Growing up, I always paid attention to my hair and makeup. I’m a southern girl and that’s just what we do. So, I never really thought much about my natural inclination to consider my personal appearance.
Obviously, I love to talk about all things fashion and beauty. In fact, I’ve written quite a bit on both subjects. So, I guess it makes sense to take a little time to consider the question, “should Christians care about their personal appearance?”
I’ve had this conversation more than once in my life and it usually goes something like this, “Shellie, I’ve never really thought much about my clothes or my makeup. But, I am getting to the point in my life that I think I would like to put a little more effort into my personal appearance.”
For these women, this personal realization was more than a passing comment, but rather a sincere, heartfelt desire. One that I can only assume they had pondered for a while before broaching the subject with me.
These were women who had hearts for God, but they had never before seen the need to put much thought into their personal appearance. Still, something had shifted in their perspective as they began to explore the possibility of caring about something they had never given much thought to before.
We can’t ignore the human tendency to evaluate things and others by their appearance. God even spoke to this tendency when he told Samuel, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
It’s obvious that God prefers to get right to the heart of the matter without getting mixed up with our surface appearance. And yes, we as Christians should strive to be more like Him as Paul instructs in Ephesians 5:1, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children.”
Still, the question for those seeking a godly perspective on appearance may not be whether or not a godly woman cares about her personal appearance, but why she cares about it?
Ah, the why question…
We are called to follow after God’s example; to seek guidance from scripture and inevitably we are changed in the process.
18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,[a] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.[b] For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
And, just maybe, as we mature in God and pass through different life seasons, we may actually desire to enhance the outside to better reflect what God is doing internally.
At this point, I consider other facets of my life; home decor, writing, speaking or graphic design. Have I ever felt pressured, whether internally or externally, to just let these areas go without tweaking or polishing them? Absolutely not, in fact, I strive for excellence.
I recognize and value the gifts God has placed in my life and I seek to reflect His glory in everything I do.
For instance, I wrote this article over the course of several days. I started with a few ideas and then slowly added others until my thoughts were adequately conveyed.
At that point, the article pretty much said what I wanted it to say, but it was far from finished.
I then proceeded to the most essential aspect of the whole writing process…editing. While the initial draft reflected my thoughts well enough, it needed to be polished and refined before I would allow anyone else to read it.
No one would argue the need for editing to produce a presentable piece of writing. However, some do wrestle with the idea of “wasting their time” on personal appearance when it could be better spent on spiritual pursuits. After all, the word is clear that we should “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of [our] mind[s], that by testing [we] may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
I like this writer’s take on the issue,
We should not reject caring about our physical appearance just because the world cares, but we should be changed inside so we can tell what the will of God is.
As Christians, we are called to live and move in a world that holds an entirely different set of values and standards. And yes, physical beauty often rests at the top of their priority list. Still, that in itself doesn’t disqualify us from seeking to portray an attractive outer appearance, as long as, our hearts remain rooted in kingdom plans and purposes.
Ultimately, we tweak the outside because it reflects and illuminates what we have going on within.
I like the phrase, “you never have a second chance to make a first impression.” Maybe their first impression or attraction is my outfit, lipstick or hairstyle, and that’s OK. Why?…because ultimately I serve a God who works through relationships. I trust Him to use every means and every relationship to reveal His glory in and through my life, even if His chosen means is Loreal lipstick #590 in Blushing Berry.