One day I strolled through the doors of a local retail store, trolling for some bargains. Yes, trolling, as in, “This girl ain’t too proud to dig through the sales racks to look for something fabulous at a great price.” I asked the sales associate to pull down an interesting-looking vest hanging from a hook high above so I could have a closer look. The black vest’s contour had classic lines, but the zipper and the embellishments had a funky style that I immediately loved.
The nice young man at the cash register stroked his fingers over the vest and smiled at me. “Don’t you just love this vest?” I smiled back. “I absolutely do.” Then, he continued: “So, do you know why I love this vest so much?” (I didn’t say anything back because he really wasn’t looking at me. He was going to tell me anyway, whether I wanted to know or not.)
“This vest is vegan leather. Isn’t that so cool?”
As my chatty sales clerk kept talking, I discovered that vegan leather wasn’t a new kind of leather; it was just a fancy term for what I grew up calling “pleather,” as in, “Don’t get caught dead on the playground wearing pleather shoes.”
Yet, he talked about the “vegan leather” material as if it was the answer to all of my couture hopes and dreams. I didn’t care about whether the vest was leather or pleather. It was cute. It was my size. I wanted to buy it. I wanted to tell the nice young man, “Look, don’t try to make me believe that something is real when it isn’t.”
Does it matter to you if something is real or fake? These days, fake eyelashes are hot. I received two sets of free fake eyelashes as part of a beauty subscription box. I haven’t worn them yet. The thought of gluing something next to my eyeball sends me into a panic. Any foolish attempt to apply that gluey little strip to my eyelid is a trip to the emergency room just waiting to happen. “Ma’am, can you tell me again, exactly how did you glue your eyelid shut?”
Isn’t it amazing how technology makes “fake” seem like it is real? Each week, I read articles about magazines that digitally alter photos of celebrities and models. The digital technicians trim, lengthen, lighten, highlight, smooth, contour, or erase away anything that won’t fulfill the illusion of perfection.
We live in a world surrounded by images that look real but are not. Yet, they are marketed to us as the reality we should embrace. In our image-driven world, one of Satan’s strategies is to overwhelm us with those images so that we might embrace the faux beauty marketed to us.
The Apostle Paul gives the following advice to believers to guide and encourage them in a world that wanted to destroy them. In the context of our discussion, Colossians 3:2 reminds us of where to focus: “Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.”
God desires for us to prioritize thinking about what is true and everlasting. The images before us in magazines and Instagram photos are as fleeting as yesterday’s news. When we keep our eyes on the things of heaven, we see those digitally created images for what they are; therefore, their impact is lessened. Those images are not evil, but we remember they are fake and our value in God’s eyes is real.
Sweet sisters, we don’t need to strive to live up to a fake image. There are some things in life that must be authentic. Our desire for beauty must be one of them. As we continue our journey together, commit yourself to discovering the true beauty God has already created you to be. Sure, we’re always going to have to deal with magazine covers, lingerie advertisements, and anyone younger, skinnier, taller, or curvier than we are. But, don’t ever let yourself be led astray by someone else’s beauty rules. You are enough already.
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Barb Roose is a wife, mother, and speaker. She is the author of the book, Enough Already: Winning Your Ugly Struggle with Beauty and an upcoming six-week DVD Bible study titled, Beautiful Already: Reclaiming God’s Perspective on Beauty. She is passionate about connecting women to God and each other. As a conference speaker, Barb encourages and equips women through biblical teaching, personal stories, and lots of humor. Barb and her husband Matt have three beautiful daughters, two rescue dogs, and a grumpy bunny named Pal. Connect with Barb on Facebook or at barbroose.com.