Today it seems as though there is so much emphasis in the world on beauty and keeping "fit and trim" (isn't that a dog food?) that I sometimes want to rebel when I hear of women going to the "Gym" and aerobics classes. I think I've already shown my rebellion by just letting myself go...I've proven my point...all that fitness jazz just isn't for me! I once had a friend who invited me to visit her health spa with her for a morning workout. I came well prepared...jogging pants and a sweatshirt, and lots of extra weight to lose. We tried out the different exercise machines, and when she saw that I couldn't even stay on the bicycle, let alone get it up to any speed, she suggested we just walk around the jogging trail. That suited me just fine! Funny, I've never heard from that "friend" since that day! I guess she found someone more her "speed".
Well, is it really a sin to try and be beautiful and charming? I guess that depends on your motive. I think a lot of us would do well to try and be a little more beautiful, charming and fit. What woman doesn't feel better about herself and her position in life when she's just had her hair done or when she has a great new outfit that she feels good in and knows it looks good on her? Sometimes even the simplest additions to our wardrobe can make a big difference in how we view the whole wardrobe. I remember one time we were invited to a 50th anniversary party at a lovely hotel restaurant for some relatives. There were many people invited that I didn't know, and as this was my husband's side of the family, I wanted to make a good impression. I didn't have an appropriate outfit for such an occasion, and we couldn't afford to buy one either. So in looking over my existing wardrobe I decided that a black skirt with a dressy blouse and accessories would be appropriate. However, my black skirt really needed a belt to finish it off properly. So I went to a local discount department store and found two great belts for a very low price...one was black velvet, and the other a beautiful tapestry with black trim. I decided on the black velvet for the dressy evening affair, but the tapestry belt made another whole outfit for church or other special events! So there were two new outfits for the price of two inexpensive belts at a discount store!
Back to the issue at hand...what was the motive? Well maybe it was vanity...I admit it...but at least I was "frugal and intelligent" (my opinion, ha!) in solving the problem! And because I felt comfortable about the way I looked, and that my clothes were appropriate for the situation, I was more at ease and able to forget about myself for the evening and enjoy the party.
The proverb says that "a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." Perhaps what this is teaching us is that our goal in life should be to know and reverence (fear) the Lord, and not to desire to be noticed and admired by the eyes of the world. A woman who truly loves and knows the Lord will show it in all her ways. She will be charming and beautiful, but her charm will be the attractiveness of Christ glowing out from her, and her beauty will come from deep within her soul. Everything she touches will have a certain radiance of Christ. I've known sincere women of God who, although their physical features were plain, they were the most beautiful women I'd ever known. When we truly know Him in our hearts, all the other areas of our lives fall into the right perspective.
We don't have to be constantly "working out" to get fit, or filling our closets full of useless dresses to make us look beautiful. Certainly we will take proper care of our bodies, "the Temple of the Holy Spirit", because we are not our own since we were bought at a price (I Corinthians 6:19-20) and therefore we should "glorify God in [our bodies] and in our spirits], which are God's." Rather we should spend more time in getting our souls and minds "fit" for the Master's use, and He'll show us how to take care of the rest.
Lord, please help me to remember that You desire my beauty to come from knowing You, and not from a cosmetic or the latest hairstyle or fitness regime. I am reminded in Matthew 6:30-34 that if I will seek first the kingdom of God and Your righteousness, all these things shall be added unto me. You tell us in Your Word not to worry about tomorrow or about what we should eat, drink, or wear, because since you take care of the grass and lilies of the field, You will surely clothe us as well. Thank You, Lord, for this timely reminder. Amen.
Ok, friends, Please don't think that this was just a cop-out for not keeping myself in "shape". I truly desire to be in the best physical condition possible for my age and stage in life...and I do try to eat right, get enough exercise and fresh air, etc. It's all about keeping things in proper perspective and order in our lives...setting priorities and not letting any activity get out of control or placing us in an unbalanced position. The proper order should be:
- My relationship with God: which includes: spiritual, emotional, and physical attitudes and concerns
- My relationship with my husband and family
- My relationship with my church, friends, neighbors, co-workers and others
- Everything else
If I maintain this order...I should be in good shape!!!