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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Seeking true beauty in a beauty-crazed world

"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised."--Prov.31:30

From USA Today: "This obsession with plastic surgery is an epidemic. It's lunacy! These women have had their faces rebuilt and they look terrible. It's going to backfire at some point; sadly, somebody famous and young is going to have to die on the table." --plastic surgery veteran Jamie Lee Curtis, 49, to More Magazine.

Well, guess what, Jamie? Even that won't stop the lunacy. In a society where what you look like on the outside is of paramount importance, people--especially women--will continue to pursue that image of perfection, whether it be through plastic surgery or extreme diets.

Don't get me wrong; I believe in looking one's best. As an old preacher once said about women wearing make-up: "Even an old barn looks better with some paint." (OK, that's a groaner.) I don't even have a problem with people correcting something that really, truly needs fixing.

But I do believe the plastic surgery craze is getting out of control. It started in Hollywood and it's spreading across the nation, aided and abetted by the plethora of cosmetic surgery reality TV shows. One of the most disturbing trends is young girls hopping on the plastic surgery bandwagon; teen-agers getting breast implants, etc.

It might be a good idea to do a follow up on some of these people and see if altering their appearances was the ultimate antidote they thought it was going to be.

I don't think "charm is deceitful and beauty is vain" means we should give up trying to look our best. And I don't think that means we shouldn't try to be as beautiful as we can be for our husbands. But I do think it means we need to put it all into get our priorities straight.

When I get frustrated with the signs of encroaching age, I think about my mother.

My beautiful mother is in her mid-70's, but looks much younger. I wrote these words in a tribute to her a few years ago, and they are just as true today: "She has sparkling green eyes; a lovely full,expressive mouth...a dazzling smile. The years have been kind to her, and she is a prime example of how decades of righteous living can influence a woman's face...Years dedicated to God's service and unselfish love for her husband and children. She has the sort of radiant, luminous, from-the-inside beauty that defies age."

And that's the kind of beauty to which I aspire.

Father, I thank you for the face and form that you have given me, even if I'm not always satisfied with it. Help me to remember that I'm fearfully and wonderfully made. And help me remember that the beauty of a pure mind, a loving heart, and a soul focused on you, is the kind of beauty that cannot be touched by age. Amen.

--Cindy Swanson

Visit Cindy's personal blog:



Blogger lori said...

amen girl!!!
no unnecessary knives for this girl...takin' what the Good Lord gave me....until the end!!
great post!

February 6, 2008 at 9:11 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Amen, really nice post.

February 7, 2008 at 2:17 AM  
Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

Yes!! This is so, so great. What's that old quote about you aren't responsible for your looks at 20, but at 70 (or whenever) the life you've lived is reflected in your face?

There is nothing more beautiful than an aged saint of God whose face reflects a lifetime of devotion and service to Him.

February 7, 2008 at 7:08 AM  
Blogger Praise and Coffee said...

Great words Cindy.
I just had a discussion about this with a girlfriend. I plan to grow old gracefully, I've earned every wrinkle, I'll wear these laugh lines proud.


February 7, 2008 at 7:22 AM  
Blogger Alisun@ABrookeInTheForest said...

Why do we have to change what God has made perfect in his image. Sad really that loving oneself is such a hard concept for many women young and old. I had a great grandmother who loved the Lord and had one of most wrinkled faces in her old age. She was beautiful and when I looked at her there was so much wisdom in all those wrinkles earned by years of experience I really admired her. I hope my grandchildren will feel the same of me someday.

February 7, 2008 at 8:52 AM  
Blogger windycindy said...

I totally agree with you. So many people go out of the United States to have their cosmetic surgeries done cheaper with even worse results or death! I have a birthmark on my face and have had laser treatments. Unfortunately, I have the kind that comes back! I have to face the facts!
Thanks for sharing your insight! Cindi

February 7, 2008 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger Chris @ Come to the Table said...

I love the beautiful example your mother has given you and what you have reminded us of, "decades of righteous living can influence a woman's face". Beautiful!

February 7, 2008 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger Mary Lou said...

Thank you for sharing the beautiful example of your mother. The way we live our lives shows on our sister is seven years younger than I am, but because of different choices she looks the older. She doesn't think so, but most others for Jesus is the best thing we can do for our insides as well as the way we look on the outside. True beauty is reflected in the countenance and eyes....Thanks for sharing this...Mary Lou dlowran1(at)comcast(dot)net

February 7, 2008 at 10:51 AM  
Blogger Faith said...

This is such a timely post for me to read. I was just discussing this topic with my 14 year old daughter. she is struggling with acne and my heart breaks for her...we talked about all kinds of things....right now the dr. has her on a topcial antibiotic cream therapy but it's slow working...this led to discussion about laser treatments which we can't afford to girls who have plastic surgery, implants, etc. her conclusion? (age 14!) was that she is going to be happy with the way God created her and try her best to do things with the wisdom He gave to Drs and pray! Now I can show her this fine article too! Thank you so much!

February 7, 2008 at 12:11 PM  
Blogger Darnelle said...

I know a lady like your mother. She's in her 60's but I just can't see it on her face. One day I just decided that it must be her love for Jesus that makes her look so young and beautiful.
Top notch word today! Thank you.

February 7, 2008 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger CrownLaidDown said...

Have you seen the Geico commercial with Joan Rivers, where she can't feel her face at all and doesn't even know if she's smiling? It's a nice way of saying, "Hey, if you have as much plastic surgery as me, you will have a rubber face."

Good Word!

February 7, 2008 at 8:44 PM  
Blogger Cindy Swanson said...

Holly, I have seen that Joan Rivers commercial! It's hilarious, but the underlying fact is pretty sad.

Faith, my daughter struggled with acne too, and now that's all behind her (she's 21 now). Your daughter will get through this, and it's wonderful that she already has such a wise spirit about it.

Ladies, thanks to all of you for your encouraging comments!

February 8, 2008 at 11:26 PM  

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