Coffee Talk 2015: Week 7 {Vanity}

Biblical Solutions for Problems with Ourselves
Who Is the Fairest of Them All?
By Christie Ballewske

coffee talk online edition pictureI think all of our mothers have told us, “Honey, it’s what’s on the inside that’s important.” But when you’re the only skinny, flat chested, braces wearing 12 year old girl on the playground who got a rubber shoe scraped up the front of her never before shaved leg, right in front of Stephanie P (for perfect), you just can’t believe that the outside doesn’t  matter.  At 12 years old I felt the weight of vanity, and I feel it today. The truth is that without Christ being the lover of our souls, the inside doesn’t really matter at all, and sadly, it becomes about the outside.

Martha writes, “Something that is vain is futile, worthless, useless, amounts to nothing, and is a mere breath. Obviously, pursuing vanity (the love of beauty in this case) is a colossal waste of time!” She goes on to say, “Any woman over the age of 50 will tell you that it’s a losing battle.”  As I read that, I was taken back a few years ago when I began to understand what women meant when they’d say, “gravity takes over.” My body started to rebel, which prompted a dear friend to speak a revelation to me: “Christie”, she said with much wisdom, “when we’re 80, we’re all gonna be wrinkled.” That made me feel better after having 3 children, remembering that all those “Stephanies” had it coming. Haha! Seriously though, I know what my friend was getting at–it was the same thing that my mother meant when she referred to my “inside.” What she was really talking about was the hidden person of my heart. I thought, “When I’m 80 and wrinkly, what will be left?”

My husband read this verse to me minutes before he proposed and Martha also references it:

“Your adornment must not be merely external… but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”  -1 Peter 3:4

She also quotes Proverbs 31:30 that says,

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain (fleeting), but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”

Martha then sums up that section with a memory of her mother who was not known for her looks, rather her patience and kindness. I can only draw the same conclusion that both my mother and dear friend, both whom I desire to model after, though very beautiful outwardly, are not known for an extravagant outer appearance but rather their fear of God and faithfulness to Him even in the face of defeat. To me, that is beautiful and something to pant after desperately. To God, it is nothing short of precious.

It would be nice to look 20 again, but to actually be 20? I would not trade the maturity that has come from experience, for that “dreamy body” if I were the ugliest sight on the planet! I’m able to look back with gratefulness and see the wonderful things God has done. We seem to notice every dark circle, every wrinkle, every varicose vein, and especially a pound or two. However, often we give little thought to our spiritual eyesight improving as our eyes become better fixed on Jesus as we age with grace.

Like an ugly wart, the love of beauty continues to surface in Christian women every day. Everywhere we go the world is whispering lies to us; and if we aren’t careful, we’ll buy into them, sometimes without even realizing it. If we are not purposeful to train our minds to think properly about beauty, we might find ourselves pining away for the love of a beauty that is unattainable.  The biblical solution is that we must turn our lust for our beauty into a passion for God.  We must desire to make much of Him and let every wrinkle of time tell of His greatness over all of our years, whether it be 20 or 50 or 80! May we be like wine and grow sweeter as we age, unlike many who are old and like milk have grown sour.

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