Today, we’re getting super transparent on the blog all about the topic of beauty and alterations. I recently had a DM asking whether a cosmetic procedure the person was considering was sinful. And truthfully, I can’t answer that for you, but I can share some thoughts that I hope will bring clarity to this topic and point you in the direction of what to pray and ask the Lord to give you wisdom on.
I also wanted. to share this post because I think a lack of transparency on this topic is crushing women today for two reasons:
- A lack of transparency allows a root of pride to take place. When we have some work done and now compare ourselves to someone who has more wrinkles, a wider nose, or darker under-eye circles, it’s easy to take pride in something that wasn’t inherently ours to take pride in. We’ve lost all gratitude for something that was quite possibly a privilege to do and that gives us an entitled spirit. I am very grateful for so many friends who are quick to share their enhancements instead of pretending it’s natural. It is refreshing to hear a friend say, “Oh no, girl, these are extensions! My hair is thin/doesn’t grow/etc.” instead of just acting like it’s natural. Just a few weeks ago I had lunch with some friends and the topic came up and it was a sweet transparent and judgment-free zone.
- A lack of transparency allows for more irrational and harsher comparisons. When people in their 20s start getting botox and you’re nearing 40 and haven’t even mastered putting SPF on every day 🙋♀️, the gap can feel even greater than a mere 20 years. And as much as the “Jesus answer” is to simply not compare ourselves to others, it’s much easier to be content in the Lord when we realize that we’re irrationally comparing apples and oranges. What’s that phrase? Don’t compare someone else’s middle to your beginning. I think the same holds true: Don’t compare someone’s botox’ed forehead to your untouched skin. It’s just silly. And when things are transparent, we’re better able to jump back into reality.
So, I think transparency on this topic could really help, but here’s the obvious reason why I don’t think we have much transparency:
We fear being judged for our choices.
The thing is, though, this issue of whether to get Botox or filler or whatever other procedure your considering, is not a main tenet of the church. Our old pastor used to say there are things we will die for, fight for, argue for, and talk about, and wisdom is knowing the difference.
I am not going to die on the hill of whether or not a procedure is a sin, but I will for the fact that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
I do think the issues of beauty come with personal convictions, and I’ll share mine below. But I think we need to start with this realization and be really careful with how we judge other people’s decisions. I recently read Respectable Sins, by Jerry Bridges, and it’s basically a bunch of chapters on all the sins we deem acceptable as Christians. Judging was one of them.
I’ll be honest, I have always had a more critical spirit because I tend to follow the rules to the T. But the Lord has been growing me tremendously in this area and thankfully, I have a deeper empathy and less judgmental spirit now than I ever have before. And I now see how judging someone else’s decisions can be just as sinful as the sin we see in someone else’s life. And more than that, if it’s one of these issues where what someone is doing is not a sin, our judgment is far worse than what we are condemning in someone else.
So today I’m simply sharing my own convictions.
I have no hopes of convincing people to make their list exactly like mine. Instead, I hope it will encourage anyone to think critically about this topic and know why you do what you do. And not just think critically, but allow the Holy Spirit to convict you if there’s anything you’re currently doing that may be a hindrance between you and God.
Because that’s the biggest reason we don’t want to neglect tuning into the Spirit. If something for us is disobedience to what God is calling us to or convicting us about, our best place to be is in full obedience to Him! Our disobedience doesn’t cause us to lose our salvation if we are Christians, but it does greatly hinder our intimacy. So this is 100% worth taking the time to think and pray about. Below is where I’ve landed, but I am still taking this post as a chance to ask God to search my heart if anything has changed. There are some questions at the end of the post that can help with that if you want to do the same.
Related: 6 things that distance us from God
Convicted to say no to:
Elective plastic surgery and permanently altering my facial features. This doesn’t mean I don’t have certain features I would like to change, but I believe God created me and I want to honor what He created. Again, for me personally, making elective alterations would remind me of trying to tell the potter how to mold the clay (Isaiah 45:9-10). I also feel convicted that raising two girls who have some of these features and trying to convince them they are beautiful while altering that same feature would make me feel phony. Instead, I want to value how God made me and find contentment in Him.
Convicted to say no to, mostly for health reasons:
Botox. Oh y’all, can I just say I’d love not to have bags under my eyes? It’s hard to see other women my age with perfect skin and know my own smooth skin could be just a few needles away. With all my issues with toxins/mold and how it’s caused issues in my health, I don’t think it’s worth it to try Botox even if it is deemed safe.
Not interested in it for pride reasons:
(A lot of these could be pride issues, but most fall into other categories too. The two I’m mentioning here are not things I’m skipping for health reasons or personal conviction.)
Lashes and extensions. It seems like extensions and lashes are having a moment. I think we’ve all seen the “glow up” of Instagram influencers, and for me personally, I know if I chose to do these things, the only reason would be to keep up with the Jones’s. It would be for pride reasons, and feeling the need to do what I see others are doing.
Not interested in for maintenance/time:
Filler. When I tell someone I don’t want to do Botox, filler inevitably comes up. For me, I don’t want to do anything that requires upkeep to the point that I can’t stop, or if I did, whatever I was “filling” will look even worse than before. I know myself. I would dread going to appoinments and skip them and end up back where I started. Also, I could totally see something like this becoming an idol in my life as I analyze my skin and new places that could use filling.
Nails. On a less serious level, I don’t get my nails done regularly because I don’t actually like sitting there getting them done and always feel like it’s a waste of my time. Many of my friends find it relaxing and the perfect “me time” but I’d rather my me time be reading a book on my porch or a massage.
Things I have done:
I’m no beauty blogger, so I don’t imagine many of you are needing to know what I’m doing, but after all that transparency talk, I’m obviously going to share what I have done:
- Invisalign. This is the most permanent thing I’ve done and I’m so glad I did it! I have a small mouth and teeth crowding and some overbite issues so correcting this a few years ago was a blessing.
- Dying gray hair. After losing a ton of hair the last two years from health issues, it’s coming back which is great, but it’s coming back gray and I’m just not ready to go gray! I have a feeling I will at some point but at 38, I’ll dye my hair (with an at-home box 🤦🏻♀️) every few months for the foreseeable future.
- Self-tanner. I honestly don’t do this much and haven’t all winter, but I will do this for my pasty white legs once summer hits or on my face before family photos.
- Facials. I had my first one last week! This is something I will likely do in lieu of more medical options simply because I see this as taking care of my skin which I honestly haven’t done the best job of over the years. I’ve never consistently worn SPF daily. 😱
- Makeup. I mean. Y’all know I do this but had to include it.
- Skincare. I do purchase high-quality clean products, like BeautyCounter.
As I said, your list doesn’t need to look like mine, but I do challenge you to confirm with the Lord and have peace about what you do choose.
Here are some questions to think and pray through if you want to prayerfully consider what decisions to make:
1. Am I using my body in a way that shows that my body is my god? Or am I using my body in a way that shows that God is more precious than my body? (John Piper)
2. Do I trust God? Do I believe God blew it with me? (John Piper)
3. How much time and energy should I be putting into my body and appearance? Am I putting more emphasis on the inward appearance or the outward? Proverbs 31:30 says “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 says, Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
4. The average woman spends $877 a year on beauty. How much money should I be putting into my body and appearance? Is the amount I spend on beauty proportional to my giving? I’m not here to tell you where that line is because I haven’t found it in the Bible, but I think we’ll know as we ask God for wisdom on the matter.
Can I ask a crazy question? Will you share your lists with us? No judgment? Like, can we just normalize everyone else having different convictions?