So it was when I happened upon a discussion about Lenten sacrifices related to fashion. In a combox over on Cari Donaldson's blog, I mentioned that I'd love to take part in a discussion about how to balance life and fitness and beauty, how to step it all up a notch appearance-wise, how to put your best foot forward without breaking the bank or becoming self-absorbed. Cari suggested I do a link-up.
So here it is -- Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Thoughts and Strategies on Beauty and Balance.
My friend Amy writes at Raisingangels.blogspot.com. She's a wife and mother to five, including a sweet newborn redhead named Felicity. She writes:
When I was in college, I had a roommate who was into fitness. I asked her one day why she exercised so much. Her response was that she thought of her body as a temple of the Holy Spirit on loan to her from God . . . From that day forward I wanted to approach outward beauty the same way -- not as an act of vanity, but as a good steward.Amy goes on to talk about how her approach to exercise and beauty has evolved over the years. Read the rest of her thoughts here.
I was chatting with a friend who mentioned she knows women who give up make-up for Lent and other women who would consider it a Lenten sacrifice to put on the stuff everyday. So true that. We are so different.
My friend Vickie has lovely, chin length gray hair. Her sense of fashion is put together, but simple and sporty. She always, always looks nice. She's a few years older than I am and aging exactly the way I hope to age.
She's a beautiful woman.
My neighbor Sherry loves color and sparkle. Everything from her clothes to her home decor, from her purse to the wreath on her door is lively and bold. She wouldn't step out the door without her face on. She's always, always put together.
She, too, is a beautiful woman.
We're all so different, so very different.
|Ainlsey's first attempt at eye make-up.|
There's no single correct approach to the complicated topics of beauty, fashion, fitness, make-up. I chaff when I stumble upon posts that seem to have heard from on high how Real Christians should dress or what Good Catholics should think about make-up.
(In fact, I don't just chaff; I positively recoil.)
For one thing, this sort of one-size-fits-all thinking ignores that we are much like my freinds Vickie and Sherry -- that is uniquely made, fashioned one-of-a-kind by God who obviously prefers variety.
Second, there's a world out there desperate to hear the good news that God loves them, but we're preoccupied drafting commandments eleven through seventy-two and quibbling over hemlines.
But I digress . . .
Many of the women I talk to are much like me and see no contradiction between loving God and looking nice. It's the logistics that trip many of us up. How do you pull it off? How do you fit in exercise when your To Do List is daunting? How do you put on make-up when your forty-something eyes don't cooperate? How do you develop a personal style without over-spending? When your shape seems to be ever-shifting? When you have a newborn? When you've just started a new job?
Obviously, I don't think we should make idols out of our personal appearance. Our culture certainly glorifies the young and supple, encouraging us all to chase after some elusive Fountain of Youth to make us look perpetually nineteen.
No, I don't want to look nineteen. But I do want to look nice. And it's not always easy.
I welcome your thoughts on the matter. If you have a blog, email the link and I'll add it above. Include a two sentence bio as well. For everyone else, join the discussion through the comments.