One of my good friends reminded me the other day of something I said to her once. It went something like, “When we get to heaven and God is rewarding us for a job well done, He isn’t going to be interested in our dress size or how toned we are or whether our thighs are too fat.”
I still believe this. Can you imagine the Lord God caring about some of these things that we think are so important? And does He really have an “ideal” size or shape He wants us all to achieve? Apparently not, because He made us all to be so different from one another.
But having said that, I’m not denying that we should want to be fit and healthy so we can serve the Lord and enjoy ourselves while we are doing it. But in our health-crazed culture, I’m not sure we know what that means. It is so easy to become obsessive about how we look. What is the price we pay to keep up with an image in our head? Or, how much do we beat ourselves up if we are not matching up to that image in our head?
Jesus said if we love Him, we will obey His commands. And what are those commands? That we love God and love our neighbor as ourself. Dieting and exercise have their place, but women can easily become ensnared either by achieving their goal or by failing to achieve it. It can be a snare and a trap either way. We need to look away from ourselves and get busy with all the good stuff God has given us to do.
And no, I’m not suggesting Christian women throw in the towel and just get dumpy. Far from it. I believe that when we are set free to love God and love our neighbor, we are far more inclined to have a balanced view about all these things. Christian women, of all women on earth, have the capacity for the most loveliness, hands down. And why? Because they are forgiven, and they don’t carry around a load of guilt. And that is a beauty product that cannot be found behind a counter.
Our immodest culture is rigged against the Christian woman. Let’s face it: the goal is to look fabulous with not very much on. That’s what all the magazine covers are promoting anyway. And, truth be told, not many of us would pass the test by a long shot. There’s the disadvantage. But we have another standard, a modest standard. And here’s the advantage: We can be and look beautiful, whatever size we are, in modest dress, even though we would look just awful in the swimsuit that girl is modeling on the magazine cover. She is not and cannot be our standard. She is immodest.
So we can’t meet up to our culture’s standards because they want us to take off our clothes and pass their test of beauty. No thanks. But we can meet the Lord’s standards of beauty and modesty and a sweet spirit to go with it. Thank you very much! This is what we need to keep our minds and hearts fastened to, and not what an immodest culture dictates.
(I just noticed that my husband has a review of the Vaughans’ book, The Beauty of Modesty, here at the Canon Press website. Check it out!)