Does My Appearance Matter?

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Dear Mama, I’m glad you’re here. I would love to get to know you over a cup of warm coffee (or tea!) and some delicious gluten-free scones. Maybe some day we can meet. For now, grab your favorite beverage and let’s jump into this question: does my appearance matter?

The short answer is: Yes, your appearance matters! God created you to embrace your womanhood and part of that means pursuing femininity. Femininity, among other things, is beauty (inward and outward). It is a conscious choice to care for the body God has given us. We reflect God's glory in our appearance when it is tastefully considered and cared for—when it is dressed with modesty and class.

Would you like to dive into this further with me?

As we consider the importance of appearance, let me just say that the last thing I want to do is guilt-trip any of you Mamas with yet another thing you need to be doing. As mothers, wives, friends, we have so much we are called to. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by everything we feel we should be growing in.

This site is not here to guilt-trip you, but to inspire, excite, and help you be a woman that keeps it classy, reflecting God's glory by your appearance in the midst of every-day life.  

WHY IT MATTERS

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Perhaps more than any other stage of life, motherhood presents challenges that often make a weary mother wonder where her own self-care falls in the priority list.

As I work on composing this post, my one-year-old is having a tough time settling down for his nap. I had set this "quiet time" apart to write, but the day doesn't always pan out the way we plan, does it? In the midst of busy motherhood, we need a reminder about why our self-care matters.

Here are the top 4 reasons why your appearance matters, and why you can feel right about prioritizing it.

TOP 4 REASONS TO CARE ABOUT OUR APPEARANCE

#1 It brings God glory when we embrace our femininity

God made you a woman. With that comes a special enjoyment of the feminine and beautiful. It's innate. Though the world around us is trying to destroy our unique femininity (ironically enough, through the feminist movement), we have an innate desire to be clean, put together, beautiful. 

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As times change, the cultural ways in which females express femininity change as well (e.g. Genesis 24:47; Esther 2:12-13). We can redeem cultural norms by adapting them as needed for modesty and utilizing them to express our agreement with God's design. In other words, when you wear that knee-length lace dress and jean jacket with a bright and happy necklace, you're not just saying "Hey look, I know how to put an outfit together!", you're saying "God made me a woman and I'm proud to dress like it!" Alternatively, we can send the opposite message when we wear a baggy shirt and wrinkled jeans day in and day out.

A word of caution: Unfortunately, the culture is not the only force that mars the natural yearning for femininity. Our own flesh drives us away from God-glorifying beauty and toward vanity. The moment we prioritize our outward beauty above our inward beauty we have shifted from femininity to vanity. The key is to strive toward a balance. A redemption of our innate drive for femininity involves contentment in the body God has given us as we care for it and dress it beautifully.

#2 It blesses our loved ones

You've often heard the tip: dress up in the morning and you'll instantly feel better about your day. Well, this also applies to those around you. Unless it's Christmas morning, spending half the day in a fuzzy bathrobe and pajamas is not going very far to motivate your family to excel in their day.

Let's be honest, gals: it's much more pleasant looking into a clean and bright face with hair in place than a disheveled, raccoon-eyed one. Your family is blessed and better inspired for the day when you dress the part of "inspirer." (Yes, I made that word up!)

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If you're married, think back to your dating days. How much thought did you put into looking pretty for your guy? He noticed, didn't he? On your wedding day, how much did you plan your hair and makeup? I bet you glowed with joy. It was the best day of your life and you wanted to show it with the way you prepared yourself.  You dressed the part.

The Song of Solomon is chalk full with the groom's description of his bride's beauty. He noticed every aspect of her natural form, but as verses 1:10-12 and 4:9-11 show, part of his praise was the way she dressed it thoughtfully with earrings, a necklace, or sandals (Song of Solomon 1:10–12, Song of Solomon 4:9-11). She stood out "like a lily among thorns" (Song of Solomon 2:2)*.

Ladies, I can assure you that first thing in the morning, the fragrance of my breath is not like apples nor my mouth like the best wine (Song of Solomon 7:8–9); it takes some self-care to be fresh and beautiful each day! But because it blesses my best friend, I do my best to be pleasant to look at-- and kiss!

As newly weds we made this a priority, didn't we? Why should that change? 2, 10, or 20 years later, your husband is still blessed to see your beautified self. It tells him you still care about what he sees when he looks over at you.

#3 It sets an example

Our littles are watching. Younger Mamas are observing. How you care for and dress the body God has given you is setting an example--either a powerful one or a "blah" one.

Proverbs 31 describes much about the clothing which the virtuous homemaker made both for herself and her family. Her household is "clothed in scarlet" and her own clothes are "linen and purple" (Proverbs 31:21-22). Her example caused her husband and children to "arise and call her blessed" (Proverbs 31:28);  she was leaving an imprint on the hearts of her children. 

Do you want your daughters to take care of their bodies and appearance? Do you want them to dress modestly and femininely? Dress the part and they will more easily follow.

Do you want your sons to grow up and look for a woman who cares about herself and dresses with class? Be that woman and it will be their natural inclination.

As a newlywed, I looked up to other moms who were running their household with grace, thriving in their walk with the Lord, AND all the while caring about their appearance. I was so encouraged to see a mom who didn't let the busyness of motherhood destroy the priority of self-care. I wanted to be like them some day!

Beauty inspires. It shows others that you have not stopped embracing your femininity even when your hands are full of little blessings--your children!

#4 Opportunities are born from positive first impressions

Do you want to become more approachable? Do you want to land that job you just interviewed for? Do you want your appearance to say "I embrace my God-given femininity" when words would fall flat?

Your appearance can be that door of opportunity.

Consider the parallel importance of keeping a beautiful home. I love this quote by Edith Schaeffer (Francis Schaeffer's wife) from her book, The Hidden Art of Homemaking: "I am sure that there is no place in the world where your message would not be enhanced by your making... [your home]... orderly, artistic and beautiful with some form of creativity, some form of 'art'" (p. 213). In the same way that creatively caring for the home you dwell in can increase your impact, creatively caring for the body you live in will expand the reach of your influence.

Ask yourself this question: If I stumbled upon myself for the first time, what three words would I use to describe the first impression?

I recently heard that 55% of first impressions are based upon how we look; 38% is based on how we sound. Only 7% of first impressions are based on what we say. Sister, you have a LOT to offer other women out there. God wants you to spread His truth. If we could create a more receptive audience simply by minding our appearance, wouldn't it be worth the effort?

THE NEED FOR BALANCE

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When it comes to our appearance, the Bible is clear about the pitfalls accompanying it. For that reason it is very important to spend some time talking about the need for balance in our thinking about beauty.

In short: There is a fine line between taking care of yourself and making yourself an idol. The lovely Joy Forney talks about this balance in her quick video about “keeping it classy.”  

Before bringing in verses from the New Testament that we are probably all very familiar with, I wanted to point out some principles about feminine beauty from Song of Solomon and Proverbs.

"... You have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes, with a single strand of your necklace... the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon." Song of Solomon 4:9, 11

As I mentioned before, intermixed with the King's praises of his bride's natural beauty are references to perfume, a necklace, and earrings which he had made for her (Song of Solomon 1:10–12, 4:9-11). Part of feminine beauty is caring for ourselves and adorning ourselves appropriately.

"...all her household are clothed with scarlet. She makes coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future." Proverbs 31:21-25

I already mentioned how the virtuous woman dresses both herself and her family with quality apparel. It didn't have to be exorbitant, just classy. Immediately after describing the way she dresses herself and her family, Proverbs 31:23 proclaims the recognition her husband receives among the high-ups in society when he sits in the "city gates."  Dressing well was part of how she honored her husband's reputation. 

"Strength and dignity are her clothing." Though this is referring to her spiritual core, the strength of her approach to life clearly included her self-care. It was not the most important part of her life. But it was important.

Caring for our appearance and dressing classy is a natural part of being a feminine woman. However, there are the pitfalls. Self-care can too easily fall into vanity.

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God speaks boldly against vanity and often used the metaphor of a vain woman to describe rebellious Israel (Isaiah 52:1; Jeremiah 4:30). God cares more about the condition of  your heart than of your outward appearance (I Samuel 16:7). In the same passage that praises the virtuous woman's efforts at dressing herself and her family well, we are warned that:

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

I Peter 3:3-4 says:

"Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God." (NASB)

While caring for our appearance is important, it always needs to be kept in balance, subservient to the care of our soul. In practical language this means: spend as much or more time with the Lord as you do with the mirror. Don't turn your looks into an idol. Mind your body and your wardrobe as a way to embrace your femininity, honor God and your family, bless those around you, and make the most of every opportunity.


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Dear Mama, I hope this overview has helped explain the heart behind this blog.

I want to encourage you toward self-care and keeping it classy, but beneath it all will be an earnest desire for the wellness of your spirit.

Enjoy picking up tips and inspiration on dressing well on a dime--and know where it lies in your priorities. It's important, it will have an impact on you and those around you, and you can have fun in the meantime!

Stay balanced. Stay classy.

Now that, you can do, Mama!

xoxo, Corina does appearance matter

*Unless otherwise specified, all Bible quotes are from the NIV