Monday, May 10, 2010

Annoying Beauty

I am annoyed.

I am annoyed with Americas obsession with beauty and perfection, that I personally feel has distorted the majority of women's thinking about what True Beauty is. You might not think yourself among this majority, but give me a moment to elaborate.

Our society is programmed to give privilege to those who fit the standard of beauty. To admire beauty, and extol those who meet the standard. I know this is true in many cultures, but I don't believe that all of them have as stringent a view on beauty as we do.

Beauty in America is synonyms with a perfect figure that sports no extra fat, love handles, or cellulite. It requires perfect hair and teeth. And a good amount of s..ex appeal must be thrown into the mix. It must be flaunted. Faces should be free of flaws, zits, should be tan, but apparently without the risks of skin cancerous sun, and so money must be spent on fake tans to achieve that golden glow. Noses? Not too big or out of the ordinary.

This 'beauty' is presented to us from childhood. Even if our parents are careful with what we watch or see, we live in a society filled with the pressure of perfection.
I'm annoyed that each one of us- every single human being on this planet- is FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE according to the Word of God. And yet each one of us sees faults and imperfections in ourselves that are a part of who we are, and how we are created. We each have different hair, we carry our weight differently, we have different facial features...

I'm annoyed. Annoyed, annoyed, annoyed!
(And it's not just pregnancy hormones!)

I'm annoyed that this perception and pursuit of beauty has slunk into my heart and life, lowering my self confidence, and making me desire to be something I'm not. I'm annoyed that it tarnishes even little girls views of themselves. I'm annoyed that it drives teenage girls to diet, develop eating disorders, secretly loathe themselves, and in the less extreme but just as harmful: spend an excessive amount of time, money and effort on becoming beautiful enough.

And oh the selfishness that this breeds. The devil delights in this obsession with beauty because it requires one to dwell on ones self constantly. Maybe some wouldn't call it "trying to be beautiful" but "overcoming a fault or imperfection." No matter what we call it, we turn inward rather than turning outward as the Lord calls us. We waste excessive time on ourselves, and in the process, shortchange things that we could be doing for others and the Lord. We enter into bondage of self, and lose our freedom in Christ.

inward. Seeking opportunities to help others- the poor, the needy, the lonely.
Freedom is found in pouring out yourself for others. Finding ways to give. Cooking a meal for a family, giving financially if you are able, turning your prayers outward rather than inward.

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."
Isiah 58:6-11
Coming to an acceptance of who we are, and how we were created does not give us license to overindulge in unhealthy habits or stop pursuing healthy changes in our lives. And it doesn't give us a right to give up on our grooming in such a way that our husbands want to run right back out
the door when they arrive home. ;)
The Bible does not condemn beauty, but rather gives us a right view of beauty. First an foremost our beauty comes from within (stop groaning, I know you've heard that for years).

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised"

Proverbs 31:30

But beauty is not disallowed in scripture. Far from it! In Song of Solomon, the husband delights in the beauty of his wife, and she in her husbands beauty. Many beautiful women are mentioned in the scripture. I believe though, that beauty then and beauty now are two very different things. Beauty today is unrealistic perfection.

I don't write this to preach at you! Far from it. I'm preaching at myself. I'm pregnant, and gaining weight I don't want to gain! (laughing at self) If I complain after this baby comes that I'm not losing weight fast enough, you have a right to correct me and send me back to my own post about beauty! I struggled for years with my nose, because I felt it wasn't small enough. I have agonized about my weight going straight to my love handles, and that even when I was at my lowest weight when I was sick, they were still there! I'd have to be only skin and bones to lose them, because of my body type. And that wouldn't be beautiful at all!!

You see? Society's standards seep into even the most steadfast of minds. Let's change our hearts and minds about beauty. Let's teach our daughters the value of who they are before the world decides to teach them for us. Let's focus on others and not fall into the trap of self.

Let your light shine, for there is where your beauty is found!

In Love,



Julie Harward said...

Hi there..thanks for your visit and kindness. I love your thoughts here, I feel the same way! As for a big nose..look at Sophia Loren and beautiful women like her...that is real womanly beauty, she didn't try to fit a mold and we shouldn't either. :D

Twig said...

I totally, wholeheartedly agree!! I have fallen victim of it myself, and I hate it! It's always such a comfort to know that Christ is beauty within us, and that we can have peace in that!

Thanks for visiting my blog! I wish you could come to our market as well! We are in Northwest Montana. Right next to Kalispell. Its' a beautiful trip! I really look forward to reading more of your blog :)


Megan said...

Oh, Megan ...I could write so much. Let me say this, thank you for your amazing words. For reminding me to focus on the cross ~ and less on my imperfections.

Man, it's a trap we all fall into!

Much love to you.

Holly said...

What a great post! It's so sad that we ALL struggle with this, yet when we realize that God made us in His image, how can we complain????

Thanks for stopping by my blog...I'm excited to read more of yours!!!

Home's Where My Heart Is said...

Megan, thanks for visiting my blog today and for your kind words of encouragement.
I echo each one of your thoughts here. It is nothing but lies that is trapping women and girls into believing they are "not enough".

I will be writing much more about this topic and would love to have you visit again. I enjoy your blog and will come back and visit.
Are you in Spokane?

Thanks again,

Violet said...

Good words. And so inspiring! You are beautiful on the outside as well as inside. And I'm not just saying that cuz I'm your mom!!! Interestingly, I never ever thought you had a large nose, (and I'm not saying that cuz I'm your mom!) How we magnify what we see as imperfections! You wrote a thoughtful post about what it means to be self-absorbed, it really made me think.
xoxo ~ Mom

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Hello dear Megan! I come by way of a very wise and kind woman....VIOLET! She is a great friend of mine via blogging and I so agree with you dear. We have to search for the real beauty in us all, with all our imperfections. Everything that is ANNOYING is created by our culture, not God. What He has created, we must embrace it, but first we have to search for it, find it and then make it our own!!! Anita

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