293.