Time for a Makeover!

So, last week I was horrified to see a woman repent on national television. She wept uncontrollably as she confessed to seeing the error of her former ways and vowed to change for the sake of those who were confronting her.

re⋅pent [ri-pent] –verb (used without object)
1. to feel sorry, self-reproachful, or contrite for past conduct; regret or be conscience-stricken about a past action, attitude, etc. (often fol. by of): He repented after his thoughtless act.
2. to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better; be penitent.

As a Jesus-lover, I’m usually all for repentance. I’m not put off by emotional displays and I’m accustomed to seeing all kinds of strange events brought into my living room via the tube. So what was so horrifying to me about this woman’s outburst?

She was repenting of neglecting her hair, nails and wardrobe in order to raise her children, care for elderly parents and build a business with her husband who was also her best friend. Seriously.

Now, I’m all for makeovers and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking the time to care for one’s self but that wasn’t the tone of the show. What I was watching was a “come to Jesus” moment except that it wasn’t Jesus, it was “come to the spirit of the age that says we must all put ourselves first and value self-care and appearances above sacrifice and heart.”

I see this spirit affect the men and women who attend my weight loss groups at the Y. During our first session, people introduce themselves and inevitably, I learn I have a room full of caregivers: mothers, grandmothers raising grandchildren, teachers, nurses, police officers, firefighters, social workers and volunteers. The people who fill the room are those who keep our community running and who make other people better people. But they are filled with shame, with self-reproach and with sorrow.

Because they have committed the crime of being over-weight and of neglecting their appearance to care for others.

Again, I’m all for being a healthy weight. I’ve pursued that goal my entire life and I work to help others reach that goal. The problem is that we’ve created a culture that values appearance above heart, above sacrifice, above love.

I watched in astonishment as the woman on TV repeatedly confessed her crimes to the camera. “I don’t remember when I last had my hair done.” “I don’t think about what I look like throughout the day.” “I haven’t really spent money on myself in years because I’ve been caring for other people.” Each of these confessions was accompanied by tears and the encouragement of the program hosts that they would show her the “way back” to restoring her appearance to something that wouldn’t cause shame and embarrassment to her family.

Really? Is this where we want to take our culture? I’m not interested in a return to Puritanical fashions and sermons about the dangers that women will fall prey to vanity by wearing lipstick but come on! If Mother Theresa were still alive, I can see them courting her for this show.

“We love her and all that she’s done for the poor but we’re here to show her that a little mascara will really make her eyes “pop” and with the right accessories for that habit that is sooooo last century, more people will be willing to hear what she has to say about people in need.”

I sat with a group of women friends last week-end to celebrate the upcoming marriage of one friend (who happens to be in her seventies) and to minister to one who is battling cancer. When I think of these women, I don’t think about what they look like. I think about the love they have shown to God, to others, to me, the sacrifices they’ve made for their loved ones, and the hearts they have that are always looking for ways to give. Together we laughed, we cried, we ate, we talked, we laughed some more. We reflected back to one another the love we emanated. We were the mirrors into which we looked that day.

We laughed because we knew that while our bodies are aging, suffering,and dying what Celine Dion sings is true “Our hearts will go on.”

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7

As a society, we’re really celebrating all the wrong things. We value what is passing, what is dying, what will one day succomb to the earth.

I do agree with our culture that many of us are seriously in need of makeovers and heartfelt repentance. We have neglected ourselves in this area for too long. I just think we’re focusing on making over the wrong parts.

What we need are makeovers of the heart.

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    The Conversation

  1. Andrea says:

    Amen…Awesome post, dear friend! You hit the nail on the head on so many levels.

    Blessings, andrea

  2. Nardalyn says:

    Lori, I love this line: “We were the mirrors into which we looked that day.” What an absolutely beautiful picture – might we all reflect to one another the beauty that comes from within via the Holy Spirit! (Not that I neglect requesting of my hair lady, “Please make my hair the color of my daughter’s!”)

    And a more sober comment – Many of we women fall prey to the lie that when we ‘sacrifice’ our appearance in order to do good works, we are, in a warped way, showing ourselves to be martyrs for Christ. It’s almost an outward badge of another sort that screams “Please look at all I do, please validate me, please make me feel worthy!” The issues are deeper than not taking the time to care for ourselves. The issue might be that we have no idea who we are in Christ and through good works, seek salvation. Often, the world applauds and the lie takes firmer root. Ouch.

  3. Nardalyn says:

    Oops- “Many of US women…”

  4. Great insight, Narda. Erring in either direction is not honoring to God. Another arguement for walking through life on our knees. The key to it all is to bring our hearts to God and let Him sort our our makeovers!