Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Beauty and the Bible

1 Peter 3: 3-4:

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."

Easy enough, eh? I've been thinking about this a lot lately, namely because I seem to have let myself go. Not like, sweatpants and no make-up and showering once a week, but comparatively so. 

Remember Vandy? (Most of you probably don't.) Vandy is an epicenter of fashion, and even looking decent requires at least a well-pressed sundress and a cute headband. Looking cute would require adding a matching skinny belt and some nice expensive sandals to the mix. I totally bought into the whole thing, while trying to not buy into expensive things. It was fun getting "dressed up" for no reason, and given that the weather is pretty mild year-round, I could wear my cute, flowy things all year with some black leggings and strategic layering. Maybe I did it because of peer pressure, maybe I was trying to look cute to attract guys, or maybe I just wanted to fit in--- regardless, I looked cute and felt really good about the way I looked.

Cut to May 31, 2011. A year of teaching first grade has beat the cuteness out of my wardrobe. No sense in wearing anything nice when you're just going to get covered in play-doh and snot. And with T busy and no real friends or social life, I no longer had any occasion to get dressed up. And I didn't really think this was a problem, as I was always kind of slob before Vandy and my beauty was on the inside anyway.

And then I realized this: When I look like a slob, dressed in the same ill-fitting clothes I've had since high school, I feel like a slob and a high schooler. And this does not, at all, help me to ease the transition into adulthood, feel motivated to find a better job, or even leave the house.

I'm almost 25! I should have real clothes!!! So, I bit the bullet and decided to go shopping. And you know what? I feel good about it. I feel good about having dress pants that actually fit well. I feel good about not wearing TOMS everyday (even though I do love them). I feel good about owning some basic staples that were not under $10 from an Old Navy sale.

And in thinking about the verse above, at first I felt kind of guilty about spending money and time and thought on making myself look better. But then I realized that in a different way, if I do more good, am more outgoing, feel more confident, dress more conservatively, etc, with an updated wardrobe, than maybe I am simply appreciating and honoring the gift God has given me of this life and this body.

Maybe that seems far-fetched, but I have just really been realizing lately how much the way I feel is tied to the level of effort I put into honoring God through honoring myself. I feel better when I do yoga, I feel better when I eat well, I feel better when I am well rested, and yes, I feel better when I am dressed like the person I hope to become rather than the person I was 2 to 7 years ago. And when I feel better, I can dedicate more thought and time to becoming the gentle and quiet spirit that the Lord wants me to be.

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