Pictures of models in Gap and Target and just about every store that sells clothing.
It’s not annoying because I’m hopelessly lost when it comes to actually making myself look like them. And it’s not annoying because I think there’s anything wrong with the way they look (assuming that is the way they look).
No, what gets me is the same thing that made Susan Boyle a phenomenon.
She is the fantastic singer who blew away the judges a few years back on Britain’s Got Talent. But what truly amazed the public was that she didn’t look anything like a model. Instead, she looked like an average middle-aged grandmother.
Why were we all surprised that she had such a beautiful voice?
This kind of intensely misplaced focus on body image causes little girls to grow up thinking that if they don’t look like the ‘average’ model, then there’s something wrong with them. This 3% of the population is now made to be the norm.
Meanwhile, further battening down this lie, boys are seeing these things believing that this is the standard for real beauty.
What are we to do with all of this?
I think this is one of the fights Christians are called to. We must fight this popular image to in turn show that value and worth are not determined by outward appearance. Rather, value and worth are determined by the Creator himself.
On this metric, everyone has exactly the same value. No one is better than anyone else.
This kind of view is what helps me drive a 16 year old car, because my value isn’t found there. It helps me look past the fussiness of what I ‘don’t’ have and into the larger gift that I do have. That gift is the job Jesus gave me–gave you–of sharing the good news of God’s salvation.
Two thousand years ago, Paul, who was routinely beaten unconscious, wrote that this job was worth all the hardships. The value of what he was doing was the reason he wrote, “I suffer as I do.”
The suffering is worth it because there are so much more important things in life to think about instead of contrived self images.
As Christians, let us be the ones who remind the world of this.
For you formed my inward parts
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made
Wonderful are your works
my soul knows it very well
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was being made in secret
intricately woven in the depths of the earth
Your eyes saw my unformed substance
in your book were written, every one of them
the days that were formed for me
when as yet there was none of them
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