Tuesday, September 17, 2013

You don't know you're beautiful

I have spent the last two hours...TWO HOURS researching sweatpants on the web. What ones look the best? (Seriously, they are SWEATPANTS, does it matter?) Can you/should you wear yoga pants in public? What about undergarments? How do you avoid VPL? Do workout capris look good on short women? Two hours I should have been sleeping I spent obsessing about the fashionability (yes, it's a word) of sweatpants. REALLY?

I get caught in these moments of obsession from time to time when I really start to anguish over my appearance. Am I wearing the right clothes? The right hair? The right make up? It manifests in hours on pinterest or other relevant sites.  I get a disquiet in my spirit and I want to spend lots of time shopping, yet usually end up taking everything back. I start to analyze what other people are wearing.

Note: if you ever catch me staring at you I'm probably wondering if the jeans/top/highlights you are wearing would look good on me. Or you spilled ketchup on yourself, and I'm trying to decide if I should tell you.

During these times of hyper-vigilance on exterior things there really isn't a noticeable change in my outward appearance. But I can tell that I become inwardly focused. I become unsettled, discontent. My world becomes about me, and I'm more concerned with finding the time and money to search for a new outfit (that I will probably return) than I am about being kind and available to those around me.

In my opinion, that's the crux of 1 Peter 3:3-4
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."

For me, the passage isn't saying I should never wear a cute dress or fancy shoes, but external appearances do not define me. Isn't that a hard concept to grasp when my daily inbox is filled with store emails promising all things bright and beautiful? When no matter what we look like we always feel like we need to look better? But it's rubbish. Perishable. If I'm going to spend two hours obsessing about something I want it to make a positive difference in the life of another person, not to lead me to the conclusion that I really should opt out of sweats more than I opt in.

Contemplating the role of sweatpants in modern society (or more accurately, should I wear them to school pickup) led to me to disquiet within my spirit. Focusing on the external never brings me peace. When I'm able to focus on having a gentle and quiet spirit (notice it doesn't actually require that I remain quiet, phew), I'm able to find a portion of that unfading beauty. Something that won't go out of style next season or be too tight if I hit the chocolate a little too hard.