Five weeks ago, I started my second annual summer vanity fast. Woo hoo!
Not vanityfest mind you, . . . . vanity FAST! (a very important distinction, indeed)
What is a vanity FAST, you might ask? Instead of giving up food, I am giving up makeup for five weeks. Vanity is an area of my life that I have a hard time surrendering to God.
‘What’s the big deal about not wearing makeup?’ you might ask. Well, makeup is a very big deal for me! Vanity has been a stronghold in my life. I know it. God knows it.
I have depended too much on my looks for confidence and power.
The unassailable fortifications of your walls He will bring down, Lay low and cast to the ground, even to the dust. Isaiah 25:12 (NIV)
I write this blog post about beauty and identity because I know that I am not alone. What woman isn’t to some degree affected by her perception of beauty? I don’t know any.
We must bring this important issue to light.
Light exposes the true character of everything. Ephesians 5:13 (GOD’S WORD® Translation)
The messy entanglements of beauty and identity are pervasive in our culture. Too many women are slaves to beauty. We were not created for bondage. We were created for freedom!
Although we were made beautiful and acceptable through the blood of the Lamb, somewhere along the way, we were deceived.
I believe there are four deceptions of beauty. I will address the first two deceptions in Part 1. The second and third deceptions are in Part 2. And Part 3 is a challenge.
1. Vanity can become self worship
Every year, as summer approaches and the t-shirts come out, I remember how white and hairy my arms are. Yep, I said it, . . . . white and hairy! Ugh!
I look at other women, and they have smooth, beautiful, hairless arms. Can it be that I am the only hairy one?! And, I don’t go to the tanning salon, so until mid-June I am pretty pasty. It really bothers me. I feel ugly, ugly, hairy and white!
I don’t wax my eyebrows. At any given moment I could have a rogue, unplucked eyebrow hair out of place . . . . scandalous!! I refuse to get my eyebrows waxed because it’s one more thing. And, I don’t need one more thing to do for vanity!
Don’t get me wrong, I do normally wear make up. I do color my hair, and love it! (Nice ‘N Easy 98 baby!) And I do occasionally lay out in the sun.
However, I refuse to wax my eyebrows, shave my arms (not armpits – I’m not a savage!), paste on fake eyelashes, and go to a tanning salon. I know that if I give in to one more of these beauty rituals I will be worshiping the big ‘V’. . . . Vanity!
And, let’s just call it what it is . . . . it’s worshiping myself!
We all have to draw our line in the sand!
Satan would love for me to take my eyes off of Christ and stare adoringly in the mirror for hours. What better idol is there than . . . . ME?!! And, if I have enough ‘beauty’, I can get other people to worship me too!
After all, according to the late Whitney Houston, the greatest love of all is inside of ME!!
Me, me, me!! It’s all about me! . . . wait a minute! That’s not right! It’s all about Him. It’s all about God and bringing HIM glory.
I’m on to you, Satan!
Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:14
2. Vanity is a distraction
Have you heard of fiber lashes? Or, eyelash extensions? A friend was selling these products a while back. I remember thinking, ‘If I use these products I will probably be more beautiful.’ However, I knew then as I know now, God doesn’t want me to be more beautiful. He wants me to be more like Him.
As a Godly woman, beauty is not the end goal, holiness is. Holiness in us brings glory to God. Yet, how much time do we spend focused on our vanity every day verses focused on our holiness?
He has saved us and called us to a holy life. 2 Timothy 1:9
I am a writer and work from home. One day a week I wear my best clothes, paint my toenails, and do my hair. It’s Sunday. For church I get all ‘dolled’ up. Instead of ‘come as you are’ I feel like it’s ‘roll out the red carpet’. It sometimes feels like a fashion show. And I feel as though I have to measure up.
Am I thinking about God and preparing myself for worship as I head to church? Not so much. Has vanity distracted me from truly being the church? Yes. God, forgive me.
We must ask ourselves . . . .
Is our beauty distracting us from the ultimate beauty of an amazing God? Are we missing the freedom He offers us because we are too busy being slaves to beauty?
We must surrender our beauty to God and stop wasting time obsessing over it.
And trust me, I know that it is easier said than done.
The second and third deceptions of beauty are discussed in Part 2.