Flowers and Facelifts

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I sometimes give myself pep-talks in the mirror. One conversation I’ve had with myself is, “You don’t need to be the prettiest face at the party ‘cause you’re a strong, healthy, intelligent woman. Well, maybe not as strong as you could be if you’d actually curl a dumbbell once in a while. And you might be healthier if you would eat more Greek yogurt and less Cookie Crisp for breakfast. And you’d be a little more intelligent if you digested more Shakespeare and less Diary of a Wimpy Kid…on audio book.” And then I chuckle remembering the “you- are-a-ploopey” joke from the audio book yesterday while I layer on more concealer and wiggle-jiggle into the Spanx.

During a recent look into the mirror, I didn’t give myself a pep-talk. This facial inspection was a type of “geographical” survey, I suppose; this searching for any and every imperfection that might convince me to take the plunge into the expensive hobby of cosmetic dermatology. I cursed the unfairness of stocking boxes of hair color to cover my crinkly grays while still battling hormonal acne. Why should I be battling old age when I still haven’t finished off the problems of the teen years? I admit that I stared for an obscenely long time into the reflective glass (I think my youngest finished kindergarten and sent off his college applications before I was done). But sometimes a woman just needs to give herself an honest assessment of age spots and facial creases.

Investing in Lasting Beauty

Being a modern woman can often feel tough. We tell ourselves and each other in sisterhood camaraderie that what truly matters is the inside. We know that we are more than the skin we wear; however, we continually chase the unattainable airbrushed images that assault us from every direction.

If only we as Christian ladies spent as much time on beautifying our spirit as much as we spend beautifying our bodies! What would that look like? How would we spend our time, energies, and money?

Like those injections of Botox, what if we injected our minds with things that are pure, right, noble, and good?

Like quality skin care regimens, what if we sloughed away sin through daily repentance and prayer?

Like watching our carb counts or sugar content or protein intake, what if we feasted regularly on the word of God?

Instead of spending extravagantly on cosmetics and hair appointments, what if we gave generously to those in dire need of even basic necessities like clean water or warm winter clothes?

Instead of designer heels, what if our feet were fitted with a readiness to share the gospel with everyone we came into contact with?

We don’t need to turn glossy pages of popular magazines to uncover the mystery to achieve lasting beauty. Like those flawless faces that warmly smile at us from polished covers while we wait in the checkout line, scripture holds out for us what true beauty looks like. It also shares with us the secret to make it last forever.

Lasting Beauty

The book of Proverbs showcases a woman who is trustworthy and works hard. She tenderly cares for the family in her home and generously shares with those in her community. She does not allow worry to consume her and laugh lines must decorate her face for the joy she sees in the future. Those around her take pleasure in her graceful company. [1]

The book of Titus presents a dignified woman. She can hold her head high as well as hold her tongue. Instead of amusing herself with the latest gossip, she uses her words to pass on wisdom and faithful instruction. She devotes her energy into caring for her children. In order to remain controlled and faithful to the life that is unfolding around her, she passes on the second glass of wine. She willingly accepts advice from those women ahead of her and looks for ways to mentor those coming behind. [2]

Attaining this disciplined beauty is an impossible task to be sure. Thankfully we have a Savior who encourages us to stay connected to him. He will provide us with everything we need. He will do the transformative work on our hearts. As long as a branch stays connected to the vine, it will receive all that it needs to grow and bloom. As soon as the lifeblood is removed from the stem – no matter how elegant the flower may be – it will eventually wither and fade. [3]

While trimming some flowers from a bouquet I received, the connection between beauty management and pruning flowers ignited in my mind. Held in my hand were world-class flowers. If they were people, they would have been super models. These flowers would surely be walking with a pouty-confidence that lets all the other dowdy shrubbery know their place on the botany totem pole, questioning whether or not they should even let their buds bloom or just go home and slurp chlorophyll while watching the latest Hoarders marathon.

However, the trouble with the delicate beauty of a flower bouquet is that it can never last. After a few days, regardless of the time and attention that is devoted to maintaining the flowers, the bouquet will begin to wilt. Little by little, one by one, the flowers will droop. Lacking the lifeblood of the rooted plant, the petals will wither and fall.

All the work and money we women sometimes invest in our looks is pure vanity. No matter how many nips or tucks, everything eventually droops and sags. No matter how many creams, lasers, or peels we endure, those wrinkles and spots eventually dig in their roots. Solomon would offer the commentary, “Meaningless – a chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 1:14)

We must pursue the eternal. Why chase after a vapor when you can feast on the vine? Scripture teaches us that “beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)

Nothing lasts in this world. Flowers will wilt and Botox wears off; but a woman who builds her life on the rock of Christ will never be disappointed. She will have a beauty that radiates from her very soul and earns the praise of those around her.

This is a message to remember when the world tells us to be forever young.

[1] Proverbs 31:10-31

[2] Titus 2:3-5

[3] John 15:5-8

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