Friday, December 28, 2007

Created Beautiful - Chapter 1

Advertising companies have found - based on research - that including a beautiful woman in an ad increases the amount of time a person spends looking at the ad by 14 - 30%!!

Holy cow! No wonder every magazine ad, television ad and billboard has a woman on it! When I think about this I realize that I probably stop and look at the ads with the women in them, too. Why? I wondered this while I was reading through this chapter - why would I - a woman - stop to look at another woman? Is it to compare myself to her? I don't really think so. I'm pretty aware of the fact that these women are airbrushed and photoshopped to perfection for the print ads - so why do I stop and look?

I think we all are interested in beauty - its pleasing to the eye, it makes us feel good. Right now, it is snowing and I cannot tear my eyes away from the freshly fallen snow in my backyard - it is beautiful. But days ago, when it was old, melting snow I couldn't turn away fast enough (no need to remind myself of the swamp back there and the mess that would be brought into the house by the Woof). What is it that captivates us so much that we stop and look at these ads, stop and watch the snow, read pointless entertainment magazines, etc. Beauty - it captivates us and holds our attention. Even for small periods of time...

What makes a woman beautiful vs. a man? I think we can agree that there are some really good looking men out there - but are they beautiful in the same way that a woman is just inherently beautiful? Women are curvier, their features are softer and gentler to the eye, skin and hair are smoother and softer looking. Somehow we find these things beautiful without really being taught that they are... so is it a woman's weight, figure, hair that makes her beautiful or is simply because she is a woman? I think it is the latter - although women do A LOT to try to improve upon their inherent beauty.

One scripture passage that is explored in this chapter is Song of Songs 7:1-9. If you read through this you find that Solomon finds the following features of his wife beautiful: feet, legs, navel, waist, breasts, neck, eyes, nose, head, hair, stature, breath, and mouth. He doesn't talk specifically about her weight, her figure, the size of her thighs and bum - no her legs are graceful, not slender and toned, her waist is like a mound of wheat, not flat as a board with a well-defined six pack showing.

In Song of Songs 1:6 the Shulamite woman is ashamed of her tan - her skin has been darkened by working in the vineyard. I found this amusing... in the 21st century women go to tanning booths, they even get tans sprayed on them. This woman was ashamed of the fact that she didn't have fair skin like the women in the palace. Makes me rethink my abhorrance for wearing sunscreen on my face - I like a little color in my face in the summer and I am frightened of what the oil may do to my already oily, breakout prone skin. Now I may look at it differently.

Think about this -
1. Do you believe that God spared nothing when creating you? Why or why not?
2. In your estimation, how valuable is God's opinion of you?
3. If you were honest with yourself, whose opinion do you hold in higher esteem than God's? A friend's? A man's? Society's? Your own?

These questions really got me thinking. I believe that God created me beautiful and in my head, I know that all were created equal and that he "spared no expense" when creating me, however, it is difficult to internalize that and truly believe it with my heart since there are so many other women out there who are much more beautiful than I am - in terms of looks. I'm not fishing for compliments, its simple truth. So its easy for me to believe that God had great fun creating Angeline Jolie or Vanessa Marcil, but by the time he got to me, he had run out of steam and just threw something together;) But truthfully - and this is what I'm learning through this study and these books that I'm reading - he had great fun creating me and I am his masterpiece also. We all are. He hasn't singled one out as his greatest work of art - we all were created in his image and when he looked at us he said "Very good." Not just "its fine the way it is, I don't feel like working on that one anymore, I'm kind of sick of this... I'll just finish this one real quick and move on - I need a rest." No, he created each of us and we ALL are "Very good."

The other shocking realization I had was trying to figure out who's opinion I held in such high esteem and who I am trying to impress. What a question. I want to look good for Cornbread - definitely - but I know he loves me and I don't always work very hard to impress him. He actually finds me most attractive when I have a high amount of confidence - regardless of what the scale says or what size clothes I'm wearing. I'm pretty sure I'm not trying to impress my friends - we're friends because we're friends - not because I'm hot and have a killer body (right? I mean I always assumed that wasn't the reason we're friends ;) ) So I guess it is society's opinion... Random, strange people that cross my path in some way. And how stupid is that?

In reality, God says I'm "very good" (Genesis 1:27, 31). He looks at my heart - not my outward appearance (I Samuel 16:7). He takes great delight in me (Zephaniah 3:17). And he bought me for a price (I Corinthians 6:19-20). Wow - I must be very special and beautiful. It is only right that I should value his opinion more than anyone else's - this is a shift of focus that I need to make.


heidi jo 11:32 AM  

oh sister... jana this is a beautiful post. thank you... it's reaching my heart today. well done. :)

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