But if you think this is something women outgrow when they reach middle age, think again. There are nearly 500 Forever 21 stores, but you've probably never heard of Forever 52. Why not? Because it doesn't exist in a culture where “... girls are now simultaneously getting older younger and staying younger older. It also explains why the identical midriff-baring crop top is sold to eight-year-olds, eighteen-year-olds, and forty-eight-year-olds. The phases of our lives have become strangely blurred as girls try to look like adult women and adult women primp and preen and work out like crazy in order to look like girls.”2 In the world's eyes, beauty and youth are a woman's “currency and power”3, which is why women pay big bucks to go under the knife to turn back the clock.
Can you relate?
I certainly can. I feel it on those days when I can't cover the gray hairs by changing my part or squeeze into that old pair of jeans I'm not willing to give away just yet. I felt more than just a pang when I was traded in for a younger version. And if I'm honest, the root desire for "admiration and worship and men's good opinion"4 lurks in my heart. The world gladly offers thousands of ways to fulfill this longing, but it's a false bill of goods. You may have tried some of them as have I, but our love for lesser things, ourselves included, will leave us high and dry. We were meant for something better, and this is where the gospel comes in.
Our identity is in Christ. We don't have to fear growing older or the changes that will inevitably come our way. We've been freed from bartering for our worth with the world's bankrupt currency. We don't need to live for ourselves but for Him who died and was raised for our sake. (2. Cor. 5:14-17). The face and form God has given each of us are to display His grace, no longer objects of self-worship or self-loathing. When we look in the mirror, we may not see the women who looked back at us 10, 20, or 30 years ago, but may we find the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that is precious in God's sight. (1. Pet. 3:4).
This is good news, sisters. Let's believe it. Let's teach it to our daughters, granddaughters, and the young women in our lives.
1. Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Peggy Orenstein, HarperCollins, 2011, pg. 183.
2. Ibid. pg. 139.
3. Ibid. pg. 138.
4. Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell, IndyPublish.com, pg. 538.