Jan. 23, 2007
It seems that in this world, we are so overtly - and overly - concerned with how we look. Following is a short list of some of the primary ways we are concerned with outward appearance:
As it is the most often thought of example of outward appearance, clothes is first on my list. It seems that the 'trends' and 'fashions' - though not by any stretch of the imagination a central point in my life - still reach me. For instance, when I have that sneaking desire to wear jeans when I know there might be teens around - 'just cuz', or when you really 'want' to wear the little flouncy skirt instead of the long flowing dress that you really feel pretty in - 'cuz you know she won't wear that to church' - those are the toughest times to control our love of 'fitting in'. I've been trying lately - when I have those urges to wear something that isn't bad in itself, but fosters a feeling of having to be fashionable - to wear something else. The fuzzy blue pants that aren't quite so tight, while looking quite nice and neat and even pretty, and which perhaps aren't quite as trendy as the girl next door's, would be a better choice to keep our notorious feelings of 'fitting in' from getting out of hand.
For those of us who love prettiness - wear a dress! Goodness knows they're extremely hard to find, but when you do find one (Like the one I got for $3 on E-bay!), and you put it on, brush your hair, pinch your lips and stand in front of the mirror to twirl around; you feel an immediate sense of beauty and loveliness and feel perfectly free and happy - at least I do. I believe that when we wear dresses and skirts, we begin to comport ourselves with more grace and lady-like manners. As Anna Naomi on Maidens of Worth (www.maidensofworth.blogspot.com) was mentioning, wearing dresses doesn't mean you can't romp around and have fun and be silly and 'childish', but you all-around feel better. I often wear pants for a lack of dresses and a dislike of pantyhose, but I am learning to sew, and I have discovered the joy of knee-high socks!!!
The second on the list is Make-up. Being a topic of much conversation between parent and daughter around 13, this must be addressed. When I was 12, I began wearing a little mascara - without telling anyone the first time or two I must add, until my Mother noticed and told me it was alright for me to wear it once in a while. Then I wanted 'just a little more'. The eyeshadow was allowed for play, and then 'once in a while'. Then I got a make-up kit from my Parents for my 14th birthday, which included some nail polish - which I'd always been allowed to wear, but rarely did - some mascara, eyeshadow, blush and some 'lip gunk' as I like to call it. :) I wore most of it for a few months. Then the blush came off, and then the eyeshadow, and then the mascara, and now, I only wear 'lip gunk' every so often, mostly using chapstick or the like to moisten my lips. I can wear any make-up I want save skin toner, but I now wear practically nothing except for very very special occasions. I must say it is extremely liberating. I cry very easily and would often find myself choking back the tears simply because then I would have black streaks down my face, or I'd rub one eyelid only to realize I rubbed all the eyeshadow off, and end up rubbing it off the other eye to make it even. I felt silly - and I must have looked silly too, a lot of the time. Quickly taking up many minutes a day, and making me very self-concious, I began to feel as if I wasn't pretty without it. When I eased it off, and started wearing virtually no make-up, I actually started to feel prettier. I was letting my natural God-given beaty shine through, and I felt I could get closer to him, and I think he likes that.
Hair hasn't been too much of a concern for me, however I did think over getting it cut a little more 'trendy' a while back. I now have my long hair slightly layered at the front to add a little 'flounce', and I really like it, but I don't need anymore! Purple hair looks silly on a pretty girl - why waste money on the bottle? Feeling pretty and having one's hair set in a nice braid or hair-clip is quite nice, and sufficient for anyone. If God gave you lovely red locks, why straighten them or cut it all off? I'm all for fun short hair-dos, if they are not time-wasters - taking time away from things that need doing or a quiet time with Jesus - go for it and enjoy! Please, though, consider letting it hang and be pretty, leaving it long so that when you run into the wind you can feel the lovely breeze pulling it off your face. That is the most beautiful, pretty feeling. Thank you Jesus for giving me a fine head of hair to enjoy and not obsess about!
One's attitude is most defineately part of their outward appearance. We can be greatly influenced by the world around us as to what kind of attutude we should have. Lately, the teen attitude has been saying: "Who cares? I don't. Let's be boring and un-interesting, and sullen." Why? Because that is what the media and the black butchy hair and the ragged jeans and tight slit tops are telling them. I most certainly care if I have a hole in my pants, yet you can buy jeans premade like that. If "your attitude...[is]...like that of Christ Jesus" (Phillipians 2:5), you will shine for him, you will serve others for him, you will only 'not care' in the sense that you don't care if everyone in the whole world knows that you love Jesus and are going to serve him the rest of your life, and you don't care if that bothers someone. That is an attitude that Christ holds dear. You may wonder what I mean when I say that facial expression is a matter of great importance in our society, but please; walk into a fashion clothing store and watch the dead, bored, sullen, un-interested faces of the teenagers within. There is a message which is being given whether they know it or not. "I don't care about anybody." What an awful thought! The many who call themselves part of this rising generation actually have no interest whatsoever in the fact that you or your friend, or their friend, or the entire world, might be hurting. It simply doesn't matter to them. As you might inadvertantly copy these faces, you demonstrate that message to the world too, even if you don't mean to say it. Smiling and laughing or at least looking alert and interested will cause people to look twice and possibly to notice the different kind of person you are. Here is a perfect springboard for witnessing!
The word 'Religion' is tossed about much in our modern society. I've even heard someone deliberatley say: "Oh, I'm so glad I'm not tied down by religion, and that I can do whatever I want." This is another direct link to the 'I don't care' syndrome. (IDCS! :-) If you can prove to the world by the way you dress, and your attidute, and the way you carry your person that the 'religion' that you are 'tied to' is a faith of great freedom and love and joy - you can glow like the first evening star and cause others to be interested in who and what you stand for. On the other hand if you proclaim that your 'religion' is Christianity, and yet you dress immodestly, and look sullen and appear to have the IDCS (I Don't Care Syndrome), no one around you is going to be particularly drawn to this 'Jesus' that you speak of.
Shine for your Saviour! Shed the old ways of sullen faces and disrespectful attitudes to proclaim your love for Jesus without saying a word! Prove to our sad world that there is a better way to live - something worth far more than 'fitting in' to the latest fashions and trends - and that that way is to follow Christ!