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…
“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.”
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.