I remember this Hardees commercial quite a while ago where some woman wearing very small clothes was riding a mechanical bull eating a very large hamburger. It actually gave me quite the chuckle; because I’m sure she probably went back to the ladies room to purge herself of that one bite in between takes. It was such an unrealistic portrayal of a woman who it was too ridiculous to even be offended at. Sadly, it’s another societal standard that I will never be able to live up to. If I’m eating Hardees hamburgers, I’m probably not going to be wearing “daisy dukes”. If I’m riding a mechanical bull it’s even less likely that I’ll be sporting short shorts or able to stay on it long enough to bite on anything. This is the message that sells however and, unfortunately, women today are held up to unrealistic standards that media uses to sell. Look around. Air-brushed models are on every magazine stand. TV shows, commercials and music videos all set a standard of a certain size, shape, and appearance that most of us won’t meet on a good day. It’s hard for us to step back as a culture and see the irrationality of our own standards of beauty so let’s take a look at other cultures.
An oval-shaped head in Egypt used to be the rage and instead of waiting for high school for one of those, parents had the forethought of molding their infants’ heads while they were pliable. Up until the past couple of generations, the Chinese admired a small foot, in fact, the smaller the better. Never mind the pain that young girls endured and that their foot bound for years looked no more than a club with toes. Everyone admires a graceful long neck, and in Southeast Asia, it’s no different. In fact, girls would apply gold coils around their necks for years until the right length was achieved, up to 18 inches. I could keep going, but you get the point.
These all seem pretty extreme and even grotesque in our own views, but how would we look from the outside looking in? We practically starve ourselves at times or go on crazy diets. We endure surgical procedures for noses, and other various body parts. We ingest chemicals or apply them on our skin, or hair for the sake of defying our less desirable features. Really, are we that more refined? My point isn’t to put these things down. We should take pride in how we present ourselves to others. We should all pursue health and well-being, after all our bodies are temples. Is our value based on whether or not we are able successfully meet society’s standards of beauty through these customs? Why should we measure our self-worth according to these standards? If we compare ourselves to unrealistic standards we are bound to feel worthless. If we compare ourselves to each other, we are bound to feel insignificant. It not only leads to our own self demise, but it also leads to jealousy, suspicion, and dislike of other females. How is this fit into being a Godly Christian woman? It doesn’t. It only hurts ourselves and when we hurt ourselves, the rest of the Body cannot function properly.
I want to challenge all your gals out there who love the Lord to really pursue to know just how He views you and to accept the fact that He made you a woman who, right there, already makes you beautiful. Let me encourage you to look up the following scriptures and as you do, keep these thoughts in mind.
Psalm 139:13-16 This is an awesome reminder of just how God carefully created us AND that even though our circumstances and life experiences have influenced or even altered our lives, God has the final say so in the women that we are to be, if we just let Him have His way in us.
Isaiah 45:10-12 Who are we to question God’s perfect design for our lives?
Romans 8:15-17 This passage describes us as heirs of God. We are not only created, but through Christ we were adopted into God’s kingdom. That’s right, we are princesses.
So apply your make-up and don your high heels, or put on those torn jeans and t-shirts. It doesn’t define your worth one way or another. What matters is that you understand your value as a child of God and that you value your sisters’ worth as well. Not comparing you to them, but celebrating each other’s differences; exhorting each other to be the women that God created us to be as the unique and wonderful creations that we are. It is time that we step out not as shrinking orphans but shining princesses that allow God to be glorified through us. People won’t be able to help, but notice.