Somehow I survived my high school years (probably because I was homeschooled) without feeling too greatly the weight of the world's expectations of women, but I am feeling it now. I haven't written a journal entry in almost a year so this is something I need to share.
A while ago I stopped wearing makeup, though i suppose I never really started. When I was about 20 I got a full makeup set for Christmas, even being able to pick it all out. I was complemented on it, but I wasn't sure I liked how I looked. Because my skin is rather pale I looked strange being evenly pale.
When I realized that that stuff soaks into your skin and isn't very healthy for your body (though I don't actually know what it does or could do to you) I decided not to buy any more. Yet every day I feel the pressure of the world to wear makeup. Everyone is wearing it. And how much they are done up seems to be on the rise.
I was raised to be unconventional--to think for myself. A part of me wants to fit in, to be up to par with other women. But another part of me feels that would be throwing out my principles. I believe women are beautiful as they are. I believe that God loves us despite what we consider flaws. I don't believe we need to cover ourselves with cosmetics to prove we are worth something. The Bible says "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." (1 Peter 3:3-4) This is not saying we should not braid our hair or wear pretty clothes, but that it is more important that we spend time on fixing up our inward selves.
For me wearing makeup makes me feel better. But I don't know that I want to rely on an ever-increasing number of products to make myself feel worthy of love. Did you know my name means "Worthy of Love"? I am worthy of love because God decide it should be so. He died to make it so. "Maybe she's born with it"? Actually, I am born with it. I was born with beauty because I know a beautiful God who doesn't make ugly things. It's just that sin mars our perceptions. "The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." - 1 Sam. 16:7
We feel we need to be everything the world tells us to be: made up, thin, tall, sophisticated in fashion, etc.--to be loved not just by our peers, but by men. We feel we will just be passed over if we don't measure up. That somehow that one for us will think twice when he sees what kind of woman he's getting. Ladies, this is not true! Don't listen to the lies of the devil that condemn us, saying we'll never be good enough, that no one will ever love us. I was once told that if I didn't lose weight I would never get married. Eventually I lost 50 pounds, but not to be worthy of someone's love. I wanted to better my own life.
Sometimes I feel bad about how I dress. Chucks are my favorite kind of shoes. They are super comfy and go with almost everything. I rarely dress up because I lack the figure and the means to look good. I am more comfortable in jeans and a dressy top than I am in anything else. But I have felt self-condemnation and unworthiness because, supposedly, 26-year-olds don't dress like that! I need to wear boots with heels, have my hair not only well-trimmed but dyed and pinned up. I need to wear huge earrings and gaudy necklaces. Someone of my age should be so much more sophisticated. But you know what? That's not me. I don't fit in with people like that not because I need to get my act together but because I was made differently. My style is simply different, but I feel like a teenager because I'm so dressed down. There's a shirt that I love with stars on it that was handed down to me. I think my friend wore it in high school. But who cares? It's so incredibly me that I still wear it.
Just yesterday I bought a pair of skinny jeans to go with these boots I haven't been able to wear. When I tried them on with chucks and saw how "in" the look is, I couldn't help but be excited. Same with my double-breasted coat because it was the most stylish coat I have ever had. believe me, I know how difficult it is to go your own way when people are saying you have to conform! "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." - Romans 12:2
I am worthy of love because I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14
) by a God who values the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.