Monday, June 30, 2014

The Selfie



Self-esteem.  Positive self-image.  Confidence.  ...How do you define it?
The culture's idea of beauty?  A thin body or a specific number on a scale?  Having clear skin?  Being taller?  What you consider prettier facial features?  Straight or curly hair?
It is sad the great emphasis our world places on the outward appearance.  With the obsession people have over the latest fashion trends, diet fads, and People Magazine's Most Beautiful People, we become disillusioned with life if we look different or do not measure up to society's standards for what is attractive (which is ironic, given celebrities have makeup artists, clothing and hair stylists, and the ability to afford plastic surgery - which I do NOT recommend).  It is pointless to think we can achieve the same results in our average, day to day lives.
Add to this the wonder of technology today and its ability to erase every flaw, photo-shop a person's figure to take away any scars, extra weight, and cellulite, and it isn't surprising to realize people in real life are not perfect.
There are many videos on YouTube and different web sites designed specifically for perfecting your makeup routine or learning how to style your hair like the latest model.  And while enhancing your natural beauty, it is not the real you.  What I mean is, there are makeup tutorials that show how to apply makeup to the point where your facial features look altered and can appear smaller or reshaped in ways.  This isn't how you look in real life though.  ...and that is the irony of Hollywood and celebrities.  That isn't the real them and yet we as a society have been fooled into thinking we can somehow attain this if we just had the money or if we were just born beautiful.
I am all for looking our best, wearing nice clothing and being fashionable.  It is fine to enhance our God-given beauty by styling our hair, maintaining our weight through healthy food and consistent exercise (and drinking plenty of water, taking good quality vitamins, and getting proper amount of sleep), wearing makeup, etc. yet we should not get so caught up in how we appear externally that we neglect the growth and edification of our inner lives/heart/mind/desires/goals through spiritual growth, renewing our minds through the reading and application of God's word (Romans 12: 2), and growing in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22-23).
I have found it to be true in my own life (mainly when I was an adolescent) that trying to maintain a perfect outward appearance while my soul is literally rotting and I am living in sin actually defeats the purpose of trying to appear attractive.  Even though I looked pretty, I was always conscious of my struggles and wanted to suppress my guilt and problems in life by masking them through looking good.  I wasn't right inside, I wasn't right with God, and I had no real concept of worthwhile character and inner beauty, so I figured that appearing attractive on the outside would get me somewhere - especially with guys.
I am thankful God grabbed hold of me and has transformed my life and perspective since then.  Looking attractive physically is a plus, but it is not everything.  If you are going to base your self-worth and acceptance by others merely on how you look, you will end up empty and disappointed.  Relationships and the pursuit of a career require much more than being attractive.  Character is key.
Whether it is being in a relationship or simply receiving attention when you are around others, how far will your appearance get you when aging occurs or health fades?  If we base our self-worth on how we look, while slacking off with pursuing growth character-wise, we will be upset if our appearance changes.

What character qualities and habits do you admire in others?  What is it about them (regardless of the way they look) that causes you to view them in a high light and desire to emulate specific aspects of their character?
Now, what character qualities and habits do you wish were so in your own heart and life?  What steps can you take to pursue growth in such ways and begin working on who you are internally (the heart; which equates who you are in total as a person) and growing spiritually?

God is the only One who can truly make us beautiful from the inside out.  Pursue Him passionately with your whole heart.  The Lord is able to transform our lives, desires, longings, attractions, and the messy ways about our character that we just cringe at and wish were different.  Commit everything to Him and pray daily (even by the hour) that God would change you.  Truly change you!

Mighty, able, powerful, and faithful is He!


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