Was chatting to my house mate Ruth last night after her cell group. They had been having a discussion about Christian attitudes to clothes, make up and image.
Both of us felt challenged and convicted a bit by the whole thing and we realised that it has been a long time since we questioned ourselves or checked how free we are in this area.
I realise that I rarely ever leave the house without make up. I realise that I feel in a better mood when I look good. I realise that I love it when people tell me I look nice and also I have realised that, without noticing it, I am competitive with other girls-even my friends about how I look. If I go out for the night and one of my friends looks more attractive or gets more attention than me it bugs me! I don't even realise this all most of the time but when I really think about it these issues are present. I'd probably feel that a guy would like me less if he saw me "just the way I am"
To compensate for all these fears I strive.
I have some dinners and weddings coming up soon. Trying to find an outfit was like trying to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. What will no one else have? How can I turn heads? How can I be noticed? Me me me me me me me me ....
Does all of this just lead to self obsession? I was thinking about when I was at school. No fashion sense, bad skin, awful hair and about 2 sizes bigger than I am now, yet, I was happier with myself. I never gave diets or make up a second thought. Maybe I was more beautiful then in the real way.
This is an issue that as Christians we need to tackle. I have tried to exaggerate my experience, mentioning things that I would never notice unless I made myself reflect. While a hint of this exists I cant feel the fullness of the freedom that Jesus offers me.
I lead a cell group of 16 year old girls in church. How can I lead them in this if I am struggling myself.
Ruth and I being as intense as we are got really into this at ungodly hours of the night! We started to talk about how we decide on what to wear each day. Often it is about-do I look fat in this? Lets be honest for most of us it is about how what we see in the mirror matches with what we have been conformed to believe is "hot" or "not".
I remember nights in our house when none of us wanted to go out somewhere because we had "nothing to wear"or "in an ugly mood". Surely to embrace life and to spend time with people is more important than how we look. We live in a dirty, dying and broken world. What if we cared as much about it as we do about how we look.
On the other hand I believe that it is a good thing to respect and look after yourself. I like to try to make the best of myself and to enjoy being feminine. As in everything there must be a line, probably an individual and personal one and yet a difficult one to find.
Why do I wear make up?...To hide my insecurities? To attract attention? To feel more beautiful? to enjoy being girly? For me? For others?....For God?
I honestly don't know but this is the only sort of conclusion that I can come to on this right now...
When the source of the tree is a good stream the fruit is lush and the fruit tastes sweet. When we are in the right place we radiate God. At these times make up and nice clothes can be a complementary elements in helping us reflect and celebrate the beauty within.
We glow- not just the blusher and lip gloss but we really mean it!
When we are sourced in ourselves the stream gets contaminated. The fruit may look o.k but it doesn't taste good.We can be all dolled up and yet no sparkle, no joy. The world is sexy but it doesn't sparkle.
How can we be truly beautiful, sexy and living in God's will? All are good. It just goes sour when our body is the focus and when it controls the state of our mind and spirit. Surely it should be in the reverse order.
This is a tough one. As soon as you feel free in this you can end up back at square one again. Sorry for my brutal honesty but I am challenged to try and work on this.
Boys you're not exempt but I'm aware that this post must be like the blogger equivalent of a virgin vie party...