Vanity, Vanity


November 27, 2012 by A Girl Like Me

Ok, so for those of you who have yet to catch on, I am pregnant with my second kiddo. Now let me get one thing straight with you ladies, I am not the kind of woman who enjoys being pregnant. In fact, I’m the opposite. I’m the kind of woman who sees pregnancy as a means to an end. Yes, I love feeling the baby kick and knowing that there is a life growing inside me…that is amazing and truly a miracle that can only be understood when you experience it yourself. But then there are other things…things your mom never tells you, things movies and tv leave out, and even things your friends wont share with you. I call these the “less than glamorous side” of pregnancy. And for all of you, I am gracious enough to impart such wisdom upon you.

Let’s start with the fact that your boobs may double, even triple in size when you get pregnant. For a small busted gal like me, that might seem like a blessing, but it means none of those cute shirts you finally felt good in fit anymore and now you have to buy “big busted” shirts. (For you busty gals….I don’t know how you do it.) Next is the growing stomach. Yes, it is your baby, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that your pants don’t fit, you can’t see your toes, and it takes you a good five minutes to roll over in bed because your body has now become like some poor beached whale washed up on shore fighting to get its way back into the water. For the lucky ones like me…we also get the gift of pregnancy swelling. Feet turn into sausages, your face looks like you’ve stuffed marshmallows in your cheeks, and your bottom now has it’s own zip code. And that girls…is just what you see on the outside.

On the inside is a whole new party taking place. A bladder being squeezed so tightly that your need to use the potty seems almost constant. Heartburn that feels like hot lava is being poured down your throat, and gas….painful, awkward, uncontrollable gas that makes you feel like you aren’t even a woman at all, but a bag of hot air. Yes, the inside…it’s just as brutal as the outside. So how on earth in the midst of all of this stretching and growing, and bloating and gassing can one really say that pregnancy is truly a beautiful thing? And therein lies my dilemma.

Girls, if there is one thing that being pregnant has taught me it is this: I put way too much stock in my own vanity than anything else. I stand in the mirror calculating every little bump, bulge, and bloat, complaining about how I can’t believe I have six more months of dealing with this. The irony is, at the end…I get a baby, and for the most part, my body back. So why then? Why do I allow myself to focus so much on all the things I hate, robbing myself of the blessing and gift that being allowed to carry a life inside me can bring? Because in my mind..I am defined by how I am seen by others. Plain and simple.

If I look way more pregnant than I should be, I think people think I’m a chubby pregnant woman who eats too much. If I don’t fit into my old clothes soon after I have my kid, I think people think I am lazy and not trying hard to look nice. Heck, even if I’m not pregnant and I see my face looking a little more round in a photo, I’ll delete the picture without a second thought, and try again for one that looks a bit more “thin.” Any of you feeling me on this?

I know we’ve addressed this issue before and I suppose we’ll revisit it a thousand times over, simply because we all need to hear it. So I’ve said it once, but let me say it one more time. YOU ARE MORE THAN WHAT YOU SEE. Can I get an amen to that? You and I are so much more than how we look, or better yet, how we feel we look on the outside. And thank God for that! Picture yourself on your worst day: day one of your period, your feeling tired and bloated, maybe you didn’t shower that morning so you have your hair in a ponytail, and those lovely things called hormones have given you a bright neon zit right on your forehead. You are a walking hot mess, and everyone can see it. Now think for a second…..if you were defined solely by how you looked on THAT day..what would it say about you? It would say “lazy, disheveled, unsanitary, gross,etc, etc.” But that’s not WHO you are is it? Ladies, we have to let go of this notion that we will only been seen as worthy in this world if we look a certain way. Because there will be those days when our looks don’t even come near to the standard of what “worthy” may look like to the outside world. And if who we are is wrapped up solely in this ideal of looking a certain way, we always fail and we will never reach that standard of worthiness.

I mean, Proverbs 31:30 puts it so clear: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” The context of this scripture is what is most powerful to me. This is written to a man named King Lemuel by his mother about the kind of wife he needs to find. So a woman, is saying this about another woman. She is in essence saying, “Yeah son, there are pretty girls out there who look and smell great, but that all goes away. It’s their fear and love for the Lord that makes them worthy.” Boom. Girls, we can spend hours in front of the mirror primping and dissecting our appearance, but where are our hearts? Are we fixated on the temporary, or are our eyes turned to the eternal? Are we putting our identity in the One who has seen us on our worst day both inside and out and yet still said we were worth it to go to the cross and die for? Because that guy….Jesus Christ…He’s the only one who can claim us as worthy and good. And if he can look on this bloated, gassy, pregnant body of mine and see beauty, see something worth sacrificing everything for, then there has to be something to that don’t you think?

So girls…put down the mirror. Let go of that five pound bag of makeup. Throw away those magazines with the articles that say “Thin In Three Days.” Today, let’s take up a new identity. One that was written on the palms of a man who loved us with such depth that he set his life aside so we could be his bride. An identity that surpasses clothing labels, dress sizes, and great hair days. An identity that says we can come as we are, and we will always be loved and always accepted. Embrace that identity, embrace how HE sees you, and that is when we become truly beautiful.

18 thoughts on “Vanity, Vanity

  1. SilentMelodies says:

    Oh my goodness. That ending almost made me cry. It’s what I’ve needed to hear for the past two years. Thank you so much.

  2. Bekah says:

    The beginning of this made me laugh. And the end, it’s just so true. I tend to act like I don’t care about one anyone thinks about me (I’m basically a super outgoinging dork weirdo whom everyone either loves or hates), but in reality, especially when it comes to appearance, I really do. But I love that my identity isn’t what people see me as, or the part of me that no one else sees; a scared litte girl who cuts herself and has no one to turn to. God sees me me as His beloved. And He’s coming soon to take me home. <3 Thanks for sharing this with us, Heather:)

  3. Rebecca says:

    I’m not really sure what brought me to this page today, but I am so thankful that I did. Not ten minutes ago was I looking at myself in the mirror and picking apart the things I don’t like about myself. In reality, I didn’t even feel like leaving my dorm room and going to class because I was afraid of what people would think of me. Thank you so much for reminding me that my appearance does not define me. It has been something I’ve struggled with a long time. My worth is not found in my looks. I am Christ’s beloved, and He has proved how much I am worth to Him when He died on the cross. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  4. Rebekah W. (there's more than one Rebekah on here) haha says:

    I feel like I should comment. Just because I loved this post so much. So so so much. Great post. Love your honesty. :)

  5. I love the last paragraph it is so true, but yet I tend to forget about it all the time. I am definitely one of those girls or young women who blames a lot on how I look; people not liking me, for being 24 years old and me not ever having had a real boyfriend, the clothes society says are in fashion not fitting me right. But I have to remember that God loves me for who I am inside and out no matter what. And that if a guy is going to just look at my outer appearance and disregard me and not see the beautiful, funny loving young women on the inside, he isn’t worth my time. So thank you for reminding me that God LOVES me no matter what!

    Beyond Your Eyes

    Beauty is beyond the outward appearance, beyond human eyes
    Beyond the knowledge of ones heart, lies beauty that is indescribable
    The beauty I am talking about is deeper than the oceans
    And brighter than the sun
    Where you might ask do we find this beauty?
    It lies within our eyes which is the window to our souls
    Within the eyes lies the beauty of a person’s soul
    By looking within a person’s soul you see the true being God has called them to be
    The calmness I get when I look into your eyes and the wave of understanding that flows from deep within you
    Is breathtaking
    The true beauty beyond your eyes
    Lies within you
    It is your choice to let it shine through you or not
    Look beyond your eyes and see the true beauty in everyone
    For everyone is beautiful in there own way

    By: Katrina Silverdahl


  6. Lauren says:

    This was very encouraging to read! Thank you so much for reminding us of this truth.

  7. Jessica says:

    Thanks so much Heather. Another perfectly timed post. I was just praying the other night that God would help me to stop looking at and focusing on myself so much – what I look like, what people think of me – and start focusing more on serving Him and, in serving Him, serving others, because that is the only way any of us are going to be truly happy. As C.S. Lewis said: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”

  8. Emily says:

    How is it that I always seem to read this blog when the message is exactly what I need to hear? Thank you for writing about this, Heather. Recently (to due to health issues) I have lost a significant amount of hair. This was a much bigger deal to me than it should have been, and I have been really struggling with feeling insecure about how it looks. Thank you such a great reminder that my focus is to be on Jesus. Not on me or how I look.

  9. Rachel says:

    Exactly what I have been struggling with today-God’s timing is unbelievable! Thank you Heather!!

  10. Janette says:

    Wow, this is exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you so much, Heather.

  11. Kristen says:

    I needed to hear this so much. Thank you, Heather!

  12. Janette Peggins says:

    This is what I need to hear earlier today. I was auditioning for a play earlier with a group I never knew. So I was making sure I look good before I left. I was trying to hard I forgot that I’m more to Jesus then a good hair day, make-up,a perfect outfit and all that other stuff. Thanks for the reminder, Heather! And remember you are beautiful in His eyes and that is all that matters! <3

  13. Rhonda Jean Dornbusch says:

    God’s timing is always on time…thank you…I needed this today. I had quit smoking over a year ago..and gained a bunch of weight and feeling crappy about myself. Thank you Lord for loving me no matter what. Thank you Heather!

  14. Diane Blog says:

    All I have to say, is Amen!

  15. Bethany says:

    Dear Heather, I’ve been a silent reader of your blog for quite some time now, but this really hit close to home for me so I thought I’d say thank you! I just had my first child a couple of months ago! I hated being pregnant, it was NOT what I expected. I was either sick or having alot of back pain the whole time, and I was super self conscious about how much weight I gained, always checking the scales. I ended up having a premature birth at 3months early. I had a lot of people tell me that since i didn’t go full term it should be easier to lose ‘all that baby weight’! Well, that didn’t happen and I’ve been worrying about it since! I’ve always been vain about being the skinniest person around, and I’ve just felt huge and frumpy since the baby came. thank you SO much for reminding me whats important, and for steering me back towards the Lord!! I’ll be praying for you and your pregnancy! God Bless,

  16. Olivia says:

    This is the perfect article to read right now. I was just discussing this topic of vanity with my friend who really got me thinking and this has got me thinking even more! I do have a question though. Is there a problem with wearing makeup at all? I’ve heard some people say that to wear makeup in vain but what if you just want to wear a little for church or for a nice event to make you feel dressed up and such? then what?

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