Do you put your worth in what you look like?
I know I do. I have for years.
I’m reminded of it when I go to a Denver mall, gazing up sheepishly at the giant posters of beautiful women. I wander inside a store, unconscious of the desire the image has sparked inside my heart. I want to look beautiful…to captivate an audience.
I try on clothing in the dressing room and begin to feel anxiety when I don’t measure up.
I stand in line at Victoria’s Secret and wonder if it’s possible to actually have a body with such perfect proportions.
The women look so happy, so fulfilled. Their radiance speaks of the worth they must feel. The value behind their beautiful face.
All of a sudden, the comparison game has started. And it really has nothing to do with clothing.
Last weekend, I went shopping for a LBD (little black dress) and some accessories for a Denver girl’s night out. I had some big plans of how I would feel in the perfect LBD and looked forward to the attention I would receive from the right dress.
After several hours at the mall, it wasn’t just my feet that felt exhaustion. My heart and mind were inundated with images of a standard I couldn’t measure up to. And it really set the stage for the night ahead…
I met up with two girl friends for dinner with plans to go dancing in downtown Denver at a new club afterwards. Upon arrival, we made our way through a smoky room and set up near the front of the dance floor. I had on my new LBD, a cotton style from Southwest Plaza's Express I found on clearance, and felt pretty good.
I started to feel noticed but hoped my wedding ring would scare any interested guys away. My two girl friends knew I was there to dance only with them and had my back in case anything happened.
But then something came up I didn’t expect. Instead of feeling empowered by the attention, I felt empty and unknown. The men who noticed me didn’t know a thing about me, yet it was my appearance that would dictate whether they would care to ask.
I realized that even if they did care to ask, the loud music wasn’t lending itself to much meaningful conversation. In such an environment, my appearance alone would dictate what kind of attention I was going to receive.
Maybe this is obvious to most people. You don’t go to the club to find a serious relationship! But I never understood the root of what was in my heart until this experience.
For many years when I’d get all dolled up and go out, I’d hope to get more attention than my friends. And many times, I’d go home without receiving any at all. I’d go home feeling worthless. Let down. Disappointed. Like I didn’t measure up.
I let a distortion of the truth sink into my heart, and for years, I believed a lie.
You see, instead of feeling empowered by a captivating face or alluring appearance, I was giving others the power to determine my value by basing my “success” in my appearance.
It was like I was saying, “I’ve waited all week for this. I’ve spent the whole day shopping, doing my hair, and fixing my face just right so you can tell me I look beautiful.”
When we base our worth on what others perceive as beautiful about us, we give them complete control over the view we hold of ourselves.
Whether we leave the club on a high because of all the compliments we receive or a low because we didn’t measure up as fairest or most beautiful in a crowded room, we leave others with the key to our hearts.
The key to our identity.
A beautiful image draws others in, but when that’s what we care about most, our beauty fades.
Why not use a flattering and well-designed wardrobe to think less about yourself, rather than more?
Is your belief in yourself based on what others perceive about you?
In contrast, what if we were to base our worth in how we cared for others?
With if we put more stock in kindness? Gentility? A spirit of humility?
And what if we were to treat others as better than ourselves, rather than playing the comparison game?
I’m pretty sure that would be the most beautiful thing about you. Or me.
And a foundation that isn’t based in our appearance won’t be shaken by big poster boards (real or fake), Victoria Secret supermodels, or a long day at the mall.
That foundation is impenetrable. True. And most lovely.
Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves."