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Tindell Baldwin »

Baring All to Be Beautiful

I see the magazines as I wait in line for the bathroom, I’m 28 weeks pregnant so it seems I’m always waiting in line for the bathroom. To my right is a wall lined with the latest month’s editions of fashion, celebrity gossip, home décor, more fashion, and naked woman. One cover shows a woman (she’s incredibly famous so I should know her name but I’m not cool so to me she is woman) in only a skirt arm pressed against her chest to hide the one part of her body that would label the cover as “too provocative”. Another cover shows another famous woman (again you would know who she is because you’re cool but I’m not so she is again woman) and the headline reads “….. finds love and bares all” or something to that effect. She is in stockings nothing else again hand covering the one “private part” (that’s the technical term) that would make the cover have to be behind one of those fuzzy screens.

And I couldn’t help but wonder when the world will stop telling woman that baring it all and dancing with the line of exposure is what makes you intriguing? When will the line stop being pushed and men stop being lured into lust by just standing in line to the bathroom?

The message seems to be yelling, “you are only as beautiful as what you you can bare.” Our bodies seem to be the vessel to which our value is placed. Great body, great hair, great skin, etc then great value. So for girls who don’t fall into the category life can be brutal, unbearable, and confusing. Because while we hear from infancy that God thinks we are beautiful it would be nice if he sent a flesh and blood man to marry us and tell us the same thing.

Claire has this little book where an asparagus is going to a princess party and she is all dressed up but along the way a pea needs help and is stuck in the mud. She helps dislodge him (without any hands which I think is the most impressive part) but gets her beautiful dress all muddy and has to go to the party like that. The end of the book sings this song about how God thinks she’s beautiful and Claire likes to press the button and make me listen to it about 100x which is why that book has suddenly gone missing (so weird how that happens). Here’s the thing though, the asparagus is skinny, tall, has perfect hair, and lips so the mud on the dress really isn’t a big deal. If they really wanted to get the point across they should have used a gourd… just sayin.

My struggle was never to believe I was pretty it was more to believe I had anything else to offer the world. Being labeled as attractive was an addiction I fed nightly in my high school years to the point where I believed everything rode on how I looked. I figured any success or failure I achieved in life was because of this one trait that meant everything to me. I would trade my values, innocence, and reputation for any guy that told me I was beautiful. Here’s the thing though as much as I knew guys that didn’t care about me thought was pretty I was confident God didn’t think the same thing about me. I was trading real beauty for the temporary high of stares, dates, and pick up lines. On the inside I knew the truth though the outside only masked the real ugliness within.

When I came to know Jesus I realized how ugly the inside of me was. How much hate, bitterness, and jealousy had destroyed my heart. I could dress the outside up but the inside was a dead shell, I was a corpse in designer clothing, and I didn’t need a better stylist I needed a savior. As much value as the world had placed on my shell it had told me nothing of my soul, the wellspring of life. So I caked on the ugly inside and bought the perfect lipstick so my mouth would be pretty when the words were not.

Fast forward to now and I have a basketball lodged under my shirt with my second child and the stares I get are more because you can’t miss me more than anything else. I know I will never be able to convince the world to stop telling woman that their worth can be displayed on a magazine cover or that how you look in a very tight dress taking selfies in a candy shop is what really counts (true story) I can reiterate that you won’t find life or love there. That what you are searching for is not for likes or comments but for a beautiful soul. If that sounds cheesy it’s because it is but it’s also true. The world can offer you outward value but Jesus is offering you an inward transformation. He’s telling you that you can be clothed and still be loved. He’s telling you that you are worth so much more.



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