Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Worrying About Appearances: Is It Glorifying to God?

I think we've all wondered it. Should I take time off from Facebook or Instagram? Is this going to my head? Should I snail-mail it for my next birth announcement to my fifty aunts and cousins? Am I addicted to flattery, or worse, am I mucking around in vainglory?

And the ultimate question, of course, is:

Is it glorifying to God to show off our cute outfits?

Sometimes I wonder this question aloud to myself while reading fashion -and all sorts of other- blogs. We now have a culture in the blogging world (maybe a subculture? Call it what you will...) of link-ups, where in many cases, the primary purpose is to show off a flattering outfit.

I think that fashion is a fun thing. It can be fun to find something flattering and hip, to boot. 

BUT. Yes there is a but. ;) But vainglory is hypocrisy, and no I do not think it is glorifying to God (at all).

Stop whatever you are doing {STOP}, and go watch this TED talk by Lizzie Velasquez. Do you know who Lizzie Velasquez is? She has a condition, or syndrome, where she is unable to gain weight. When she talks about her parents' love, you will feel a deep sense of gratitude. When you hear her story from the first day of Kindergarten, you might cry or cringe. When you hear how she has been bullied over the years, you might for sure cry.* When you hear what keeps her going, you will certainly be inspired.

I think what this TED talk helps me to remember above all is this: We need to stop putting so much weight and worth in our appearance. We need to fill less brain space with "what should I wear," and more with "how can I serve God and others today?"  When something becomes an idol (and anything can), it becomes a god in our life.  Looking cute to others, and worrying about our appearance, quickly turns into idolatry, because it is made up of the stuff of comparison. And more importantly, we are HUMAN SOULS. Those with Downs, or Zika, or cleft palate, birth defects, or a syndrome making it impossible to gain weight, I'm sure have particularly beautiful souls, in the eyes of God. God loves these souls he created!!!!!

Maybe this starts to happen when we spend too much time at the Mall. Who knows. But when we start to compare ourselves to others- what kind of house do they have, what kind of shoes do they wear, what kind of clothes are their kids wearing (???), our thoughts and our hearts aren't glorifying God any more. We are overtaken by envy, by pride, and by a lack of self-control. When I hear bloggers say, "Take a look at X blogger, she is way cuter than me!" I have a HUGE pity party for that person, because she is DOWNRIGHT WRONG.  First off, maybe get a cuter outfit or shirt and stope comparing. Shed a few pounds??? (if we are talking shallow?!) Don't say she's cuter, etc. Stop envying other people their cute figure, their cute appearance, their cute shoes, and think of Lizzie.  Think of what she said about the first day of Kindergarten. She said, "I'm a cool kid. That person is really missing out."

We need to remember that while in our minds, appearance might seem to be the crucial, the most important thing in the world (Blame it on all of those Disney princesses), a lot of people are struggling with their weight, or with money, or with jealousy of another blogger who seems to have it all together.  And it is a deeply serious issue. That's all based on appearances. What is really important?


Are you perpetuating these things? If not, then you need to take a very LONG look in the mirror. You need to ask yourself some very HARD questions.

Don't you think that, upon contemplation, it is good that we have people like Lizzie to remind us of what truly matters? And at the end of the day, isn't it love? I think it reminds us of the kind of love her parents showed her; the kind of love that is unconditional. She is talking about acceptance at school, and issues like that. But I'm talking about even more serious problems, like marital issues. We have had our share of struggles, and let me tell you: the war against sin is a real battle. When you heard the words of Scripture, "He has clothed me with the garment of salvation," make sure that that is what you're clothed with and are clothing yourself with. If it is vanity, that will not produce good fruit.  If it is humility, then we can share something. If it is not, then we cannot. We need COMMUNITY, not jealousy; we need generosity, not selfishness; we don't need shows about dresses- we need shows not about dresses. ;)

*Someone posted a picture of her online and called her "The ugliest person alive," and just like that, as if she were not a real, actual human being, someone commented and said, "Put a gun to your head, and shoot yourself." Now, I want you to look in the mirror. If you had a baby with a syndrome, would you put a gun to that baby's head and shoot?  She is a person. A beautiful human being with an eternal soul that, as far as I know, belongs to God. There is never any excuse whatsoever for murdering that which is precious and created by our Creator.

And if you don't believe in a Creator, or if you do  and you believe abortion is OK, consider how you deface his Holiness by believing it is OK to murder the unborn, no matter their health.  If anything, consider that that baby could be adopted and loved by a Christian family. There is never an excuse to murder the unborn. If you met Lizzie on the street, what kind of person would you be? Would you extend a gracious hand? Would you cross on the other side of the street?! Ask yourself. Now. ~end sermonLOL~

for further reading:
~Visit Focus on the Family. I did a search for Divorce, Infidelity, and Recovery, and many helpful articles came up, and you can read the titles of those articles here: Divorce and Infidelity
~Very important: When You Should Confront Someone About Their Sin? By John Piper on Biblical Confrontation and grounds for it (although not Catholic, he is very, very strong Christian and he is gifted at articulating this type of subject well)
~and finally, also very. very important: The Problem Isn't Invalid Marriages, It's.... 

What is most important? I'll let *you* answer that question. Fill in the blank.

linking up with Tuesday Talk

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