I know. The title caught your attention. I posted something about the beard trend on Facebook the other day and it really got me thinking. Why do we allow culture to define us? And even though I don't want to and I try to be aware of this, I still find myself doing it. Looking at incredible photos in magazines, Pinterest, blogs, and wanting to know the "art of being womanly". Seriously, there are sites and magazines dedicated for the purpose of the "art of being womanly" and "the art of manliness". I've seen them. I like them. They are cool to look at!
And I can get so sucked in!
We all know the emphasis media places on how a woman looks. As a woman that's not very endowed, in a culture that is obsessed with big breasts and exposing cleavage, I can easily find myself feeling that I lack what makes me a woman. And I'm not the only "petite sized" woman to feel this way. It really has been a process of letting go of a false sense of shame because of my figure and embracing how God created my body. The flip side of that is, someone who has large breasts is in no way more of a woman than someone who doesn't. And if you feel like you are, it's a false sense of security. Maybe you wish you were taller, your stomach flatter, your thighs leaner, your butt rounder. There are women out there walking around with what you may consider the perfect body and yet they feel empty inside. Women, we are more than our shape and size. I am a fitness trainer and I always encourage my clients to see a bigger picture of health and wellness and not only focus on their physical appearance. And that's not exactly a popular message in an industry where many will use images of incredibly chiseled physiques to sell fitness.
Now let's talk about beards. They are cool. They look manly--like the guy that has one could saw down a tree with a butter knife. But he can't. I would even venture a guess that many bearded men don't do hard labor. And what about those guys that can't grow a beard? Are they less manly? And besides, the next rising trend will be the "Tom Selleck mustache".
We soak up images in media like a Brawny paper towel (p.s. the Brawny man used to have a mustache). In fact, a recent trend in Tumblr are photos of women with small breasts. That's right. I might be the next new "it girl". The images that affect us don't even have to be related to how we look physically. The style of our houses, our decor, our yards, what we drive. What drives us to pursue a certain "look"? I know it's a little odd for me to address this subject since this is a style blog. But once again here's the tension of life. Enjoying our personal style and expressing it, but not being governed by it.
The art of manliness and the art of womanhood is defined in Scripture. No where else. I want to stop giving culture the right to build me up or tear me down. And the only way I can do this is to be rooted in God's Word and his opinion of who I am. That doesn't mean I can't enjoy reading blogs, Pinterest, magazines, decorating, growing a beard. Well, you know...not me growing a beard (just trying to include my 1 male reader aka my husband, who by the way, can't grow a beard). But I must not base my value on my looks, my home, my cooking, my decor. The flip side of that is someone who bases their value or thinks they are better because of a simplistic, minimalist lifestyle. If your minimalist lifestyle takes priority over seeking the Kingdom of God, it's idolatry.
And here's a side note regarding Facebook...there are really people out there who do a lot and do it well. And I'm not saying they are perfect, but I have read some blog posts with opinions regarding women needing to be "more real in their statuses". Number one: IT'S FACEBOOK! Number two: WOMEN, STOP PICKING ON EACH OTHER! There are women who actually cook and bake incredibly, grind their own flour, decorate better than Martha Stewart...and might even look like a supermodel on top of it all. I know because I have friends like this. So when they post statuses or pictures on Facebook about making their own cheese, sewing clothes, helping people in need, and looking amazing while doing it all...what if we rejoice with them instead of cutting them down? When a status stirs some negative emotion in my heart, I need to ask myself what issue is this raising in me. I'm not referring to the blatant offensive statuses. But when statuses, comments, likes, or lack of likes can cause me to have hurt feelings, get irritated, feel like I am falling short, or even roll my eyes, I'm thinking that says something about the state of my heart.
I am so thankful that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am defined by the love of God who sent Jesus for me. And Jesus loved me so much that, "for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." So what if I don't have breasts that are big enough, a lifestyle that is minimalist enough, a house that is perfect enough, don't cook like Julia Childs enough. According to Scripture I do not need anything else defining me because Christ is enough. There is nothing I lack.