Tummy pooch? Nose too large, too narrow, too crooked? Need a reduction or enlargement? Problem hair? Perhaps your pearly whites are more of a creamy-yellow. Braces? No problem! You’re living in America in the age of extreme makeovers. True, fix-it surgeries are still expensive, but there are ways. If you are in dire need, maybe you can get accepted on one of the extreme makeover shows, and be awarded a free transformation viewed by millions on national TV. Too shy to venture in front of millions? Well, there are always loans and credit cards to help you finance it. Maybe you’re even one of the few fortunate ones who have a bank account to fund your makeover. This is America, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m as intrigued as the next person in our pursuit of perfection. I’d like to have thicker locks, a shapelier shape, a smile that dazzles, wrinkles smoothed, and eyes without myopia. But the truth is, I could be worse off than I am.
Who says I’m not okay? It’s for sure that the advertising industry has played a huge role in America’s strive for perfection. Even teenage girls and guys complain about their bodily flaws? Come on people, most of them are still in the stage of becoming.
Maybe we need to stop this frenzy and examine the message we are being bombarded with in advertising and television. I know it’s got to be a huge moneymaker, but what are we saying? You’re only okay if you’re a perfect 10? Maybe we need to look for another message. One that says: I like you just the way you are—bodily imperfections and all. I like you for who you are on the inside.
Two cells uniting and forming a human life is a miracle of becoming. Each life is one of a kind, unique in body and personality. The revered psalmist, King David, says it like this, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139: 13-14 NIV)
Perhaps the way to being satisfied with our body has to do with connecting with our Creator. The Bible is filled with directions to enable us to live in health and happiness. Do you want joy lines instead of wrinkles? Then reduce stress by meditating on Scripture. Take God at His word when He say, “Be anxious for nothing. But in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)
The perfect body–He has a way to get that too. Remember Daniel who refused to feast on the rich foods of the Babylonians? Instead he begged for a healthy diet of vegetables. That may seem extreme, for all food has been given to us for our enjoyment. But the wisdom from this story is hard to miss: too many rich foods put that bulge around our middle. The Apostle Paul also had a message for the Corinthians that still applies to us today, which is our eating and drinking should glorify God.
Hold on, we can’t leave the discussion without mentioning exercise. The Romans were athletes and Paul often referred to the benefits of training the body through exercise. It worked for them, and it will work for us.
When I read the story of the creation, I—a busy American—wonder how God had time to rest on the seventh day. Surely, He was eager to get into the next phase. But on that first day of rest, He was trying to tell us something. We need that day of relaxation to renew and refuel for the next week. REST is a lost art with most Americans. Most of us go at such a fast pace all week that we are always striving to get it “all” done. Corporate America, plus society, would have us believe it’s possible. It isn’t. In truth letting go and relaxing will actually increase productivity during the workweek. We’ll get more done in a shorter amount of time.
Am I recommending you cancel your extreme makeover appointment? Of course not, I’m just suggesting that you begin on the inside, then decide what the outside requires. And don’t let anyone tell you that you have to be a perfect 10. God loves you just the way you are!