Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

One of my favorite Nashville authors and bloggers, Shellie R. Warren, posted the following entry that she gave me permission to re-post. I wanted to do so to remind my own readers of the importance of not comparing yourself to others, especially when it comes to your beauty, your body, or your style. It serves as a reminder that you are uniquely made and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Embrace this message and mentality as you bring 2013 to a close and welcome in 2014!


"Who Said 'It' Was IMPERFECT?"
I'm *so over it*. "It" being the discussion of (or is it obsession with?) women talking about their imperfections. First of all, I tend to find the whole "What is the perfect woman?" discussion about as, let's say "odd" as what I hear a lot of people talk about in fashion. Truly, I am amazed that a group of people can tell a world of other people "what's in or what's not" and people will actually go for that. If plaid is "in," they're running to the store. If plaid is "out," they're throwing away all of that plaid that they just bought last season. It especially mystifies me being that some of the people in that smaller group (and I won't say any names-LOL) tend to look *a hot mess*. (To me, anyway.)

It's not that I don't appreciate fashion. It's that I'm not a slave to it.

You shouldn't be a slave to any human being. Or industry. (I Corinthians 7:26)

Personally, I look at fashion like I look at art. It's subjective and at the end of the day, people should look for what brings out the best in them and what they enjoy. If you don't know what that is, hire a stylist. But don't be pressured to dress a certain way just because others do. That's not being *fashionable*. That's being a *follower*. And the women who have always stood out to me are the ones who have their own signature *style* anyway.

And the more "settled into myself" I become, that's exactly what I think about beauty.

I remember back in my modeling days, when I was in the single digits size-wise, I was basically obsessed with my teeth. And not in a good way. I have an overbite, two of my teeth on the bottom are pushing the two teeth in front of them and one of my teeth up top is slightly crooked and has two enamel lines on it. Honestly, when I look in the mirror, I see my mother's eyes, my grandmother's nose and my father's mouth---teeth and lips. And that would make sense being that all of those people are in my DNA.


Because I went to school with girls who had "perfect teeth." I wanted some. When I would ask my mother about getting braces, she would always look at me like "Huh? Why?" and I would roll my eyes (you know...when she wasn't looking-LOL) and think "Of course *you* don't get it. You have perfect teeth...and you're my mother! Even possums' mothers think their babies are cute."

It wasn't until I was working with a married photography team out of New York that my perspective started to change a bit. When I told them that I wanted braces, the wife said "Please don't do that. It will ruin your smile. On top of that, a lot of people don't realize that braces can oftentimes alter the structure of their face. It's a lot of money to spend on something that may not turn out the way you want it to."

Some of the things that we try to do will alter ourselves. In a way we don't really want. Hmph.

At 39, I have absolutely no desire for braces. Now, this is certainly not to knock the people who have them or have had them, but it's simply that I don't see my teeth as a "flaw" anymore. And to tell you the truth, I'm not sure that I ever really did. What I did do was *compare* myself to others and when you do that, you can never really be sure if you see the beauty within in an authentic way.

Envying or coveting or yenning someone else's looks for one thing is something that we're told in the Bible to not do (Exodus 20:17) yet secondly, it's a lot like looking into a trick mirror at a county fair. It alters your perception to where you can't really see if you truly accept yourself. Or not. You're so busy looking at yourself in comparison to someone else that it's hard to trust your thoughts about your identity. Or physicality. Or definition of true and lasting beauty.

This causes you to start seeing things as "flaws" that really should not be *flaws* at all. I mean, being that a flaw is "an imperfection, defect, or blemish," when you really stop to think about it, isn't that also subjective? You might hate the freckles on your face while others love them. You might wish you had long curly hair while you're always being complemented on your short do. You might want to have bigger breasts or a small butt while your future husband finds women with a petite figure or a large butt to be sexy.  My point is that there's a pretty good chance that you don't really know what you think an "imperfection" is because you're so busy sizing yourself up next to others who, ironically, are probably doing the exact same thing. Whew! All of these people trying to look perfect and no one really knowing what "perfect" is.

And if someone is about to say Halle Berry, please spare me. She's beautiful to many people. But she's been left by men just like the rest of us. Something, somewhere still ain't that "perfect."
My PSA for today is this:  we've really got to get to a place where we can see ourselves and others just as God sees us - *individually*. That's part of the reason why I'm so in love (literally) with Psalm 33:15. To have our hearts fashioned (*fashioned*) individually, this means that the Godhead put some real time and thought into each of us. And if you read Genesis 1:31, you'll see that it says that after God made everything, He saw that it was *very good*.

All of us are *very good*. It doesn't matter what the world says. The world is jacked up and very lust and pride-filled (I John 2:16), remember? What matters is what *He* thinks and it's not like God set out and said "Let Me make some flawed people." Remember that Deuteronomy 32:4 tells us that all (ALL) of God's ways are perfect. Some of us need to go to Him about *His definition of perfection* rather than our own.

So today, I encourage you to try and look at your "flaws" as being *very good* and to CELEBRATE THAT. To stop basing perfection on what someone else looks like and to pamper/dress up/relish in your individuality. God made us individuals for a reason and a purpose, he makes no mistakes and so it's time to stop looking at our own distinctiveness as being "imperfect."

I prefer to see it as unique, signature, "just the way God made me and so it's ALL good" instead.

Shellie R. Warren

Thank you Shellie for letting me re-post this!

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