Remember that feeling you get after you’ve just had your hair done? You know the one.
You waited way too long to cut your hair, and now you’ve found someone who seems to be able to bring out the best in you, all by a few snips of the scissors. You walk out of the salon feeling like a queen, if for no other reason than the fact you’ve just gotten an hour to yourself without anyone else demanding your time!
For me, haircuts are one way I feel like I can help contribute to our family budget. I’ve been told you should get your haircut every six to eight weeks. But it’s not uncommon for me to go six months without one, just to try to cut down on our monthly expenses. I wouldn’t consider myself unkempt, but as a mom of two young kids, I can’t say I’m great at making personal upkeep my No. 1 priority.
Isn’t the dichotomy interesting?
When I do make it to the hairdresser, I feel so refreshed that I swear I’ll keep up with my regimen. But when I’ve worn sweat pants and ponytails for six months, it’s just as easy to rationalize that my appearance isn’t really all that important, and it has no effect on who I am or what I do.
The truth is that our entire self is a reflection of who we are and what we believe. While I agree that either extreme is unhealthy, God desires for us to take care of ourselves.
Since most of us can’t afford a personal stylist or professional masseuse on a regular basis, how can we take care of ourselves properly, especially in this economy?
Let me suggest a couple ways to capture that “fresh from the salon” feeling every day.
No. 1 Start with the inside
Start and end your day in God’s Word. The Bible repeatedly extols the virtues of rising before dawn and going before God. I’m not saying you need to do a full Bible study before the sun comes up.
But maybe you can try to offer up a sincere prayer after your alarm goes off, read over Scripture you’ve written on your bathroom mirror or thank God for your family and friends pictured on your refrigerator door!
The point is, get the focus off of yourself and onto God and others. When we become too self-involved, vanity, pride and even anxiety can plague us. Starting your day by setting your mind and heart on Christ will create an inner glow that others can’t help but notice.
On the same plane, allow God to be the last thing that enters your sight and mind before falling asleep. I’ve been known to fall asleep with the TV on, and, inevitably, I have these crazy dreams that interrupt my sleep and leave me feeling unrefreshed the next morning. It’s no secret how important sleep is to our beauty and overall health. I make every attempt to meditate on Scripture, read a portion of a Christian book or write in my prayer journal before falling asleep so those thoughts are the last things lingering in my mind as I drift off.
Try it for yourself, and see if you don’t notice a difference!
No. 2 Rediscover yourself
For years after recommitting myself to the Lord, I lived with a martyr mentality. I wanted to somehow prove to God that external things were not hindering my internal walk, when in fact, that attitude became an idol itself! Many people I love have even grown up in communities where legalism reigned and 1 Peter 3:3–4 was taken out of context.
The verse says, “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”
When you read these verses in context, you find that beauty must first and foremost come from within. But just as the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart (Matt 22:34), outward beauty ought to be a reflection of what lies within us as well. Therefore, it only makes sense that outward appearance should not be seen as a distraction, but rather as an enhancement of our spiritual selves.
While a judgment about someone’s faith should not ever be made solely on outward appearances, I can say confidently that God never intended for us to make what we wear more important than how we wear it.
In recent years, I went to extremes to change my apparel, but I wasn’t being myself. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t sticking out in the crowd or drawing gasps from passersby. Quite contrarily, my exuberant and colorful self was thrown by the wayside as I dressed in a manner I thought a mom, wife and Christian should dress: Plain and subdued.
However, I feel like my own testimony was hindered because I wasn’t being true to how God created me.
Your clothes and appearance should be an external reflection of the internal light God has birthed within you. Wearing the right clothes in the right way should enhance who you are as a child of God and, in a sense, become a non-issue. A good outfit will actually disappear on you, allowing people to listen to what you say rather than focus on what you’re wearing.
So what does all this mean? Paying more attention to yourself should actually make people notice you less? When everything is working together, your spiritual self and your physical self should marry and become one amazingly beautiful and confident entity. Mind you, the end result will look a little different on everyone. But it should ultimately result in the same thing: A beautiful woman on the inside and out, who is grounded in who she is in Christ and proud to share that knowledge and hope with others.
Remember, “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b).
You can e-mail Samara Cone at SamiJCone@yahoo.com.