This week I read the tragic story of Claudia Aderotimi who allegedly died after a botched operation to enhance her buttocks. Some articles reported that Claudia was a dancer who wanted to enhance her chances of becoming famous in hip hop videos. All I thought to myself is what a terrible way to go, with everybody knowing the lengths her apparent insecurity drove her. It is amazing how insecure we can be if we try to think what others are thinking about us. I live in a funny position of having my feet in two cultures. I used to be much heavier than I am now and in my home in Ireland this was frowned up, yet in Malawi I was never called fat, it was always ‘lovely and fat’. When I lost the weight I was applauded at home, but my Malawian in-laws complained and thought I was sick. It taught me that our idea of beauty is very defined by culture. I remember even reading an article that during times of recession men find larger women more attractive than the very slim women, so cultures ideas change over time also.
The sad thing is that it is so tempting to find our value in the thoughts of others instead of in being the unique person God has created us to be. When the priest Samuel went to Jesse’s household to find the new king he decided that the obvious choice for King was the handsome Eliab, but instead God lets him know that it is not appearance or stature that is important, but the heart.
1 Samuel 16:6-7 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.” 7 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.”
Again in the New Testament Peter advises the women in the church that character is more beautiful than fancy hairdos.
1 Peter 3:3-5 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewellery and fine clothes. 4 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. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands
It is hard to measure up to other people’s standards of what is acceptable, what is in, what is hot, but God sets standards by a totally different rule. Beauty is in a godly character. We are all handcrafted by God; we are all fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalms 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Perhaps I don’t measure up to the world opinion, but today I choose to believe God.