It seems to me that humans have a seemingly insatiable need to be loved and valued. A void in our hearts that never seems to be filled. We want to be accepted for who we are and if we don't feel that acceptance we will seek to 'fix' what is unacceptable. The problem therein is that our feelings are not always a valuable judge of reality.
Our culture is continually succumbing to this insecurity. There is no getting away from hearing about Bruce Jenner's transformation into Caitlyn Jenner.
If you asked a child, "if you are born a boy can you become a girl?" they would likely laugh at you and look at you like you had two heads. 'Of course not!' would come the reply. But we, sophisticated adults, have bought into the lie that there are no real absolutes, so why can't a man who feels like a woman actually become a woman?
I came across an article last night about "Transable" people. As defined in the article, transability is "the desire or the need for a person identified as able-bodied by other people to transform his or her body to obtain a physical impairment."
Did you get that? Someone who is perfectly able feels that they are not in the right body and desire to become disabled by choice, some by cutting off their own limbs or arranging 'accidents' to achieve the disability they desire.
It is a logical next step from transgenderism, or Gender Identity Disorder as it was formerly called when considered a mental illness. How long before we are forced to believe that a person's request to chop off their own legs is normal (and should be covered by insurance!) and those around the person should be non-judgmental and accepting?
It stems from our society's post-modern worldview that promotes the belief that there are no moral absolutes and our feelings are reality. If we continue down that path it will lead to the establishment of what Wesley J. Smith calls a fundamental right to 'personal recreationism.'
But before we get our able bodied Christian feathers ruffled and puffed up in pride, are we not guilty of the same things?
In the 90s, straight hair was not in, at least, not at my middle school. Big poofy bangs were where it was at. I wanted to look like my friends, but no matter what I tried, curling irons, mountains of hairspray, hot curlers, perms...nothing would keep my stick straight hair curly for more than a day and not wash out. It was like my hair laughed back at my attempts.
I desperately wanted to be accepted by my friends and so I did what I thought I needed to do to look 'pretty.' This is what was called, 'the poof' y'all. Seventh grade picture day mom and I pulled out aaallll the stops to achieve the look I wanted.
In the picture above I see an insecure girl hoping for people to like her. Somewhere along my teenage years I decided that fighting against what my hair did naturally wasn't a great use of my time and I stopped worrying about others' approval.
By 11th grade I was much more at peace with my stick straight hair. Instead of trying to have something I didn't I was able to appreciate what I did have. Growing out the poofy bangs also helped.
We all go through a process of coming to terms with how God made us, the limitations we have and how we look (women in particular). The goal of that struggle is to reach a place where we learn to make peace with our body. Or as they say in preschool, "You get what you get and you don't pitch a fit."
The culture around us isn't helpful either. Don't like your body? Have plastic surgery! Don't like the color of your hair? Dye it! Don't like the color of your skin? Use self-tanner!
Now, am I eschewing all forms of beauty products and saying we should not bother with exercise or a healthy diet? Do I regret that my parents invested money into getting me braces to fix my teeth (Heck no! Thank you Mom and Dad!). There is a spectrum on how we make changes to our appearance, on one side, taking care of the body that God has given us and on the other side fighting against how he has made us.
I know of friends who dye their hair blue and purple and I think it's a bold statement of their own inner personality, they enjoy playing with their locks as a way to express themselves. We can't become legalistic and judge others because of their choices. Only we can determine when we are enjoying the body he has given us and when we are dissatisfied with what we have, and making changes as a way to fulfill our hearts.
Though we shouldn't judge others we can still see a friend struggling in this area and have a conversation to encourage her in truth. If I am concerned that my friend is seeking satisfaction from changing the way she looks I can speak love, life and acceptance into her heart. Indeed, I'm not a true friend if I'm not willing to risk my own heart by speaking out.
The point is, where are you seeking fulfillment? Is it from the way you look? Or in your worth in Christ?
Isaiah 53:2 tells us that Jesus had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. And yet, he was satisfied with the earthly body God gave him and it didn't hinder his mission. In fact it was part of God's plan to make his mission succeed because people were attracted to what was on the inside.
As followers of Christ we are unconditionally accepted and when he sees us he sees the perfect blood of Jesus covering all our sins and stains. We can live loved. We can live lives of contentment because we know we are loved, valued and accepted.
Even though we will continually mess this up we can turn to the one who made us and find our satisfaction in Him. He is the only one who can fill our insatiable need and fill the void in our hearts.