According to http://www.georgiasbdc.org,
- Teenagers spend an average of $80-$120 on themselves each week. Young women (ages 12-24) out-buy all other age groups when it comes to haircare, skincare, cosmetics, and fragrances (Source: “Junior League”by Kelley Donahue. American Salon, January 2000).
- When polled, a majority (63%) of medium-to-large-size salons owners and managers indicated that the number of men using their salons have increased. Men are requesting hair, skin, nail, and body treatments, and 41 percent of them purchase retail products at a salon. (Source: “Hair-raising Truths” by Regina Molaro. Global Cosmetic Industry, April 2001).
What does all of this mean??? It means that our culture is caught in a vortex of poor self-images, that we believe can only be fixed by applying things to, or permanently changing things on, the outside! I read somewhere (all over the web) of retailers, Ambercrombie and Fitch being one of them, who were planning to, or were actively involved in selling padded bras to 8 year old little girls. What was soooo sad about this is that 8 year old little girls do NOT buy their own clothing…their moms do!! So while this appeared to target the little girls, it really targeted the mothers of the little girls who were so consumed with appearing perfect on the outside, while all of the their grossly superficial insecurities were being passed on to their daughters. Did you watch the video above? While many of us may see a problem with the trends shown in the video, we may also feel powerless to do anything about it. But we are not powerless!!! We have influence in the lives of young girls everywhere. What will we do with it? Will we shake our heads as they walk by, or while they discuss their ‘plans’, or will we intervene and begin to teach and model the confidence we have found in Christ? I have a question for you!! This is serious and the answer is yes or no only!!!
Like many women, I spent many years struggling with my ‘self-image’. I waisted sooooo much time worrying about what people would think if I wore this, or what they would say if I did that. One of the freedoms I am soooooo thankful to have found in Christ, is the all-consuming desire to live my life to please only Him, and I am thankful that this is what I choose to pass on to my daughters. It is very liberating to get up in the morning and get dressed with what pleases him in mind. When I do this, I know that not only am I pleasing the Lord, but that my husband will be pleased, and I will not be a stumbling block to other brothers and sisters in Christ. You talk about FREEDOM!!! Living a life rooted in a desire to please God more than anything is definitely the way to live!
As I continue to talk to young and old women who struggle with self-esteem issues, and confidence issues, just as I did, I am repeatedly struck by one common thread. These issues stem from a fear of what other people think, or of how they’re perceived. In all of the depressed comments, and borderline paranoia, and obsession with appearance, I haven’t heard many, if any, mention being concerned about what God thinks about them. When I ask questions like;
- What do you think God thinks about your attitude?
- What do you think God thinks about your choice in clothing?
- What do you think God thinks about your conversation?
the answers are very melancholy or non-descriptive. But when asked what do others think, the answers are very descriptive and shared with great emphasis. One obviously has a greater impact than the other. Which one has the greatest impact on you? Are you more concerned about what people think about you, or about gaining the approval of others, or what the Lord thinks and gaining His approval. What motivates you most when you get dressed, or when you choose friends? What about in how you relate to your husband, or how you parent your children? What about how you spend money or what clothes you buy or where you shop? Is it pleasing God or pleasing man?
There are many, I’m afraid, who sit in our churches, or our social groups every week who have no idea what God thinks, or what He would or would not approve of. You might be thinking that this is because they just don’t know what His thoughts are, but I think it’s because they don’t read His Word (which would be why they don’t know what His thoughts are). But then I ask, why don’t they? Most of these women have or had parents who served in church, or who are pastors/leaders, they have grown up in Sunday School where they were taught Gods Word since the were old enough to be dropped off there. Why wouldn’t they know what God’s Word says about them? And if they know, why wouldn’t they believe it? And if they believe it, why wouldn’t they obey it? Then I realize, it’s not that we don’t know, it’s that the voice of cultural influence all around us drowns it out. We have been unable to hear it…to believe it…to obey it… because we are listening more closely to the culture than we are to the Christ! The loud, boisterous, vulgar, bewitching voices of the culture drown out the Still Small Voice of the Lord, except to those whose primary desire is to hear His voice. So, I ask, what do you desire most? Seek Him until your answers mirrors the words of the Psalmist… “I desire you more than anything”.