Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Improvements & Repairs

What would you say if I told you I was thinking about getting acrylic nails? Nothing too flashy, just some tips to extend the length of my nail, not too long, with a french manicure. Would you say:

a) Good for you! You go girl!
b) You should be happy with the nails the good Lord gave you. Sinner!
c) Why is she blogging about this?

Now, what if it wasn't nails. What if I told you I was going to wash that gray right out of my hair? Or perhaps put in some highlights to give me that "sun-kissed" look. "Go girl!" or "Sinner!"?

What if it was Botox I was about to get? What if I was going to "express myself" (as the Botox commercial tag line says) by rendering my forehead unable to make an expression? Do I still get a "Go Girl!" or am I crossing some line into the unacceptable?

What if I'm getting a nose job? Would it make a difference if I had a nose the size of Alfred Hitchcock...or just my not model material but not awful nose? Would one qualify me for a "Go Girl!" while the other is a "Sinner!"?

What if it was breast implants I was getting. Surely now I've fallen into the sinner category. I mean those things just sexualize women, don't they? I mean its one thing to be blessed with big breasts, but if you have small ones you should just be happy with what the good Lord gave you.

Now let's say I told you my daughter is getting braces. (She's a little young for that now, but let's pretend she's older). I'll bet you'd give me a "Go Girl." But why shouldn't we just be happy with the teeth the good Lord gave her?

Why are some improvements in the "Go Girl" category, while others we may think fall into the "Sinner" category. Or maybe you're still answering "Why is she blogging about this?" Well, I'd love to hear your opinions. This can be a hot topic among woman, so I ask that you comment politely. And if you'd like to share about any improvements you've had, feel free to comment anonymously.

As for me, I'm not really considering any of those improvements, per se. Although I have already had some of them in the past. Which ones? Only my hairdresser knows for sure! (as well as my plastic surgeon, nail tech, dermatologist and orthodontist!) *wink, wink*

Psalm 139:14 -- I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Proverbs 31:30 -- Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

1 Corinthians 6: 19,20 -- Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.


The Patterson 5 said...

Well.... I think most of these issues are personal ones. What one person veiws as a sin may not be a sin to another. Example the traditional jewish Christians did not eat pork while Gentiles did. Traditional Jewish Christians were circumcised- Gentiles were not. Neither were wrong nor in need of making sure the others did right. I also think these are personal issues or heart issues. Is improving your outward appearance helping you to feel more confident and more able to do the job God put in your heart to do? What's in your heart?

Also I think all of these things should escape judgement from us (people). Only God knows beauty seekers hearts and He is working from within them, molding them into who they are to be. Why should we be concerned with judging their motives?

I hope I didn't sound harsh- I don't mean too!

Personally I like to go for the occasional pedicure and I have had acrylic nails in the past. They are fun! I highlight my hair and color it too (after that time I did it myself and it turned red a couple of years ago) :)

Truth4thejourney said...

In the eternal scheme of things, none of this is important, at all. But we are a judgemental group, us christians.

If your insecurity can be fixed and it will help your self esteem, go for it, and then get into the word of God and find out what God says about you. We really should be satisfied with ourselves because our worth should be found in God. Unfortunately, we were born sinners and we are quite saturated with the word. Appearance is important to us?? Go figure.

Yes, I've done the fake nails, and I LOVED them. But they got to be a hassle so I let them go. :)


Truth4thejourney said...

I actually meant to type, we are quite saturated with the WORLD, not word. While the latter is better, it's not usually the case. Sorry! Amazing how a little slip of the finger can confuse things. :)

Sue J said...

Sonya, we can still be saturated with the Word and sin--but we got what you meant :-)

(Sigh) This is one of those topics that truly does get women going. Every time I do something to "fix" my looks, I do it for the wrong reasons. Most of the time, it's peer pressure (sisters can be especially convincing).

There's a big difference between improvements and repairs, too. I had braces to fix an overbite, which could have caused medical problems for me down the line with eating and such. Later on, when I had a tooth discoloration issue that could be fixed, I said no--much to my parents' dismay--because I didn't find that to be important.

Those Biblical passages on "inner beauty" spoke a great deal to me, even at an early age. You form perceptions about beauty early on from many different directions. I was not considered outwardly beautiful by peers growing up, and teased. At the same time, these words from the Bible were brought alive for me, and I have held onto them.

I don't condemn people for having these things done, though I probably do some head-shaking at the excesses some people will go to to "make" themselves beautiful. I don't understand it because it wasn't something I came to accept as a need-to-do. I try to see through to people's hearts, their character, what makes them unique on the inside.

A want-to-do? Try-and-do? Just for fun? Something different for a time? But not to be better beyond the work that the Lord is perfecting.

Chatty Kelly said...

I believe the same insecurities that causes a woman to "have work" done - - are the insecurities that causes us judge them!

That is the case with me, anyway. Why should I care if someone has a perfect (cosmetically altered) appearance? Because I am jealous.

I need to get the speck out of my own eye, before judging the plank in someone elses. (Matthew 7:1-6)

Good feedback so far! Thanks for commenting.

My ADHD Me said...

I like this post! I never thought about it like this. What about even temporary "fixes"? Mascara? Eye Liner? HARLOT!
What about overweight people that get Lyposuction? (spelling?)Maybe for health reasons but maybe because they are unhappy with the way they look.
People that keep their weight managed with little or no effort may say those people are lazy or just won't use moderation. But who knows how hard that person may or may not have tried to lose weight? Think about how good we feel about ourselves if we lose 5 or 10 pounds. As a self proclaimed yo-yo dieter, I know that when I gain weight I feel bad about myself, don't want to go out as much and generally will avoid eye contact with people. But when I lose those extra pounds I feel SO much better....mentally AND physically.
Nose job? Breast implants? Botox? If it makes you (you = people in general) feel better about yourself then I don't see a problem with it. And yes, moderation is the with most things.
Now please excuse me while I go "wash that gray right out of my hair!".
P.S. Note to anyone considering acrylic nails....beautiful, but a hassle while fighting fire.

Sue J said...

And, if I'm judging people AT ALL, even in my own head, for things they do, then I have my own plank to deal with....

We could have a very popular book about this very issue, but that would be clarifying the best book on the subject that's already been written!

On Purpose said...

Wow this is a great discussion here today. And perfect timing for me to be reading as I am working on a session about Being Real.

My "2 cents"'s between you and your Creator, only you and Him know your heart!

Beverlydru said...

I am also in the camp that says "it's personal." However, I confess I found myself saddened when just last month a friend of my daughter's had a breast enhancement at age 18. So young.

Starr said...

WOW! I've never really thought of it that way. As a hairdresser, I must say, if it can be done in a salon, I've probably done it!! And, I did wear braces, too. true Confessions!! Oh My!

I try not to judge anypne when they get "enhancements" done. I think it is between them and God. But, I do wonder when someone gets too many elective surgeries done if maybe they have some deeper emotional issues they need to take care of first.
As long as they aren't tryoing to fill some sort of emotional need and it is safe for them to do it, then I guess it's ok.
Love and Blessings,

My Army Brats and Me said...

Thanks for stoping by. After feeling like was falling apart. I now feel surrounded by Godly people. Thank you for praying. I am ready to beat this cancer and get on with my life.

Jenny said...

Yea, we actually have had this conversation with gauges (some kind of weird to me earring thingy.) Meghan wants one and I think it is crazy but she keeps saying things like in the old days earrings made you a sinner. And make-up.

It is a tight rope, and we need to make sure we are letting the Holy Spirit be our harness.

Edie said...

Great question CK. I don't think I'll say anything that someone else hasn't already said. The Pharisees were devout rule-followers that believed their actions made them righteous. Jesus taught that sin is a heart issue.

None of these things in your list are biblically a "sin" in themselves, but the reason (or motive) behind the behavior or decision could be a sin.

Yes the bible says we are fearfully and wonderfully made, but a lot of people have a hard time believing that. The unbelief of what God says to be true is sin, and a decision that stems from this heart-set will not bring the desired result. The heart needs to be healed. The same goes for decisions that try to satisfy pride, greed, lust, rebellion, etc.

1. I have had acryic nails. They look pretty but ruin your own nails.
2. I color my hair.
3. Botox - Too dangerous in my opinion. My daughter is in favor of this. She has always complained about those forehead lines.
4. Had a nose job. The opportunity presented itself and I said "Sure, let's do it." That's really the way it happened. I worked in an ENT office at the time. The only time in my life I have ever had a broken bone and I paid someone for it! :)

kara said...

Hmm. I am actually reading a book with my small group that addresses a lot of these issues and the issues women face in general. John and Staci Eldredge's book: Captivating, Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul. It's a good read and it really helps solidify that beauty is within ourselves, as beautiful children of God. That being said...I agree with the previous comments that if improving your outward appearance helps you feel more confident on the inside and allows you to open your heart to God and love those around be it.
I'm a highlighting, pedicure participant, non-braces wearing child of God. And He knows the work that is being done on both the inside and outside of me!

Jessica said...

Wow, great post. That's why I think we should just stick with what the Bible says is sin. Besides, we can't judge people's hearts and stuff. I mean, is makeup sinful? LOL, there are Christian groups who believe so.
A very good post. Breast implants are definitely temptations after three kids. . . lol.
Very interesting!
I think many of you are right on when you say it's a heart thing.
Yes our bodies are special, holy vessels. But the key word is vessel. These bodies will fail and return to dust and the things we do to our bodies? Gone.
But our hearts/souls? That's forever. It's probably a good idea to check motivations on really permanent things, but I certainly don't think there's anything wrong with desiring to be attractive.

The Ballinger Family said...

Amen! I think that if you are not happy with something on your body, and the Lord gives you peace about it....then who am I to say you shouldn't?
Good post!

Pennies In My Pocket said...

What a great topic. I am a Christian and I have had fake nails. I miss them...had them for years. Haven't had anything else 'done', but one thing I've learned from life is to NEVER say never and to not judge others. I have a close friend who got a boob job for personal reasons. Her business NOT mine. Without going too much into it, I support her for her reasons and they surely weren't sinful reasons at all.

God knows our hearts and that's what is important. Different people do different things for all sorts of reasons...I believe the heart of a person's decision to alter themselves is what the Lord will look at and as for me...I shouldn't judge and should only love.

This world is filled with so many sinful images. In my heart, I believe it's wrong to try to 'keep up' with the world. Big difference between trying to fit in with the world and trying to feel better about yourself. If something was bothering me to the core and I had prayed and prayed about it and felt the Lord's blessing on me 'fixing' it to help improve my self esteem then I would go for it. There isn't anything I would do without prayer though...lots of it. I will admit that plastic surgery scares me because of what could go wrong, but I can't say that I would never consider it although at one point in my life I said I would never consider it.

Thanks for stopping by my blog...yours is fabulous and I'll definitely be back! :-)


Julie Gillies said...

Hi Kelly,

As someone who has had six surgeries due to health reason (and not a single wrinkle or ounce of fat removed from ANY of them...sigh...) I can't imagine willingly going under the knife for something cosmetic. Probably because I know how HARD recovery is.

On the other hand, I got braces the year I turned 41; my front tooth was completely sideways and my bite was terribly misaligned.

I like what the British "What Not to Wear" women say: "Why have liposuction when one can wear inudstrial underwear and achieve the same results?" LOL

Michelle said...

thank you for your comment! I hope Kayla continues to get the support and services she needs to succeed :)

Interesting discussion here! I wouldn't judge someone for getting some of those cosmetic surgeries, but I sure couldn't see doing one for myself!

Bonita said...

This is a very thought provoking post, Kelly. I'd like to say that I've never judged anyone else who chose to go beyond just coloring hair (can't exactly judge someone else for that one if you know what I mean!), but the reality is that when people are different from us it's really easy to slip into judgment.

I don't think the issue is what is done, but the motive for it and only God and the person really know what that is. If someone is trying to fit in with the world or drawing attention to self then that would be a problem. If the person is merely trying to do some maintenance and upkeep on God's temple then that is different. I think if we're all honest we know we like to look good and we would probably all go to different lengths to do so.

Years ago when I was young and still looked like Barbie (almost) I had two friends that had breast reductions and I just couldn't believe they would do that to the body God had given them. Mind you I'd never had their problem or experienced the back pain and other associated symptoms that both complained of. I learned a valuable lesson about judging. While going through the prep process for the surgery they found cancer in one friend's breast. Had she not opted for that surgery the tests would never have been performed and she might have died of that cancer. That was at least 15 years ago and she's alive and well today.

What I thought was frivolous, God used to intervene and save her life. I much more cautious these days about deciding what is right for someone else.

Alyce said...

Its pretty interesting. I suppose its a personal preference and what an individual is actually truely convicted of. I have had fake nails, I have gotten my teeth bonded because I didn't like the gap I had, I get my eyebrows and lip waxed and hair colored every 8 weeks. I do not feel guilty over these things.I have 7 holes in my ears. My daughter has pierced ears (just one set). I am cool with all this. I have a friend that told me the other day she was considering closing her earring holes because she felt the Lord was telling her to, that He didn't put those piercings there. I can't judge and I can't question..I have to respect her. And I will.

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

Wow - I do believe this is definitely a hot button. I love those kind of discussions, and typically feel pretty strongly about them....yep, I do. :)

HisPrincess said...


I don't know how I feel about any of this. On the one hand I think "improving" on the Lord's work is a bit insulting, as if we can ever hope to better Him. But I can also see that feeling good about yourself is so important, and God gave us the brains to work this stuff out.

Like most have said it's personal, and not for us to judge.

Especially a fake nailed, hair highlighted person like me with a son with a mouth full of metal!

And to be honest, if I could afford it I would have liposuction in a heartbeat, but I choose to feed my children instead. Sigh. The sacrifices we make! ;)

Rebecca Ingram Powell said...

Good gravy, girlfriend!

I missed a great post! Loved all the discussion here!

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

I'm not going to read your other comments or I might be influenced.... but... I think it's between you and God. Think we need to learn to not be such people pleasers, but be God pleasers.

I probably have had my own thoughts when someone I know has went to "extremes," to beautfy? themself?... But... reading this today, I wouldn't throw any stones.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

LOVE that you addressed this. I've had this hot topic sitting in draft mode for months now. You may have in-couraged me to post! I appreciate that you are NOT judgmental. Having a personal opinion and not being judgmental are two different things. I knew I liked you.

Irritable Mother said...

OK, about the breast issue. What if God blessed you abundantly, but then your kids sucked the life out of them when you were a nursing mother? NO FAIR!!! Wah!
Seriously, I had a very hard time "coming to terms" with my new body after I was finished nursing - felt incredibly unfeminine and unattractive. It is a very good thing when we know our worth comes from God and not our breasts (or noses, or nails, or whatever) but sometimes it's hard to arrive at that place. I am so thankful for God's patience with me and His persistence in reminding who I am. His!