Representing God in a Dust Suit – the Value of Appearance

I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup, fingernail polish, or jewelry until I turned 18.

Pretty sure the only reason I was “allowed” then is because of being a legal adult, haha.

NGL, it was pretty annoying.

I did use my au naturel days to glean all the tips I could from teen and beauty magazines, storing them away in my noggin for later, though. (I volunteered at a library in my early teens, which helped my access to a wide variety of magazines.)

Looking back, I’m glad I at least didn’t have the chance to look like a garish clown like some girls I observed later in life who were allowed to experiment with makeup at a very young age. (They didn’t have YouTube beauty gurus back then, though, so I guess it wasn’t really their fault.)

Overall, I appreciate that to some extent I had more time to get comfortable in my own skin without relying on any sort of enhancements.

I’d like to think there just might be a happy medium between the subtle message that caring about your appearance is ignoble and full-on beauty guru makeup at 12, however.

Growing Up Female…

Appearance is something that affects all of humanity (”man looks at the outward appearance…” 1 Samuel 16:7), but has been a particularly grim battle for the female half of the species for many reasons.

Society makes us feel simultaneously too much and not enough – like it’s impossible to find the right balance, not to mention the role religion has played.

1 Peter 3 cautions women that their beauty should not come from outward adornment (hairstyles, jewelry, fine clothes), and has been taken by many to mean that those things are wrong, or at the least that it’s lowly to concern oneself with them at all… I mean, “God looks at the heart,” you know…

This did truthfully have some effect on my subconscious – loving beauty and style, but also feeling less spiritual for it until I realized that those verses were meant to remind us there’s more to beauty than just appearance, not saying “ignore your appearance – it’s evil”.

I want to teach my daughters (and son!) to be comfortable in their own skin and confident in who they are regardless of their appearance.

While I don’t want them to feel dependent on outward stuff, I also want them to feel empowered and knowledgeable about the best way to take care of their unique beauty, unlike I did. I’m still figuring it out… but my kids are already decades ahead of where I was at their age!

The Struggle of Mixed Messaging…

I’ve come to recognize that there’s an aspect of it all that stems back to respecting yourself, which has many facets.

In the conservative Christian mindset there’s a mostly subtle, subconscious shame of being.

While fighting to protect all life, from conception, as created in God’s image on the one hand, the other side of that coin has always been that humanity are miserable wretches that need to “die to self”.

Growing up with messaging like that creates a strange heart-level friction.

Respect life, but also, you suck.

Sorry you’re stuck in that fallen dust suit. If you keep it super plain maybe no one will notice.

I always think about the extravagance of God’s temples in the past. Why would someone so clearly a fan of beauty want his current temples presenting themselves as bland?

Ok sure, I get it. The temples God used in the past were representations of his glory, made to remind humanity of how small and insignificant they are… he was just being charitable when he downgraded himself to our bodies.

Dust Suits with Personality

Sarcasm aside, what if it means something that we are God’s physical presence on earth?

God's physical presence on Earth

What if we would choose to view others from the same lens God does (through their hearts), but also take some care in representing God to the rest of humanity through the lens humanity sees (the physical presence)?

I’m not advocating prioritizing presentation over taste… I’m just contemplating the experience of serving gourmet food in a jumbled up pile on a styrofoam plate.

Sure, the taste may shine through, but… why should it need to?

Confusing at best!

I’ve come to realize it makes a lot of sense to put some intentionality into your appearance – no reason to make God look like a frump…

I definitely won’t ever be high maintenance, though. Thanks, Dad 😉

Representing God in a Dust Suit - the Value of Appearance
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Tico & Tina

David & Christina are recovering "lack" addicts who share tidbits of their minimalist, digital nomadic life at The Liberation Collective.