Of Standards and Rubies
Society. It bombards us all with ideas and routines about how to run our lives, how to dress, how to manage our bank accounts and how we look. Everyday we see advertisements with young women with glowing skin, toned legs and flawless hair, their smiles perfect and all we can think about is: why can't I look just like that? Society wants what is perfect and that means living up to their standards. What exactly are their standards? You might ask. Well, here's a few. According to " Modelingwisdom.com" the standards are:
1. The typical age for models is from 16 to 21 years old. This is why you don't see many older women, because companies like Victoria's Secret and Gap want their models to be youthful, therefore enhancing their beauty. No big deal with that, right?
2. Height is around 5'9" and 6'. That narrows down the amount of women that are usually seen as beautiful in society's eyes. The average height for women is 5'2" to 5'5".
3. Busts should be no smaller or bigger than 32"- 36", while the waist is 22-26" and the hips are 33-36" in width. The average woman's waist and bust measurements are 36"-34"-36".
Now that we have those three standards in front of us, let us look at the unending battle of what the ideal weight is. Constantly we are attacked with our body image- especially young teens entering into high school and growing into adulthood. Our bodies are changing, there will be weight gain here and there and some lost too, so having an ideal weight that you're supposed to stick with is almost impossible. It was for me anyways. But as a teenager, it's very difficult not to look at the screen and see the flat stomachs of bikini models or the long endless legs of the Victoria's Angels as they strut their way across the posters in the mall and not think that we are supposed to be replicas. As teenage girls that's all we see, everywhere. We push it away for a while until we start to look around and that specific body type is the only body type we see. We start to wonder and ask ourselves Why do I look different? or why is my hair not as pretty as theirs. We get so caught up in the fact that we should look like that, that we make ourselves mentally and physically ill.
When I was 13, I felt like I was overweight. I ate constantly and had no self control and one day, out of the blue, I decided to change that. So, I started running every day. I built it up one day at a time, to build a healthy lifestyle. I ate better, stayed hydrated and drank less soft drinks and the pounds slowly went away. Being a young girl, hearing her mother talk about weight loss highly, made me start to like it. I felt accomplished and successful with the running that I had been doing. Then suddenly, I took a nosedive right after I turned 15. Once I had heard of this "great" new diet called purging, I decided to give it a try. I had no idea what I was getting into, but I did it anyways. I restricted my diet, confined what I ate and how much I ate. Slowly, I started to see nothing but unattainable pictures of what I thought I needed to be. I wanted to be thin because to me, thin was beautiful; it was perfection. I critiqued everything about me and that turned into self-hatred, anxiety, depression and low self esteem. I would eat nothing for days, did exercises for hours and hours, laying freezing baths, just to burn fat. Something that was meant to be a healthy lifestyle turned into an addiction that was sucking the life right out of me. At first no one could tell, but as my ribs started to show and my eyes sunk into my skull, people started to notice. At that point I was sick, sick in the head and in body. At a tiny one hundred and five pounds and losing, I had become anorexic. Anorexia controlled my life, what I ate, how I reacted to people, how I looked at other girls. Anorexia is a very serious Eating Disorder and is one of the most well known. Nationaleatingdisorders.org says that over 20 million women suffer from clinically significant eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa. More than half of these are young girls. By age six, little girls start looking at the way their bodies are shaped, and 40%- 60% of elementary girls start becoming self conscious about the way they look! They carry these thoughts through life well into adulthood. Also, anorexia nervosa kills. Half the time, from the actual physical illness, or by suicide because the pain of the depression caused by the disorder is too much and too overwhelming.
This is the definition of beauty in society's eyes. Thin, sick and frail. An unidentifiable portrait of what women are supposed to be like, when in truth, we are not supposed to be clones of each other, we are made to be different, to be special. Beauty in society's eyes is a perfect portrait of what sin does to a person, people think it's okay to be like this. Others think it's beautiful, but in reality it's a destructing disease that kills of the people it affects one by one.
God's idea of beauty is totally different. He made us in His image, so everyone of us are beautiful. We don't need to be a certain size or wear a certain brand. The Word of God says that in 1st Peter 3:3-4: " Your beauty should not come from the outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."
What is this verse saying? It's saying none of the things we wear or the way that we do our make up matters to God, but what DOES matter is the beauty of our hearts and the unfading beauty of our spirits that God loves the most. He doesn't see what men see, He only sees what actually matters. When you look at yourself in the mirror and see freckles on your nose, or a birthmark on your arm, it doesn't mean that you're ugly. God put that there because it's what makes you, you. You are God's handiwork like it says in Ephesians 2:10, there is no one like you, at all. You are the only you that could ever be you, because God made you that way, and that way you will stay forever because in his eyes no one could ever be as beautiful as you are right now. There's a verse that talks about this. It's a well known verse: " I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (Psalm 139:14). You are not a mistake. God knew what he was doing when He made you. He made you in His hands, and He knew you in your mother's womb. He made you perfect according to Song of Solomon 4:7: " You are altogether beautiful, my darling, there is no flaw in you." There is nothing wrong with the type of body type you are, or how your skin looks, or how your hair is wavy in some parts and straight in others, or that you don't look like a fitness guru. You are precious, invaluable.
"She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her." - Psalms 31:15
Nothing can be compared to you, so stop comparing yourself to others. You are more stunning than all the most beautiful jewels in the world, so why try to be like women who are photoshopped anyways? Your heart matters more to God than your appearance.
In today's world, physical attributes matter when it comes to relationships and love. The women with the biggest assets and best smile always get the guy, when the girl with blotchy skin and a quiet demeanor get anything but being noticed. If you're not "pretty", you won't get a date. Simpe as that, but God didn't plan it that way. He planned it to be pure, true and as beautiful as His love is for us. In Genesis, it tells us that God gave Adam (the very first man) a wife, Eve. We don't know what she looked like, but we know that Adam loved her. He needed a helpmate, a soulmate, and that's exactly what he got. He didn't turn to God and say:" Make me another, she is not beautiful enough for me." or: " Her body is not skinny enough." No, he trusted in God's choice, because all creation is beautiful, meaning Eve as well. That relationship was not built on how well her looks or his looks were, but on the need for a spouse, and the desire to love and be loved. It is not any different today, but our eyes have been blinded by sin and greed, and lust for things that we think are good when the whole time God has a plan for us to find love in His way and timing. God's goal isn't to get the men a trophy wife he can put on a pedastol or to get women a husband who looks like a greek god so she can brag about his physique to other women. His goal for our lives and our relationships is to find a Godly spouse, to find a pure and unending love in someone who loves the Lord first, and in that, gives of themselves to love their betrothed with the love of Christ just as Ephesians 5:25 and 28-29 says: " Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." (28:) " In the same way husbands love their wives. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church." Physical assets is not the main focus in a relationship, it shoulder NEVER be the focus. The main focus should be loving your significant other with the love of Christ, because in no other way can you love a person.
Peer pressure. It's everywhere. In schools, universities, workplaces, in the home- it even happens in the church. You name it and peer pressure is there. The pressure to be like a certain person, to become something that you are not, to wear certain things or maybe even doing something that others think is cool just to fit in. Teenagers in highschool do it all the time, I should know. I see it enough. I have been through it myself, which is the reason why I had become anorexic. Girls and boys alike suffer from peer pressure and cannot seem to just ignore it and head around with their lives. they think they must be apart of the crowd and fit in perfectly like a piece in a huge highschool jigsaw puzzle. They must look the same, weigh the same, and be exactly alike. The stress and panic of not being able to fit in and thinking you're too different to become "cool" so people will like you, brings the self esteem of the person way down and when others start to bully for not being just like them it hurts even worse. 85% of the time bullying and peer pressure and the frantic agony of wanting to fit in drives teenagers to self mutilation, depression, and in some cases, suicide. Again, God didn't make us to fit a mold. He made us to shine in this dark world, to go against the grain and become something not many people are.
We are people, but all different. A race of man with many different faces and talents. If everyone strived to look the same, be the same, walk the same and sound the same, do you know how confusing that would be? We are a body that has many members. 1st Corinthians 12: 14-20 says this:
"For the body doesn't consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say,"Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, " Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As is it, many parts, yet one body."
If everyone were the exact same, where would the diversity be? God chose to make us different because He is an artist. If an artist painted the same painting over and over again, it would be quite boring. But He isn't like that, He made us different for a perfect reason. Just because you don't look like someone or do something as good the next person doesn't mean that you aren't needed. You are needed, and wanted by a God who loves you just the way you are. You are the apple of His eye and he adores every little detail and attribute that you have. You are loved beyond measure and that will never change, no matter how you look, or where you are in life. To Him, you are priceless, and beautiful. And you mean everything to Him.
"Behold you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful!"- Song of Songs 4:1.