I know this might seem obvious, but lately I have been noticing just how obsessed our world is with vanity, beauty, and outward appearances.
Like seriously friends, let’s just take a moment to pause and observe. The next time you get on Instagram, try and count the number of posts you see in two minutes by bloggers, social media influencers, and any other accounts you follow that portray what the world calls “beautiful”.
I’m not even kidding you, I tried this and my total ran all the way up to thirty posts. Yes, you heard me right. Thirty. Posts.
Isn’t it crazy how much social media puts pressure on women (and men!) to look beautiful?? Thankfully there has been a trending body image movement that encourages people to “love the skin they’re in”, but is it really working?
An article written by Psychology Today brings the fact to light that even though this message is wide-spread in magazines, “[the magazines] themselves often filled with articles on how to get a sexy summer bod, a better booty, flat abs, a tiny waist, toned arms, and the list goes on.”
This leads to a huge miscommunication about how much the world actually “cares” about self-worth, which confuses the heck out of women like me. Am I supposed to love myself for how I look right now? Or should I be “unashamed” of my curves yet still try to obtain the perfect bikini body? SOMEBODY HELP!
Friends, here is the good news: we don’t have to listen to the ever-changing opinions of our planet! We have a Father who never changes, who never stops loving us, and who is always rooting for us! How He made us, whether that’s with a speech impediment, a limp, a stutter, a “growth defect”, or anything else, was to serve a purpose. Just because the world might classify you as “ugly” doesn’t mean God does.
In light of this, I decided to look up in God’s Word what the Bible really has to say about us, how we should view ourselves, and what it doesn’t say about us. Here are three lies I found that the world feeds us that the Bible specifically contradicts to us Christians:
1. “You gotta have style… without it, you’re nobody.” [Diana Vreeland, Columnist & Editor at Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue Magazines]
First off, can I please emphasize that you are so much more than the clothes you wear?! I had to learn this the hard way, and I think we can all agree this truth can be incredibly hard to grasp for a teenage girl entering high school.
One of the hardest things I as a blogger deal with on the daily is the influence other influencers have on me. The world of social media puts up an “always competing” front, so it can be super easy for me to compare my content, feedback, and even my audience to fashion and lifestyle bloggers who have become super successful!
But friends, here’s the real truth: we have so much more value than simply how we look, dress, and interact with others! Just think about it! When God designed us, the first words out of His mouth were the following:
“Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.‘”
~ Genesis 1:26a (emphasis mine)
We were created in His image! If God truly believed that we wouldn’t have any significance, then why the HECK would He make us this way?? Check out what else God says about our worth:
“For we are God’s masterpiece.” ~ Ephesians 2:10a (NLT)
For more context, I looked up what the word “masterpiece” means to us today. Take a glance at what I found:
1) a work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship.
“a great literary masterpiece”
2) an artist’s or craftsman’s best piece of work.
“the painting is arguably Picasso’s masterpiece”
pièce de résistance, chef-d’œuvre, masterwork, magnum opus, finest/best work, tour de force”Vivaldi’s masterpiece”
The dictionary kept bringing up this idea of a masterpiece being an artist’s best work. Hear me out when I say this: you are the Father’s best work! You are never nobody, and especially not to God.
2. “Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.” [Bill Cunningham, American Fashion Photographer at The New York Times]
When was the last time you were put in a stressful situation at work and your super cute, vintage pants saved you from becoming overwhelmed?
I know that’s a totally ridiculous question, but I’m not even kidding you, that’s kind of what Bill Cunningham was trying to say in his quote.
When you come home after a crazy-tiring day just wanting to cry, hug someone, and talk about your problems, will your super soft sweater be there to comfort you?
Okay, maybe that wasn’t the best example… sweaters are awesome.
Anyway, my point is that fashion isn’t a constant; everybody knows it! What was popular when our parents were kids has found its way back around to the industry and suddenly it’s the new craze. If you take a look around, nothing in this world stays the same. So how can we lean on things like this to survive the reality of everyday life, if it itself is changing depending on that same reality?
Thankfully we serve a God who never changes:
“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind.”
~ Numbers 23:19a (NIV, emphasis mine)
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
~ Hebrews 13:8 (NIV, emphasis mine)
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
~ James 1:17 (NIV, emphasis mine)
How amazing is it that when our lives fall apart, when things are changing that we can’t control, and when we have no solid ground to stand on, we still have a rock as our guidance!
So next time you’re really struggling with how the world is treating you, don’t take Bill Cunningham’s advice. Stick to the Savior that loved you so much, He died for you and would choose to again and again for all eternity.
3. “One of the biggest misconceptions that a woman has is that a man has to accept her the way she is. No, we don’t. I don’t know who told you that. We like the bright and shiny. If you stop wearing the makeup, stop putting on nail polish, stop wearing high heels, you’ll lose us.” [Steve Harvey, American actor]
The worst part about this quote is that to some men, this is 100% true. Every time I read it, my stomach turns. It absolutely horrifies me that some people in our world elevate beauty so highly above other attributes that they use it as a weapon to manipulate, pick and choose, and filter out the “uglies” from the “pretties”.
Ladies, I’m talking to you on this one: do not allow other human beings to rope you into this nasty viewpoint. They are not worth your time.
I can’t even imagine what God must think when He hears His own creation speak damaging words such as these, when right in His Word He specifically addresses this very issue:
“Your adornment must not be merely external—with interweaving and elaborate knotting of the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or being superficially preoccupied with dressing in expensive clothes; but let it be the inner beauty of the hidden person of the heart…”
~ 1 Peter 3:3-4a (AMP)
I’ll be frank with y’all. I am so glad I don’t have to worry about pleasing the world with what I wear or how I look! God’s first priority is making sure my heart is pure, and that’s all that should matter to me.
While we can’t ever get away from the demands of looking professional at the office, keeping up appearances in front of a big-bucks client, or making sure we don’t smell like stale anything when we leave our homes every morning, we can still turn our gazes to what God says is most important: that we focus on what’s inside, stay close to Him, and let Jesus handle the rest.