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Giving Thanks For That Amazing Body at Thanksgiving

Giving Thanks For That Amazing Body at Thanksgiving
Have You Ever Given Thanks for The Amazing Body God Created?

The annual Thanksgiving holiday is fast at our heels prompting our thoughts to turn to the things for which we are most grateful.  Many of us can easily rattle off a dozen things for which we are thankful from family, to friends, or having a job in a bad economy.  But have you ever given thanks for your body? 

Our bodies are amazingly complex far beyond the elements of each cell, functionally interconnected, intricately weaved together, and completely unique from anyone else.  We have legs that walk miles (in the snow, barefoot, uphill both ways), arms that hug the ones we love, and hands that write inspiring poetry.  We are able to experience life in five different physical dimensions through the senses of smell, touch, hearing, taste, and sight.  We have a mind that not only subconsciously interprets the sensations we experience but that is able to imagine and create things that did not previously exist like art, music and buildings.  We have emotions that allow us to feel love, hurt, joy, sorrow, peace, and hope.  We have memory for without which we would not be able to learn or relive the gift of days gone by.  There are about five thousand languages in the world and only human beings can acquire those languages for which we are able to speak words of love, sing songs of joy, and share information from generation to generation.  Our bodies are a wonderland.

Yet, with the barrage of airbrushed media images we are almost always more critical of our body image and the way we look than we ever are thankful.  We think about what we don’t have rather than what we do have.  We critically focus on the dimples on our cheeks (and I’m not talking about the cute ones on our face).  We think about not being able to fit into our “skinny” jeans.  We think about the aches and pains we feel when we get out of bed.  We think about how others are faster and stronger than us.  We think about how our teeth aren’t white enough, our skin isn’t smooth enough, and our hair isn’t shiny enough.  Our focus lies almost entirely on the physical beauty or perceived lack thereof rather than the miracle of the intricate weaving of thousands of miles of blood vessels and the complexity of trillions of cells. Perhaps this is the problem.  If we are not thankful for the body we have, then why would we try to improve it? 

If you were truly thankful for your amazing body, would you poison it with chemicals from processed foods? 

If you were truly thankful for your amazing body, would you give in to the temptation of a sedentary lifestyle? 

If you were truly thankful for your amazing body, would you deny it the sleep it needs in order to stay up late watching a reality show?

Do you realize that your body will still perform amazing things in an attempt to keep you alive despite your lack of gratitude?  Fact: Every pound of fat gained causes your body to make 7 new miles of blood vessels!  That means your heart has to pump harder to push the blood through all the extra miles of blood vessels.  If you don’t think that’s a big deal, then go out for a 7 mile run right now!  Consequently, if you are “only” 10 pounds overweight your heart has to pump blood through an extra 70 miles of blood vessels! 

The good news is that this also works in reverse.  If you lose a pound of fat, your body will break down and reabsorb the unneeded blood vessels. This should encourage you to be thankful for your body and therefore value how you treat it, as one pound does not seem like a lot to lose, but even that little bit of difference will result in a large benefit for your heart.

When you are thankful for your amazing body and all that it does for you each day, you will value it.  Anything with perceived value will be treasured and treated with respect.  This value of your body will determine what you put in your mouth and prioritize exercise and rest above fruitless endeavors like TV watching and beer drinking.

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.  And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

-1 Corinthians 12: 15-20

When was the last time you stopped to marvel at the amazing creation that is your body? Think about the following and be thankful for your body:

  • There are about 100,000 miles of blood vessels and 100 billion nerve cells in the brain.
  • Nerve impulses to and from the brain travel as fast as 170 miles per hour.
  • Human bone is as strong as granite in supporting weight. A block of bone the size of a matchbox can support 9 tons – that is four times more than concrete can support.
  • The lungs contain over 300,000 million capillaries.  If they were laid end to end, they would stretch 1500 miles.
  • The human heart pumps 1.5 million gallons of blood a year.
  • Two normal kidneys contain 2 million individual blood filters which filter 50 gallons of blood every single day.
  • The focusing muscles of the eyes move around 100,000 times a day. To give your leg muscles the same workout, you would need to walk 50 miles every day.
  • The muscles of the human jaw exert a force of over 482 pounds of pressure. If all the jaw muscles clenched with the same force, our teeth would exert a bite force that’s at least 40% greater than any of the other primates.
  • It takes about 200 muscles to move one step.
  • The human eye can distinguish about 17,000 different colors.
  • You have about 10,000 taste buds on your tongue with about 100 receptor cells per bud.
  • The body has over 50 million white blood cells that work to protect the body's defense system.
  • In 30 minutes, the average body gives off enough heat to bring a half gallon of water to boil.
  • The surface area of a human lung is equal to a tennis court.
  • Your body has enough iron in it to make a nail 3 inches long.
  • Every day an adult body produces 300 billion new cells.
  • Your nose can remember 50,000 different scents.
  • DNA is found inside every cell in our body (apart from red blood cells).
  • If the DNA in a single human cell were stretched out and laid end-to-end, it would measure approximately 6.5 feet (2 meters). The average human body contains 10 to 20 billion miles (16 to 32 billion kilometers) of DNA distributed among trillions of cells.
  • Humans have roughly 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion cells).
  • You could fit 25,000 strands of DNA side by side in the width of a single adult hair.
  • There are approximately 3 billion (3,000,000,000) chemical letters (otherwise known as bases) in the DNA code in every cell in your body. If you tried typing the whole genetic code out at a speed of 200 letters per minute, it would take 29 years (without taking any breaks).
  • Sections of DNA that code for proteins are called genes. The complete set of genetic information for an organism is called the genome. The latest estimate is that there are between 20,000 and 25,000 genes in the human genome.

Wow!  And those are just a few of the trillions of miracles that lie within our body each and every day naturally occurring automatically without us having to give a single thought.  There are so many more.  If that doesn’t make you thankful for your body then I can’t help you.  You are a living, breathing, beautiful creation! 

While we many not fully understand the microscopic science and wonder of each cell in our body, we can still be grateful for the little things we recognize in our body as summed in this quote: “We're entrusted, each of us, to make the most of this gift which we are granted. I will never look as young, weigh as little or be as tall as I might like. My nose won't be as cute as my best friend's, my teeth straight as my son's, my feet small as my mom's. Truth to tell and for the most part, that's OK by me. What matters is that I am able to tie my shoes in a double knot, and to pull the warm red cap my father gave me over my ears. I can start running, because even if I don't go as fast or far as I would like, I will do it, simply because I can.” Be grateful for your body!

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