Queen Esther vs. Cindy Crawford.

It’s a funny thing.

I’ve had a post written for about 3 months entitled “Life Is More Than Fat Thighs”.  It’s just been sitting here, ready to be uploaded to the blog.  Basically, it was a slight rant about how irritated I get with all of the chatter amongst woman..based on how we look (I am not excluded from this).  Someone is always complaining about how fat they are.  Someone is always complimenting someone on how skinny they are.  Someone is always talking about the diet they are on.  And hey….how about this…..

Think about the last 10 times you saw a girlfriend at the store, church or a playdate and recall how the conversation always seems to go like this…

“Hey!”

“Hi!  So good to see you!”

“Oh my gosh!  Your outfit/pants/shirt/purse/hairdo is soooo cute!”  (because THAT should always be the follow up statement to a salutation, obviously)

Now look.  I have always struggled with this topic, because it’s no secret that I enjoy clothes, fabrics and fashion.  However, I feel there is a large difference between enjoying clothing and being obsessed with your outward self. It is a fine line.  One I am learning to walk.  In our society today, this will not be intuitive.  It has to be an intentional choice to think beyond the external.

And lately, I have seen how it can totally control peoples (woman, mainly) lives, conversations and time.  It’s sad, really.  I once heard a mom (about my age) talk about the last 5 pounds she needed to lose and how she was pondering plastic surgery in order to firm up her appearance.  Im about 20 pounds heavier than this person and I just stood there, nodding my head and realizing that she had no clue how truly pretty she was…even if she was 20 pounds heavier (and weighed what I did–GASP!)

*This is not a post about how plastic surgery is good/bad.  That isn’t the point Im trying to make here, so don’t send me mean emails, please.*

My friend, Kathy, posted the following to her FaceBook page and while I read it, I found myself loving the parallel she drew between Biblical times and today.  I hope she doesn’t mind me posting it (Kathy–say the word and I can pull the post).  I feel she has grabbed the essence of true beauty and how we must each strive to enjoy how the Lord made us.

Not constantly striving to rid ourselves of all cellulite, be a size 4 (I wish), or one-up our friends in the “cool outfit” contest.

Here are Kathy’s words:

I started a book with my Bible study a few weeks back, by Beth Moore, called “Esther. It’s Tough Being A Woman.” The first weeks’ theme was “It’s tough being a woman in another woman’s shadow.” It was a phenomenal week, one which really hit home. I can totally relate with that, because I live in the shadow of a flawed woman who’s image distorts mine (before you even ask, no I will not name her, that’s just wrong).


This weeks’ theme is ” It’s tough being a woman in a world where beauty is a treatment.”

Ouch.

Our culture is flooded with ads for products to make you younger, thinner, prettier. Even the young and beautiful aren’t young and beautiful enough. “Esther” opens with queen Vashti being dethroned and King Xerxes looking for a new queen. He sent out ambassadors to every province to find the most beautiful young women in all the land, though they weren’t yet beautiful enough for him. They have to go through months of “beauty treatments” before he’d even see them. Young and beautiful wasn’t young and beautiful enough in Persia either.

 

So then I started thinking today. How much has this ideal of beauty become something I do rather than something I am, sunk into my brain? Like most women, I have a list. A list of things I don’t like about me. My chin and nose are too pointy, and I hate the oblong shape of my ears. My face never got the memo about growing into my buck teeth, my hair is too course, and going grey way too fast and way too young. That’s just the beginning…I could keep going, but my flaws aren’t the point; who I am, is. I am a woman made in God’s image. He created me the way He wanted me. Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” He knit me together; every course hair and pointy appendage. He made me as I am because it pleased Him. I need to focus on that more than on my list of things I don’t like about me.

Then, beyond even me, I was blessed with the task of rearing two wonderful daughters; princesses belonging to the King himself. I need to impart on them the fact that God loves them! How can I ever teach them they are beautiful in God’s eyes if I don’t first grasp that concept for myself? I don’t want my daughters growing up to think that they are only beautiful if a man thinks they are (even if He is their husband, their beauty isn’t based on his opinion). They are not beautiful if other women think they are (Lord knows how badly we try to impress each other, what man has ever said“Wow look at the Coach purse on that one!”; we women dress for each other too). They are not beautiful if they feel pretty that day (and you all know our opinion of our looks varies by day, and eh-uhm, time of the month). They are beautiful because Jesus knit them together in my womb. He knew their names and faces before time began, and as it says in the story of creation, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31.

As I face the overwhelming influence of our modern day version of Esther’s Persia, I need to focus on my God’s view of me if I ever hope to raise girls, who could care less what anyone but Jesus thinks of their looks.

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “Queen Esther vs. Cindy Crawford.

  1. Your Brother

    Aside from my gf, you are the most beautiful woman I know. Period. And I shiz you not that I never have noticed when you gained weight. (aside from that day at Long Beach Memorial… which was AWESOME)

    Maybe your lucky or maybe Im just blind. And maybe people resent you for getting this post first. But you dont ever need to gain/lose/remove anything. Not saying that you are saying you need to. But just so you know. You Rachel, are hot. Mostly because you are related to me.

    Lauf.

  2. kim hoff

    As a mom with a daughter who has battled an eating disorder for the last 2 years, I am ULTRA sensitive to people who make comments about people’s outer appearance. Even the dentist mentioned something about her weight once and sent her into a tailspin. I wish people would concentrate on someone’s smile and inner beauty instead of the waistband!

  3. Unfading beauty. That’s what it’s all about. Thanks for sharing yours 🙂 And for this post!

  4. and I can assure you that when you add AGE to this mix it gets even more dicey – aging “gracefully” with acceptance… something to shoot for indeed!!

  5. erin

    i love this post.

    i have been thinking about this a lot in recent years, especially where you mentioned how we so quickly turn a conversation into what a person is wearing, or what their hair looks like, etc. since realizing this a few years ago, i have been intentional to NOT compliment girls on outward appearances except on rare occasions. Not because I hate saying nice things to people. Not because I don’t want them to know they are beautiful/have nice style/whatever. But because I do not want them to think that is all I care about or that it is all they should care about either! I try my very hardest to compliment on CHARACTER, and often. I work w/ jr highers and I strive to affirm them when they lovingly serve someone, or help a classmate, or whatever else it might be. Because they should know that those things matter and are worthy of affirmation.

  6. Charlene

    Rachel,
    Just again, such a nice perspective on reality… You my dear, are just so beautiful on the inside that it just exudes, oozes, and squeezes and engourages the the goodness out of others. I love your honesty, sense of humility, and the way you live your life…good going! Miss K is one lucky young lady to have your guidance. Keep up the good work!

  7. Once upon a time when I was in college, my bff was very big. Very Very. I, on the other hand, was getting chemo and weighed about 90 lbs. (at 5’9″) and looked not unlike a concentration camp victim. I was rather sensitive about my weight, or lack thereof.

    The bff and I had a fancy schmancy awards ceremony to attend in Cali, so we went dress shopping. When I exited the dressing room in one store, the clerk exclaimed, “OH! YOU LOOK SO THIN IN THAT DRESS!” in her most envious voice.

    My bff immediately responded, “Would you say ‘OH! YOU LOOK SO FAT IN THAT DRESS!’ if I came out of the dressing room?!” Then she told me to take off the dress and we left the store. She will always be my hero for that moment.

    Thin isn’t always desirable.

  8. I’ve found that it’s gets easier as I get older and so much of my appearance has gotten away from me. (Unless you have a zillion dollars and high pain tolerance, aging happens! I have neither.) Eventually you just have to shrug and give it up.

    It’s very freeing actually.

  9. awesome post.
    personally I think you’re brother said it well – you are smokin hot. not because of how you look, but for who you are!
    As a woman in the beauty industry I definitely struggle with the images it puts out there for girls and women alike. our society pretty much encourages us to dislike ourselves. sad.
    One of my favorite comments ever was,” ohh, you look great for having a __ yr. old”
    So what you’re saying is I don’t look good for my age but for having had a kid? nice.
    but so long as we have reality checks like your post I think we can make it.
    My brother gave me a book years ago – “Girls will be Girls: Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters” by JoAnn Deak a PH.D and I am re-reading it now. My baby is getting to that age where what outsiders say affect her vision of herself. I dont want that for her. My wish is that she remains confident in her independent style and spirit.
    I feel like if she sees me tackle weight and beauty in a healthy manner then she will be able to handle it the same. I wear makeup and love it. Not to be “more beautiful” but because I have a pure fascination with it and love to experiment.
    I work out and complain but I do it for my health, not necessarily my waistline.
    I look at fashion magazines because I enjoy pretty clothes, not to lament about what I don’t have ( and in some cases never will – hello Dior!!!)
    but no matter what, God made us, in HIS image and we are perfect according to Him.
    and really, His is the ONLY opinion that matters.

    *sorry I wrote a small novella on here!

  10. noelle

    great post! it’s so true how we as women are so critical of ourselves – we look at the celebrities in magazines & on tv & expect to be in that condition – plus i do have to say living in southern california doesn’t help anything!

    i have been reading books on raising a daughter in our world today – first book that i read was “raising a godly daughter in an ungodly world” and now i’m reading “5 conversations you must have with your daughter”. both books do focus on the unrealistic expectations our society places on women that affect our daughters – even as young as grade school. it also discusses how we as mothers must be sensitive to any comments we make on our weight or our appearance – since it does affect our daughters perception on how she looks – or how she should look. i’ve had to catch myself several times saying “i’m on a diet” or “that’s too fattening” – my son has noticed me saying that & has said “mom why are always on a diet? you don’t need to be” geez!! a little bit of a wake up call! so i am trying to balance things out – by showing my kids by my actions – how to eat a healthy diet & not pointing out how fattening things are all the time.
    basically take care of yourself – eat a balanced diet & enjoy life! stop worrying so much about appearance – you miss out on so many experiences! easy for me to say – tough to do – but i’m working on it!
    thanks for the post!

  11. I think about this often – I want my girls to have a healthy self-esteem and body image, and there are so many obstacles to that – not the least of which is my own concerns about my body image. Just the stories shared through some of the comments is a great reminder for moms to be vigilant in protecting our girls’ images of themselves.

  12. I couldn’t agree more… thanks for this wonderful post!
    I have a girlfriend, almost an ex-girlfriend now, because of this very problem. She is forever and constantly talking about her weight. How ugly this is, that is, and the thing is– she’s model pretty. Really! Whatever is going on in her life is what’s going on– I can hardly get a word in edgewise, but thighs always top the list!
    It is such a shame, because she has so many wonderful qualities, and she is a good person, but I can’t take the junk anymore, and trying to tell her almost exactly what your post says never has done any good– such a shame. Maybe you woke
    up some others though, with this one!

  13. Michelle Eastman

    Amen!

  14. Margo

    If men were to see the beauty of a women from the inside her heart and spirit ther would be a lot more happy men in this world!

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