Welcome to my eclectic journey of my life and delights. This year my theme is surrendering my writing pen to the true author, Jesus Christ, while looking forward to the future, reflecting on the past and dancing through my journey.




Thursday, November 15, 2012

What Not to Wear



I propped my feet up as I grabbed my devotional book and Bible.  Our colder weather means I need to cover my feet.  So there they were staring at me when my mind went into a make-believe scenario.

In through my front door burst the host and hostess of What Not to Wear.  I could hear their giggles from the front door as they sarcastically blurted out, "You are dressed like that and you were planning on taking your 16-year-old son to school? "
The laughter continued as they told how I would have embarrassed him for life, (which I do think is part of our responsibility to do to all our children at one time or another...embarrass them with our funny looks).  Then they went on to harass me through photos candidly taken over the last month of me in my baggy jeans.  Yes! after one year of working my bottom off at the gym, 15 pounds of my stubborn fat has left me with bottom sagging jeans.  I was truly in need of some education in fashion (in their opinion)................as the laughter continued, I covered my makeup-free-and-in-need-of-a-haircut face, while leaving my fashion-less attire exposed.

My desire for a gift card of $5000.00 and total make-over went (puff!) up into smoke as I opened my devotional...........NO, I DID NOT KNOW THIS WAS COMING!

In 1997, there was an article written called the The Body Project.  In this article they compared the diaries of girls from the 1830's to the 1990's.  In the nineteenth century, the girls diaries focused on "good works", whereas, the diaries written in the 1990's focused on "good looks."

The goals of girls in the 1830's focused on character qualities

  • think before speaking
  • work seriously
  • be self-restrained in conversations and actions
  • dignified
Compared to goals of girls in 1982
  • make myself better with the help of money
  • lose weight
  • get new lenses
  • new haircut
  • good makeup
  • new clothes
WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  What a contrast and it is now 2012 and I must say we have not returned to the virtues of women in the 1830's.

I was startled from my daydreaming makeover.  Where could I find myself in these two examples?  Where does God see me?

  • "The biblical starting point in dealing with the fear of looking unacceptable to God.  Does a woman "hope in God", or hope in the approval of men (or women)?  This is the key to "not being frightened by fear" (I Peter 3:6)  (again not be frightened by fear, not be fearful of my future...my circumstances?)
  • Expressing God, not self, is what a godly woman wants to do.  Excessive preoccupation with figure and hair and complexion is a sign that self, not God, has moved to the center.  John Piper - Taste and See
WOW!!!  I handed back the imaginary Visa card and pondered these words.  Do I feel there is anything wrong with looking your best?   NO!!! I am sure my husband left the house this morning thinking...'you know that wasn't really an appealing sight"... so I agree you should do your best.  What I heard was.....girl, right now there isn't any VISA card....I am dealing with your heart!

I think my exchange of the VISA card for heart surgery with my Lord is worth more than any outward make-over.........it is inward, and that spills out onto the surface for all to see.  That is when I reflect His glory and no amount of make-up can do that.

"With God at the center-like the "sun", satisfying a woman's longings for beauty and greatness and truth and love - all the "planets" of food and dress and exercise and cosmetics and posture and countenance will stay in their proper orbit.
If this happens,the diaries of the next generation will probably go beyond looks and character and speak of the greatness of God and the triumphs of his grace.  And they will more often be written from Calcutta than from the comfortable houses of America."  John Piper - Taste and See

What strong words....I want my diary to change.

27 Joining in with more words:

Vee said...

Congrats on those baggy jeans! I know that it represents a lot of hard work. While I think taking care of oneself and looking as nice as possible, given one's handicaps and pocketbook, is important, the wiser part is certainly inner beauty or a beautiful spirit. I'm thinking that the beautiful spirit is probably reflected in the countenance and way one cares for herself. I found the discussion of journals fascinating.

Sarah (Nikki) said...

this made me smile....and yeah to those baggy pants and just chillin and being you. Love your desire to dress your soul in its finery with Him first....I find people who sparkle with joy b/c of Him are the prettiest and the ones who always draw me in.....

Sandy said...

My pastor's wife is 51 and was once a successful fashion model in the 70's. She wears little to no make-up and a short simple hairstyle and she is beautiful. It's true she does have perfect features and is lovely with no make-up but what makes her truly beautiful is what's inside. She is one of the most compassionate and humble people I've ever known and she would rather talk about her Jesus than anything. That's real beauty and makes for a beautiful spirit.
I congratulate you on having baggy jeans and you are an inspiration to many!
Hugs!

Debbie said...

Good morning! The comparison of the journals was really interesting! And of course who of us isn't guilty of this in today's world where physical LOOKS are considered THE most important thing of all. And while I agree it is important, can you only imagine how much better this world would be if we were all obsessed with our inner beauty in the same way? And yet honestly, what is more attractive then a sweet, giving, Godly, Spirit filled woman? Nothing at all....I am drawn to it every time.

myletterstoemily said...

yikes! you're on the spiritual side, but
i was on the physical side!

it is very sad how much our society's
girls focus on the physical rather than
the spiritual.

when my girls were little, i was adamently
against that. we were all about the
heart. i think it's harder now to do that.
i feel like i need to encourage them in
every way now.

and here i sit in my sweat pants . . .

Canadagirl said...

You write the most heart piercing, wonderful and where I am at posts my friend. Thank you. Yes, it is so important to take care of ourselves but our heart needs to be first. Thank you once again for getting me to reflect on what is very important.

Blessings and ((HUGS))
-Mary

Farm Girl said...

Wow have we changed or what? That is a really great thing to think about.
I guess that is why God looks at the heart right?

Christine said...

I'm so glad that God speaks to you in such a stern and loving way. We all benefit from your valuable words that you share with us.

Susan (My Place to Yours) said...

Ouch. Strong words for sure!

Amy said...

Oh, thank you for these words. So powerful! My feet and socks and shoes look that way too, by the way. Blessings.

Marla and Steve said...

Oh I am sooooo guilty of coveting my outer person and adorning her in cute clothes - and of course now hats. I know I know. Sometimes I wonder if I "do" my exterior as a cover for my interior. If I cover nicely, then people might assume I'm nicely covered on the inside also and wow is that not true. Great post!

Marsha @Spots and Wrinkles said...

Wow!

The contrast between those two sets of values is really eye-opening; and truly a sad reflection of where we are now.

Hope you have a good week.

Sonja said...

ouch for sure. When He deals with our hearts, it sure gets personal, doesn't it?

I went to Northpark today, haven't been there in ages, and I saw the cutest pair of black sweat pants! CUTE! I tried them on, and left them in the fitting room, put on my jeans and went home. Not sure which is worse.

Debbie said...

I loved the comparison between the two diaries. It's really a sad commentary, isn't it? It wasn't that the 19th century girls didn't care about looks because I'm sure they did. It's just that they knew what was more important.

I also thought while reading this that they also must have been convicted that that was what society (and particularly males in society) valued that too. Just a random thought.

I'm probably going to go to bed thinking about this one. Great post!

BTW, you know that I'm still praying faithfully, right? Just wanted to remind you.

Pom Pom said...

Great post, Janette! True, so true!

Lea also known as "CiCi" said...

Wow! hats off to you, 15 lbs!! Way to go!

I can see such a difference in the way looks are valued now and when I was a little girl, much less in the 1800's. What a sad commentary!

Thanks for these rich words, you are always a blessing!

moreofhim said...

What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing this. Makes me really think about myself and how I need to work on my heart matters. :)

God bless you - Julie

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

W.O.W! The difference in those journal entries is most enlightening about our culture. wow. I do think responsibly caring for our bodies is a way of honoring God for the "temple" he had gifted us, but I think He cares way more about what's on the inside than the outside... The glow comes from within. ;) Congratulations on the 15 lbs. I really worked on 20 last year and felt so much better... six have crept back on... =( blessings ~ tanna

Sue said...

Hi Sweet Janette, hope all is well with you and Master Benjamin
The visa card will go its way to the trash but that heart surgery will last an eternity. And you had the best surgeon anyone could ask for, I think you made the right decision and got the best deal, Janette!

Enjoyed reading the comparison , quite a difference, I am praying that the next time a comparison is made that it will have reversed!
Give my love to Benjamin and tell him I bet is nose itches a lot I think of him every time i visit a farm store. Hope his farming went well this summer, I have been in this remodeling for 6 months and can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Painting was finished today, so dh sent me to the sitting room thus I am able to stop by and say hi.
Enjoy your weekend,
Love,
Sue

Brenda Lazzaro Yoder, said...

I've been around the block so many times, so many seasons of womanhood in my life. So many images I wanted to be, thought I should be. Sometimes, today, I wear my pajamas to drive my kids to school in, and dress to the hilt when I feel like it. But most importantly, I'm becoming more comfortable with who I am no matter what I have on. It's been a process, and I suppose it will continually be so. Thanks for the challenge today, Janette!

Crickit said...

So very right you are! The two comparisons above couldn't be any more opposite and much more influential of the world! Love the John Piper quote at the bottom..boy does that man have such Godly wisdom in the pages of his books!

Maryann said...

I used to watch that show regularly...loved seeing the transformation...but then God started to convict my heart. I was being more focused on what was on the outside instead of what really mattered. Was I concerned as much with heart transformation as I was with physical transformation? The honest answer was no.This issue is an ongoing process for me.
Nice to have someone help remind me to refocus on what is important...Thanks!

Carol OurSearsKitHome said...

Janette,
What a great post! Full of truth and godly wisdom.
Congrats on the baggy jeans.
And I love your pink bike in the previous post!

OliveTree said...

This is a great post! I'm so glad I stumbled on your blog. I've been challenged myself to cultivate inner beauty, "the gentle gracious kind that God delights in." (Message version of 1 Peter 3). I think the realities of being 48 have FORCED me to accept that my outer self will be getting older, but my inner self CAN GROW MORE BEAUTIFUL.

Kathryn Ross said...

Oh - this was a wonderful post and SO appropriate. I am blogging now - looking much like you described yourself and struggle with these issues more than I'd like to admit. THe comparison between the 1830 diaries and 1990 direies is astounding. Very much what I teach young people who really don't care to hear such "irrelevant, un-emacipated nonsense". If it were left to today's generation to BUILD our nation it could not be done.

I don't want to fall into that category - balance in all things, Lord - with a great helping of Christ at the foundation!!

Joy!
Kathy

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

WoW! Didn't know that. Thank you. Great blog by the way. I'm gonna follow.

Cecilia Marie Pulliam said...

Wow, Janette. This same thing has been on my heart this week. With all the hoopla over eating, and dieting this holiday brings up, this was a good reminder of what is the most important. The shape of our hearts. Are they big enough, generous enough?
And, congratulations on your 15 lb weight loss. I am still struggling, but after reading your post, it will not be an obsession. Thank you.

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