Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Big Enough Lie

"It is amazing how complete is the
delusion
that beauty is goodness.”
― Leo Tolstoy,
The Kreutzer Sonata

Somewhere, at some point in my life (and I'm not even sure I could tell you exactly when that point was), the lie that my worth as a person is based on how pretty I am was told to my heart. Did I believe it at first? Maybe. I don't know because I can't remember. But slowly, over time, that lie began to wrap itself around my heart and intertwine itself with the very fabric of my soul.

It's easy to believe. After all, the lie is reinforced by what we see and hear in magazines, catalogues, TV, and movies. Air-brushed pictures of perfection meet us at every newsstand in the grocery store. Make-up companies promise flawless complexions, lingerie companies vow an irresistible sex appeal, clothing companies swear an instant boost to self-esteem, hair products guarantee silken tresses, herbal products promise a beach body in a single dose pill, toothpaste companies insist that their whitening products make for a better smile, and don't even get me started on push-up bras...and I, for one, have believed them all. Somehow, I have come to believe that if only I looked (fill in the blank here: my hair was shinier, my skin was smoother, I was thinner, my clothes were better, my nose was smaller,  my skin was tan, my hair was blond, my eyes more blue, my teeth whiter, my smile straighter...I could go on and on) then I would feel beautiful. Then I would be completely satisfied and happy; complete.

After some time passed, I began to accept this lie as truth. I started to act as if it was truth, and I allowed my thoughts to be influenced. As I got older, I actually told myself these same lies, over and over, until I couldn't tell the difference between the truth and the lie. I had bought into these lies hook, line and sinker, and my behavior proved it. I couldn't go anywhere without make-up on. My hair color changed every six weeks. I got blue contacts even though my eyes are already blue.  I whitened my teeth, use self-tanner (I admit I think this is actually one of the best inventions ever because I am a pasty white without it).  But I couldn't see my worth because I did not measure up to what I thought was beautiful.

The lie is one that is so common in our society that hardly anyone, save a few brave souls, is even aware that we are being mislead. It's like a modern version of the Pied Piper, where we are lured into thinking that beauty will make us happy, and we go happily skipping along with the story, with no awareness of the cost involved.

Google images

Now it's time to call a spade a spade, because now I am aware that I have believed and accepted as truth something that is very simply this: FALSE.

My worth is not determined by anything or anyone other than my Heavenly Father, and I can be "confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6).

God, the definition of Beauty, created me, and He created me with a purpose (...I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Exodus 9:16). When I allow Him to work through me, then His beauty will shine through me like the noonday sun, and I will find that my security and confidence lies with Him. It comes from a realization that He is the answer and from a dependence on Him for what I need. There is a God-shaped hole in my heart, and no amount of make-up, white teeth or beautiful clothes will fill it. Only He can fill it, and then I will be satisfied and happy; complete.


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