American culture is obsessed with outward appearance; as Christians, we should be obsessed with the heart.
I recently met Jana, a girl who is going to be living in America for one year as an au pair nanny. She said, "Getting a chance to live in America was like a dream." Now that she has been here for almost a year, I was curious about her perspective on America.
Jana described America as a place where, "Everyone appears to be living in a fantasy in the public eye, but they are depressed and unhappy when they are at home." She said, "All of the girls (old or young) seem to put so much focus on their outward appearance." She also said, "I feel like I am a normal size when I am in Germany. When I come here, even the moms with two kids are skinnier than me." Obviously not everyone is that way, but from her experience in America, that's what she has seen.
Jana wanted so badly to fit the typical American girl stereotype that she had her hair bleached right before she came. She told me that she wasn't any happier and she didn't feel any prettier with her bleached blonde hair.
Jana reminds me that we are a nation obsessed with finding satisfaction in ourselves. In order to be happy and beautiful, we are told we must have the whitest teeth, tannest skin, most perfect body, and perfect hair. I explained to Jana that as a Christian, I don't find my security in my outward appearance or my wealth. I described what Jesus did for me on the cross and how I strive to find all of my worth in and through Him. I shared with her Proverbs 31:30, which says, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." I explained how man looks to the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.
My worth isn't in my outward appearance and how much people like or dislike me. My worth is found in Jesus, who loved me so much that He died for me. He is where I find my satisfaction. I know that if I tried to be the skinniest, tannest, tallest, or the sexiest, I would never feel totally satisfied.
I have to make sure I remember the words of Proverbs 31:30. I have to remember that my true beauty actually comes from my heart. I can cultivate a beautiful life by spending time every day in the Bible with Jesus. I can pray and thank God for all of the many blessings He has already given me. I can thank Him for the things in my life that I don't understand. I can find passages in the Bible and memorize them to help me stay focused on the truth.
Do you look and act any different than the typical American stereotype Jana described above?
Where do you look to find your worth?
As Christians, let's look and act differently from the world. Remember, you are a reflection of Christ. What kind of reflection will you be?
Contributed by Bethany Baird