My list of reasons include the fact that, well, I can't afford fancy enough clothes to care, my hair does it's own thing so often, I've given up trying to manage it, and oh, let's not forget I only started wearing make-up on a regular basis last year! Unfortunately for me, that is not what vanity is about. Those were all just my way of objectifying vanity and saying, "at least I don't wear as much make-up as her," or "at least I don't spend as much time on my hair as she does"...
The dictionary defines vanity as such: "excessive pride in one's appearance ... lack of real value; hollowness; worthlessness". Of this my friends, I am guilty of beyond measure. Pride in one's appearance doesn't necessarily mean you think you are the most gorgeous human being to ever have walked the planet, because I can assure you I believe the FARTHEST from that. Pride in one's appearance is really about the weight you put in your appearance. How it defines you, what it makes you believe about yourself, what it makes you believe about others... and this is my struggle.
The few weeks after my accident I could barely go to the bathroom by myself, much less dress myself, brush my hair, wear make-up or anything of that sort... and let me tell you... my vanity was revealed to me in a truly frightening way. I never realized how consumed I was with my appearance until I had no control over it. Physically, I couldn't govern what I wore, how my hair looked, what other people saw when they came to visit... and it devoured me. When I physically lacked any ability over my appearance I realized how deeply rooted my vanity was. I also discovered how false my former understanding of vanity was. My vanity came in the form of constantly comparing myself to 'HER'. "Why couldn't I be more like her?" She has a naturally beautiful face, long gorgeous hair, awesome style, pretty eyes, a great smile... If I can become more like her then I will feel better about myself. I am embarrassed to admit these were the thoughts that dominated ... and sometimes still dominate ... my soul. Why didn't God make me more like her? She's breath-taking, her life is amazing, her friends are wonderful! She's talented, funny, quirky... and has starred in so many tv shows and movies that I adore! . . .
The importance I placed in becoming "her" drove me into the depths of despair... because it was so wrong. I'm sure we all know the verse in 1 Samuel 16:7 where God speaks when considering which of Jesse's sons is to become the next king of Israel: "But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." My heart so often has been in the wrong place... why? We all know why, because I was trying to be more like her, when really, the only time I will find fulfillment is when I strive to be more like HIM. A verse I remember from middle school returned to my thoughts as I struggled through this addiction to vanity. "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes." I'm like, "Dude, I got that covered because I can't afford gold jewelry and fine clothes anyways" ... What I didn't remember was how that verse ended. It continues on to read, "Instead, 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." (1 Peter 3:3-4). All this time and energy I spent worrying about how I looked, fretting over how I'll never be like her... instead... I should be spending that time finding my significance, my hope, and yes, even my beauty in the one who loves me more than life itself.
I don't know if it's just me who struggles with these feelings in inadequacy when it comes to their looks ... when it comes to comparing yourself to all the 'hers' of the world ... I have a feeling I'm not alone. Through this injury and the temporary loss of control over my appearance I discovered a struggle I never realized I had. Vanity is such a prison, I would never wish these feelings of deficiency on anyone. Therefore, I am sharing this with you in hopes that as I seek freedom from its imprisonment, you, whoever you are, may find freedom in Him as well. As I said before, vanity comes in different forms, but whatever shape or size, it is all-consuming. God loves me for me. God created you to be you. God loves us because He made us to BE us. NOT 'HER'.
My prayer for you, and for myself, is that we will realize our value and beauty comes from a loving, holy God who tells us that through the death of His Son, we are made worthy. We are made righteous. For that I am so thankful.
And girls, the Bible also tells us. "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." (Proverbs 31:30). Something to strive for, I think. The love and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ is my sole desire. My prayer is I will continue to fall more and more in love with Christ because He is everything to me, and I am confident because of His word that I am everything to Him. In Him, I will find rest from my weary wanderings, and by seeking to be more like Him, I will be transformed into the princess of His heart.
"So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love,
and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." 1 John 4:16