Well, this morning, I was getting ready for work, and I spotted another little rascal of a hair! At this point, I was pretty sad. I mean, it's not like I am this old, old lady, but I am going to be 25 in August, and I am starting to get nervous about it. I found myself kind of obsessing over this whole thing lately, and it got me thinking about a lot of things. Like, how it's not fair that men seem to get better looking as they get older, and women don't. Our culture is really caught up in younger women. Men have affairs with younger women (while women usually have affairs with older men). It's almost as if younger women are more respected because of their younger looks and beauty. **Note: I am being really honest here, because I think this topic is important for a lot of women** It seems as if when women start getting older, they are not taken as seriously. They have kids and are stuck at home all day, while their husbands are at work where they are usually in some kind of role which would ask for respect. We can tell that all of these things are sort of true by the way women are constantly wanting to better their looks. They want plastic surgery and face lifts. They will spend all the money in the world to fix how they look.
Lately, I have been looking into getting some laser treatments on my face because I have a ton of sun spots. I am not really too big of a makeup person, but there is no way that I feel comfortable leaving the house without foundation on first. I hate that feeling. I want to feel comfortable with no makeup, and that is why I want to get this treatment done. I hate that I feel this way. I hate that when I look in the mirror, all I see are things I want to fix about myself. I was talking to a friend about this, and we were talking about all the things we want to fix about ourselves (physically), and we were laughing at each other because every time we would say something that we wanted to fix, the other person would say, "Really, I never even noticed you had that..." I have a feeling this is the case for everyone. I, myself, can think of nothing else but the sun spots on my face...and no one else even notices!
So with all of these thoughts rolling around in my head, I kept thinking, "Oh, I wish I was younger again." But then I stopped myself, and took that statement immediately back. Because if I was younger again (physically), than I would be younger again mentally and spiritually. Focusing in on women now - as we grow older, we may physically be dissatisfied with how we look, but we must be encouraged to know that we are growing more "beautiful" on the inside. We can look to proverbs for some comfort:
"Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life"
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised"
In Proverbs 16, we read specifically about gray hair! And back in that day, there was no dye to cover it up...people knew when you were getting old. And when you were old, it was assumed that you had lived a righteous life...and were full of wisdom.
Proverbs 31 reminds us that beauty is fleeting; here today and gone tomorrow. But (my translation now...), a woman who is living a life through a process of sanctification leading to righteousness, is to be praised.
The older I get, the wiser I get.
The older I get, the more Christ-like I become.
In 1 Timothy, Paul gives us a description of what deaconesses are supposed to be like, he says they are "to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything."
Paul also tells us in Galatians that we are to live by the Spirit, and that the fruits of the Spirit are, " love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."
As I get older, and have more time to have meditated on these things, and pray to God to help me be a woman who is worthy of respect, and a woman who lives by the Spirit, the easier it gets to do so. I believe this comes with practice and maturity. And practice and maturity only comes with years.
Three things come out of this:
First, I want to encourage husbands to really understand where their wives are coming from when it comes to self-esteem. As a woman gets older, she will naturally feel less-desirable. I would encourage husbands to daily remind their wives of how much they love them and think that they are beautiful on the inside and the outside. For Christian wives, I am sure that it is unanimous that they want to be beautiful on the outside for you and only you...show them that you notice the little things like a hair cut etc.
Second, for all men (married or single), remember what Paul tells us in Ephesians 5 about the husband being the head of the wife. Husbands are to love their wives just as "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." For single men, this is important to think about the responsibility you have as a husband. Will you be hindering to your wife as she grows in holiness, or will you be helping to present her holy and blameless? Are you marrying someone who is more concerned with her outside beauty than her inside beauty? For married men - again, are you helping with your wife's walk with the Lord so that she may be presented as holy and blameless? Though it is important (I believe) that women take care of themselves physically, we must also remember that the Bible never explicitly demands that women are to be physically beautiful, but internally "beautiful".
Finally, for women, I would encourage you (as I encourage myself!), to feel confident as we grow older. Feel confident that your husband will love you no matter if you have gray hairs or wrinkles on your face. Single ladies - feel confident that God will bring the right man who cares more about your relationship with Christ, than your relationship with your hair stylist (because if he doesn't, then that is not the man you want anyway). And be excited that as you grow in years and gray hairs, it is only a sign that you have been walking with Christ for a longer amount of time. And that time will result in you being respected as a godly woman, as you walk in the Spirit, righteously, for the glory of God.