This week I have been bombarded with thoughts about image. Body image. My body image.

It all started on Thursday when I got my hair cut and the stylist worked a number on my head. These crazy, out of control locks of mine were forced into submission by a flat iron and professional grade hair product. I looked smashing, or so people told me.

That’s where I had problems. God revealed a great idol in my heart through simple comments about my hair.

Historically, I have always made fun of people who flat-iron their hair. (My apologies!) Not just flat-iron, I have historically always made fun of people who spent an inordinate amount of time on their hair, make-up, and appearance in general. If putting your face on took longer than fifteen minutes, you can be sure I was secretly judging. “Holy cow, look at that girl. I can’t imagine wasting that much time on my appearance. I care so much more about what’s inside of my head instead of on it. Go ahead, flat-iron yourself into conformed, cookie-cutter perfection.” Ok, so I didn’t really say that every time I saw someone getting gorgeous, but that certainly was a sample of my attitude towards women who spent any amount of time on their looks.

That’s why when people started liking and commenting about how awesome this new hairdo was, I became immediately defensive. “What? Do you want me to be like all those other girls!?”

Hold it, sister. Wasn’t being proud over having no concern over my physical image just as sinful and self-absorbed as I accused my dear sisters of being? Yes. And, truth be told, in those quiet moments I, too, would spend longer than fifteen minutes trying to look presentable. Those days seem to come often where my five-minute makeover session turned into a half-an-hour ordeal resulting in piles of clothes on the floor, a hairbrush flung across the bathroom, and general self-loathing. Then, of course, I would try to make myself feel better by saying I didn’t really care.

Many of you may be familiar with this verse, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30 ESV) I shouldn’t even worry about beauty, or my proud lack-of-concern over beauty, because the most important phrase in that verse is that the woman mentioned is remembered for fearing the Lord.

I’ve begun to meditate on the book of Ephesians and was struck a few days ago by Paul’s opening. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 1:1 ESV) BAM! There it is, Paul’s identity is couched in Christ and nothing else. That is where, Jesus help me, I pray my identity will be couched as well.

So if you wondered why I responded with hesitation over the outpouring of Ooo’s and Ahh’s over all those comments, it’s because Jesus was working out my salvation in that moment. It’s because Jesus was teaching me to put my identity in Him. Christ was showing me that spending some time on appearance isn’t a sin and that I’m no better than my beloved sisters for my feigned asthetic apathy.

That’s what’s been on my mind and heart. Forgive my attitude, please. Pray for me as I grow to be more like my sweet Savior.

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