It’s Picture Day

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Ah picture day!  We all remember picture day at school, don’t we?  I was the tallest in my class, so I remember always being told to stand in the back of the line.  I bet I am not the only one who remembers the little black combs.  If you were like me, you also had a mom who made you wear one of your best shirts, had your hair cut a few days before, and you couldn’t leave the house in the morning until you promised to stay clean and neat until after pictures.

Well, today is picture day at my school, and not much has changed.  My kids will come in all dressed up, hair slicked down, rocking their nicest clothes, and walking around very carefully so they don’t get dirty.

We go great lengths to make sure we look our best when we know pictures will be taken.  However, do we ever consider trying to look our best for God?  I don’t mean wearing our nicest clothes for church.  I am talking about making sure our HEART is clean, neat, and not getting dirty.

I believe that God looks down and watches us, but I don’t think he considers our outward appearance as much as our inward thoughts.  Do we ensure that we are keeping our heart clean?  Are we filling our minds with music that glorifies God or muddies our soul?  Are the books we read promoting Godly ways or filling us with rubbish?

What if we thought of today as a picture day for our hearts and minds?  Would we need to spiff them up a bit first?

“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 NIV

Blessings!

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When Looks Really Do Matter

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Beauty is only skin deep.

Pretty is as pretty does.

True beauty lies on the inside.

We have heard all of the sayings.  We try to convince ourselves that our looks are good enough for God, good enough for the world, and good enough for ourselves.  However, do our looks really matter?  Did they matter to the Proverbs 31 woman?

Looks probably mattered quite a bit to her, but maybe not the way our society promotes beauty.  She would never grace the cover of a magazine in a bikini or revealing dress.  Modesty would have been a huge priority.  However, we know that she worked hard to prepare clothing for her family.  She tried her best to make them all look good.  She wanted to present her family to the world as a well clothed group.

13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.

22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes. (Proverbs 31:13, 22-24)

The chapter goes on to say in verse 30 that “beauty is fleeting.”  So should we value beauty or not??

Here is my opinion.  As always, my opinion evolves as I age and grow.  At this point in my life, my goal is to make sure my family dresses well.  I want everyone to have clothing that is clean, fits well, looks attractive, and is modest in nature.  My husband and I must look professional for our careers, so we pay attention to our closets.  We don’t spend a lot of money on clothing, but stores like TJ Maxx and Target keep us clothed.

We all know that when we see people whose clothing doesn’t fit, who appear dirty, and those who look disheveled, we form an opinion about them.  The Proverbs 31 woman tried to promote her husband’s social status by ensuring that her family was clothed well.  To me, that doesn’t mean expensive, designer clothing, but it does mean clean and neat.

What about the hair, make-up, nails, and jewelry?  As with anything else, an obsession with it would detract from our relationship with God.  We cannot spend our lives worrying about looking perfect.  It won’t happen.  We are created to look different, individualized.  We should embrace our differences and our features.

Having said that, there are times when I go to the expense of nice jewelry, professional hair coloring (shh…) and cut, and get my nails done.  My husband works in a world where looks do matter to many of his clients.  To some of his clients, appearances show a social status.  In order to make my husband look good, I need to look good. ( I know, rough life when my husband is forced to pay for a manicure for me!)

I remember hearing stories as a child of churches who wouldn’t allow women to wear jewelry.  I know there are sects of Christians who still believe and practice this.  They do not allow make-up or professional hair and nail services.  I disagree with them.  I do not believe that God considers valuing the way we look as a sin.  Only when we put beauty ahead of Him or treat others poorly based upon their appearances will God become angry with us.

I know this is a touchy subject.  I could go on to discuss weight and our family’s journey to fitness, but I will save that for another post!

Blessings!