Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ugly or Gorgeous?

I was reading a comment thread over at Traditional Chrisitanity and it sparked this blog. 

Women have bought into the lie of "Ugly or Gorgeous"?  When I was the new kid in a ritzy school, I got targeted by some mini-socialites, and they used to play a game with me where they'd come up and ask if I thought that I was ugly or gorgeous.  I remember looking at them and saying, "Pretty".  But that wasn't an okay answer.  Honestly, I was realistic about my looks (minus my grooming, which needed help, as does most 6th graders'). 

By the time I'd spent three years with that crew (not by choice), I'd been pretty well convinced that I was ugly after all.  And I gave up.  Gave up trying.  I was just going to cover myself from head to toe and try not to be noticed.  It took my husband a year and a half of compliments to get me out of that rut. 

Most of the women that I see seem to have chosen up sides.  They either choose to go full throttle to display their sexuality and all of their wares - or they give up and wear what amounts to men's clothing.  There are very few women who walk the line now, who know how to be beautiful.

This is sad.  Very few women look good in either the full display or the men's clothing.  Some do, certainly... but they're few and far between.  Most women's looks are improved by a bit of lipgloss, a ribbon or two, and clothing made to accentuate their curves.  Women generally look more feminine and attractive while wearing colors.

Why do we have to be sure of winning every prize in order to get up and play the game at all?

This is not a win/lose game.  It's a continuum... and every day calls a different face to the fore.

To Be Lovely...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dignity: The Daughter of the King

If we are Christians, then we are daughters of the King.  How does a Princess of the Realm act?

Well, she doesn't act like a "princess", that's for sure.  I got tired of typing "daughter of the King" out in my first draft, but "princess"... that calls up a whole pile of nonsense and untruth.  Because there is no way that I'm acting like a member of my Father's family if I'm being prissy or egotistical or refusing to do what needs doing. 

I could go on for hours about what it doesn't mean, but I'm pretty sure we're all clear about that.  What does it mean?

It means noblesse oblige and acting with honor.  Helping those around you and treating everyone with dignity.  Fully completing your contracts, giving 100% and never shirking. 

It means working from a place of strength.  This is... misunderstandable.   A princess isn't a princess because of herself, she's a princess because her daddy is the king.   So are we - we are daughters of God because of God, not because of *us* - but that doesn't make us worms.   We have been raised up, changed, made into new creations - because He chose that for us.

Dignity and honor should be our watchwords.  Are we acting with honor, in a way that will bring praise to our Father?  Are we inhabiting our dignity, resting in the certainty of who we are as new creations?

There is no shame in being as pretty as we are.  Last time I checked, I didn't specify the width of my cheekbones prior to being born.  Did you?  Just because we aren't supposed to be flippertigibbits, obsessed with externals, doesn't mean we can't get up, get pretty, and go on with our day.  In fact, there's no shame in inhabiting whatever we've been made stewards over.  Got a great house?  No shame!

I feel like I personally have shackled myself by not wanting to fully inhabit who I am.  I've hidden my intellect (and let it get sloppy and sad thereby), I've hidden my looks (and gotten fat), I've hidden my creativity (and let my fingers get slow).  I second guess and self-castigate and... on and on and ON. 

I'm done now.  It's time to get up, put on the mantle that I've been *given*, and wear it.  I didn't make myself, I didn't save myself, I didn't sanctify myself - so standing up straight doesn't say anything about ME - it says something about my Father.  "I'm not worthy" - well, no, I'm not.  And?  I've been made new in Christ, and it's time to start acting like it.  I don't have to shame myself to continually remind myself of my unworthy nature - because that's twisted pride.  That's putting the focus on my weaknesses, not His strengths. Jesus freed me from those chains, and I've been carrying them around like a security blanket. 

And what does that have to do with a blog about loveliness?  Everything. I can't be lovely if I'm whacking myself with the shame stick.   *I* didn't make myself pretty, God did.  Hiding that is ... refusing the gift I've been given.   It's taking away from my husband, who is entitled to a pretty wife.  It's taking away from part of who I am.

Is it all of who I am?  No.  Sure I write a blog about this, but I spend a substantially larger portion of my day in the kitchen than in front of my mirror, or even in front of my sewing machine.

I am a new creation.  I am a daughter of the King.  I am lovely, because He made me.