Monday, March 24, 2014

Oompa Loompas and Tour Guide Barbie

We women are odd creatures.  I say this because we seem to sometimes feel the need to reinvent ourselves into something we are not.  This is most often evident during times of stress, life changes or even a sudden realization that we have aged before we feel ready.  How many times have you seen a woman who is approaching an age milestone, particularly 40 or 50, suddenly start coloring their hair, dressing too young,  trying Botox or visiting a tanning bed?  These changes wouldn't be so bad if tanning beds didn't render us as orange as an Oompa Loompas and the Botox didn't cause us to permanently have vacant Tour Guide Barbie expressions on our faces.  But even younger women fall prey to this inner need to shake up their image, more often than not by either dressing inappropriately for their age or just plain inappropriately by over-sexualizing themselves. 

The flip side to these transformations is that there are those who seem to get locked into a certain style or look and never seem to be able to escape no matter what their age and are clinging to something temporal, making them look equally ridiculous.  Imagine if my husband, at his present age of 58, had fallen victim to this trap and was  still sporting a fringed leather jacket and bell bottom jeans!  How ridiculous that would look!  And yet, we are often guilty of the same things and the only ones fooled are ourselves. 

Since we are often unaware that we ourselves are guilty of the same things that we laugh at in others, how can we combat this?  I could point you to some fun and educational propaganda films from the 1940's and 1950's or give you a list of hard and fast rules, but I would not bind the heart where Scripture does not.  Instead I point us toward Scripture. :

   Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.  I Peter 3:3-4

 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. I Timothy 2:9-10

When we look in the mirror, what do we see?    Are we dressed respectably, with modesty and self-control or are we focused on extravagance?  Do we even think about these verses when we are updating our wardrobes or image?  Refocus your heart on developing a gentle and quiet spirit and you will be developing a timeless beauty that is always age and life station appropriate.  Be who God has called you to be and not some image that Hollywood or Madison Avenue advertising says we should be.  Embrace where God has you in life and find your security in Him alone during turbulent times of your life.  Does that mean you shouldn't buy that new handbag or get your hair cut?  That's not for me to say.  What I am saying is we each need to evaluate where we are in our present life and ask ourselves whose image do we desire to reflect and does what we're wearing  or how we're behaving properly represent that?  For some of us, this is something we need to re-evaluate often because it is all too easy to be sucked in to the world's ideal of what we should look like because we are bombarded with it night and day.  It may difficult for us to discern when we've over stepped our bounds.  We may be tempted to ask our friends the stereo-typical, "does this make me look fat?"  Instead, we should probably choose someone whose character we admire and ask them, do I look appropriate?  Am I presenting myself in a way that honors God? If we have developed that gentle and quiet spirit, we will be receptive to God's leading in this. Sola dei Gloria!