Why do women long to be beautiful? Today, author Sharon Jaynes, actress Nancy Stafford, and Nancy Leigh DeMoss, host of the syndicated radio broadcast "Revive Our Hearts", talk with Dennis Rainey about this deep longing.
Why do women long to be beautiful? Today, author Sharon Jaynes, actress Nancy Stafford, and Nancy Leigh DeMoss, host of the syndicated radio broadcast "Revive Our Hearts", talk with Dennis Rainey about this deep longing.
Bob: So you're having a bad day, you're feeling discouraged or depressed, and you just want to go shopping, buy some new clothes, right? Well, according to Sharon Jaynes, you come by that honestly. Eve did the same thing.
Sharon Jaynes: As soon as she disobeyed and shame entered her life, the first thing she did was to get a new dress. She wanted to cover up that body, and we still do that today. We still have a void in our lives, and if we don't fill it up with Christ, if we don’t fill it up with God, we're going to look for outer beauty; we're going to look for clothes, cosmetics, anything to cover up and to fill that void just like she did.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, August 3rd. Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Our God is a God who delights in beauty but do you know what kind of beauty God cares about?
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us. This subject we’re dealing with this week is a subject that, I really think is fresh thinking for a lot of women. I don’t think we stop and think very long or hard about appearance and beauty. But there’s a spiritual root to that.
Dennis: I’m excited that we’re talking about it. But, before we get to it, I just want to say a word to our listeners and let them know something important that’s taking place here on FamilyLife Today. Perhaps you didn’t know that only one in ten people who listen to FamilyLife Today call or go online to make a donation. What I want to do today is I want to talk to the nine who listen to FamilyLife Today—the nine out of ten who haven’t made a donation, or a first-time gift to FamilyLife Today.
Bob: We’re glad you listen, glad to have you along each day.
Dennis: We are. In fact, you are why we do what we do. It’s all about your faith in God, your marriage relationship, and your family. But, what we’re doing, all this month is, we’re challenging people who have never given to be among 100 first-time donors to FamilyLife Today every day this month. For a total of 2500 new first-time donors in the month of August.
Bob: Now we know that those don’t add up exactly so we’re rounding things off. 2500 is the goal…
Dennis: We should have rounded up…
Bob: That’s about a hundred a day.
Dennis: I don’t like this, we should have rounded up. Well, there’s a reason why, and it isn’t a laughing matter. We’re having to look hard at cutting some stations because donations have simply not come in to cover syndication and production costs. So, we’re coming to listeners today, first of all to say thanks to those of you who are among the one out of ten who continue to support our broadcast. But, today, I want to talk to the nine—in fact I want to challenge the nine. Would you go online or call our 800 number and be one of the 100 people today? Then I want you to track how we do all this month toward the goal of 2500 new first-time donors to FamilyLife Today. I’d just like to challenge you to do that.
If we’ve been a help and an encouragement to you and your family, then I want to tell you, we need to hear from you right now. The subject of beauty, Bob, you’re going to make me feel beautiful if we reach the goal of 2500. Because I go to sleep thinking about this stuff at night. I really do.
Bob: Well, and there’s an additional incentive this week. Because of what we’re talking about our friends over at VeggieTales they just created a brand new DVD that deals with this subject. It’s called “Sweet Pea Beauty,” and it’s aimed at young girls, and it’s a great story that helps girls get a biblical perspective on what true beauty is. They agreed to make available a copy of the DVD for those of you who call or go online this week as a first time donor.
So, you make a first-time donation of any amount, we’ll send you the new VeggieTales DVD called “Sweet Pea Beauty.”
Dennis: Just this week.
Bob: That’s right. It’s only good this week. So, go to FamilyLifeToday.com, or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. If you call make sure you mention that you’re giving a donation for the first time. If you go online, and there’s a first time donor button that you click, and that will take care of everything. We do hope to hear from you and we hope you’ll follow the progress online as we go for the goal of 2500 new first-time donors this month.
Dennis: I just want to say thanks again, to those who continue to stand with us, you are needed and you are appreciated.
Bob: Well, let’s turn to the subject we want to talk about today. Let me mention this, I had a friend of mine who sent me an article from "USA Today” a number of years ago—actually, about fifteen years ago. But Vogue magazine, asked many of the top super models of the day. People like Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and Christie Turlington. They asked them to rate themselves.
I thought about this earlier this week when you were asking our guests to put themselves on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of how important beauty was to them. In this case, they asked these supermodels to rate their bodies, on a scale of 1 to 10, to rate their own beauty.
Dennis: These are women rating themselves?
Bob: They are rating themselves, and they are top super models who earn a living–we pay them–well, I don't, but other people pay them tens of thousands, millions, of dollars, because of how beautiful they look.
Dennis: To be on the cover of the magazines at the supermarket when you check out?
Bob: Yes. Linda Evangelista says, "When I look in a mirror, I am not pleased. I see a crooked face. I see burned hair. I see the truth." And they said, "Well, what would you change?" "I would make my mouth a happy, pouty, sexy, smiling, gorgeous, uplifted, full mouth, not this frowny kind of mouth."
Dennis: Hold it, hold it, hold it. Read that again.
Bob: "I would make my mouth a happy, pouty, sexy, smiling, gorgeous, uplifted, full mouth.
Dennis: That's contorted.
Bob: She also said "I would remove two ribs, change the size of my hands, and do something with my nose. I wouldn't mind if it was shorter."
Now here is a super model. She says, "I'm not happy at all." Another person they asked, scale of 1 to 10, she said, "I'm about a 7." Now, what is it about these women and what is it about women, in general, that they look in the mirror and they go, "I'm not happy. I'm not satisfied."
Dennis: The question is, where does this longing for beauty in women come from?
Bob: Yes, and when does it get pushed to an extreme?
Dennis: Well, we decided to invite three women who know the answer to that question. Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Sharon Jaynes, and Nancy Stafford all know the answer to that question.
Bob: They do, huh?
Dennis: They do.
Bob: Then why do they look so scared right now?
Dennis: Why did none of them offer the answer when I asked it? Nancy Leigh DeMoss is host of Revive Our Hearts. She joins us, she is the author of Lies Women Believe, and certainly there has to be a lie around beauty that women believe. Sharon Jaynes joins us. She is the author of The Ultimate Makeover. Nancy Stafford has written a book called Beauty by the Book. She is an actress. Okay ladies, who wants to answer the question–why do women long to be beautiful? Where does that come from?
Nancy Stafford: Well, I think we are plagued, as a gender, by something called insecurity. I think that's the greatest battle that we, as women, face. I think it goes back to a garden where Eve when she wanted it all, she wasn't satisfied and I think there was a sense that even within herself she just felt like it's just not enough. So she wanted more. And when we fell, the Lord talks about how our need is going to be for our husbands, and I think that means constant affirmation from outside there rather than just from the Lord or from within ourselves.
Sharon Jaynes: And, Nancy, another thing I noticed about the fall when I was studying that, as soon as she disobeyed and shame entered her life, the first thing she did was to get a new dress. The first thing she did, she wanted to cover up that body, and she wanted to basically go shopping, and she went to the Fig Leaf. That was the first dress.
Dennis: This is a great truth here on FamilyLife Today.
Bob: The result of the fall.
Dennis: Shopping. I knew there was something about this that was intensely spiritual.
Sharon Jaynes: She wanted to cover it up.
Bob: She was ashamed and wanted to hide.
Sharon Jaynes: Right, and we still do that today. We still have a void in our lives, and if we don't fill it up with Christ, if we don't fill it up with God, we're going to look for outer beauty; we're going to look for clothes, cosmetics, anything to cover up and to fill that void just like she did in Genesis–not any different from her.
Dennis: The Bible doesn't airbrush it, okay? Now, think about the women in the Bible. Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Delilah, Abigail, Bathsheba, Tamar these were all women who were described in the Bible …
Sharon Jaynes: … as beautiful …
Dennis: … as beautiful. There is nothing wrong with the right approach to beauty. I want to make sure that's real clear here, because there is an element of Christianity that has always found security in running to an extreme and eliminating it so it's no longer a problem. I've found that most of the Christian life is lived in tension, and the tension is learning how to be content with what you have while looking at the reality of who you are. And that tension of still obeying Christ, still seeking Him, and being obedient especially around this issue of beauty, is tough for a woman. It's tough for them to maintain.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And, Dennis, it's not just a women's issue, because out of that list of beautiful women that you just named, several of those women–the context for the Scripture saying they were beautiful–there was a man who lusted after that woman because she was beautiful, and there we had trouble.
So that one of the challenges for women is–I want to be beautiful for the Lord, I want to take the right kind of focus and priority on my body, but if men aren't viewing beauty from an appropriate and biblical and godly perspective, then we're going to have problems and issues morally and sexually as well.
Nancy Stafford: Well, the two feed each other. The male's lust and the female's insecurity are, like, the perfect pairing, unfortunately. So much, I think, of what motivates women to dress in some way that we shouldn't is because we're so desperate for that affirmation, and we like the attention that it garners us.
Sharon Jaynes: I think also about what response are we looking for? Are we looking for a response that someone says, "She's attractive?" Or are we looking for a response that sexually stimulates a man. That's a good question to ask when you dress a certain way.
Dennis: I'm glad you said that because, first of all, we're making the point from the Scripture that beauty is designed by God. Our God is a God of incredible ingenuity and beauty in creation, and He didn't stop being ingenious when he created a woman. I mean–she's beautiful. My wife still is beautiful to me.
In fact, more so today than the day I married her. However, whatever God has designed, the world has degenerated. It's perverted. It's corrupted. And I started listing some of the lies, and you ladies may want to jump in here at any point, but some of the lies the world has about beauty. Beauty equals value and worth. Now, isn't that what the culture promotes?
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: That’s the message, everywhere.
Dennis: Beauty–in order to achieve beauty, you need a physical makeover. You need those who will show you how to be beautiful. Well, I don't think there's anything wrong with being beautiful. We said thatbut a preoccupation with that? Beauty equals confidence–this addresses the insecurity you're talking about.
Sharon Jaynes: Absolutely. I know that my story is different from Nancy's in that she did not feel attractive as a young girl and had little confidence because of that. But mine is the opposite–when I was little people told me I was cute, and I had no confidence. About a month ago, I went to the hospital to visit someone, and I went into the psychiatric ward.
Somebody told me about a young girl up there. She was beautiful. She had been Homecoming Queen of her class in high school, and then she went off to college to a major university and, all of a sudden, she wasn't the prettiest girl in the city anymore. She wasn't the smartest girl in the city anymore. She started comparing herself to other people. She had no confidence. She was so crushed by that comparison that she wanted to take her own life. Being beautiful does not translate into being confident.
Nancy Stafford: What I think women really need to remind themselves is that Madison Avenue, advertising on television and ads in magazines are for the purpose of making us discontent with ourselves so that we buy stuff.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And part of the lie, too, is that the world is defining for us what beautiful is. So you look at the magazines and the movie stars and whatever, and you say, "Beauty equals," you know, "being this height and weighing nothing and wearing a size zero. And having this kind of face and this kind of youthfulness. If you're 50 years old, you still have to look 20”, and you can't and you don't.
So if you accept the world's definition of beauty, you spend most of your life really frustrated, because you can't measure up. I will never look like a movie star. I never did at any age, I will never at any age; that is a hopeless pursuit. If I listen to the world and buy into its definitions, then I'm always going to feel I'm unattractive. I'm not worthwhile. I'm not beautifuland I can be beautiful without adopting that definition.
Dennis: I have one last cultural lie that I want you ladies to just comment on, and it's the lie that "If I'm beautiful, if I feel beautiful, then I'm free from all comparison."
Nancy Stafford: That's maybe the biggest lie of all, because then when you feel beautiful, then the old thing kicks in of you're constantly looking over your shoulder and wondering, "How beautiful am I compared to her?" So then the focus becomes being the thinnest, the prettiest, the fairest, at the party instead of just being satisfied with who you are.
What I would love to see us begin to compare ourselves in a good way is start looking at those inner qualities that other people have that we desire. So now when we walk into a room instead of competing with each other and comparing from the outward point of view, now we can look at those qualities that we admire in somebody else and try to appropriate them in our own lives.
Dennis: I think, in raising four daughters, this subject of comparison was probably one of the most challenging of any issue we dealt with concerning beauty. There seems to be, because of this longing of a woman's heart to want to be beautiful, to want to be attractive, to perhaps not stand out but to have someone pay attention–I do think a part of what is at the core of how God made a woman around her beauty is she wants the attention of someone important, specifically her husband.
Bob: And someone who will love her. I'm thinking of the single young women–I mean–for them, it is competition. We talk about not wanting to be in competition. Well, every Friday night, when they're going to a party, they feel like they're in competition for the attention of a young man, which they're coveting.
Dennis: That's right. And when I walk into a room, I'm not looking around at other men to compare myself with other men. Men don't do that–I don't think.
Nancy Stafford: Men don't do it about appearance, but they do it about their success…
Dennis: Oh, they do–they'll compare on another level. I'm not wanting to sound like men don't have their faults and insecurities.
Nancy Stafford: Okay, sorry. We'll get our dander back down.
Dennis: Guilty as charged on that. But what I do notice sometimes is a woman who is dressed inappropriately to gain that attention in the wrong way, and I've noticed in recent years, instead of just looking, instead now I begin to look and pray. Because you wonder if that woman–if you understood where she came from, what kind of home she had, and her life–what her life was based on–her body is all she has. Her outer beauty is what she is resting her ladder against.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Dennis, I think dads have a huge role here. I know my dad did in my life, and I've noticed that girls who feel secure with their dad, who feel affirmed and loved by their dad for appropriate reasons, not just for their physical appearance or their body but for who they are, are not typically girls who feel they have to get that kind of attention in those sorts of irresponsible or wrong ways.
I so thank the Lord–I know many, many women today do not have this, but I would just encourage dads, as a daughter, the fact that my dad was very verbal in expressing his love to us and affirming us as his daughters in appropriate physical touch, and there was a security there that—when he died, the seven children, four of whom were daughters, said “We all thought we were his favorite.” There was somehow that sense created that made it—the girls in my family I think have never—any of us—felt that we needed to look to men to give that kind of attention, or to get it in ways that were improper.
Dennis: And, Nancy, I think that's a good exhortation here on our program today –to turn to the men and say: Men, what do you value? Is it just the external, the braiding of hair and of pearls and of gems and exterior beauty of a woman, or is it the inner beauty of your wife and of your daughters, and are you applauding those character qualities and that inner beauty that–well, it gets prettier with age.
I think that's a part of what makes Barbara so attractive to me, now, 31 years into our marriage, is she is blossoming as a woman into a magnificent person, and this is occurring at the same time when she's struggling with the exterior, you know? She's struggling with the aging process but, in my opinion, she is becoming a more beautiful woman.
Bob: And, at the same time we need to exhort men and challenge men to affirm that in their wives and their daughters and to be aggressive in that affirmation. I think we also need to turn to the women and say, you need to check your own heart and ask, "Do I value that too much? Has the approval of my husband, has the approval of men, the approval of man, has that become too high of an issue in my own heart? Has it become an idol?"
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What we're actually doing when we value that too much is we're setting our standard and our sights too low. I want to seek God's approval and be pleasing to the Lord, and if that's what matters supremely to me, then I can live with or without the praise and the affirmation of people.
Bob: That’s the same basic idea that our friends over at VeggieTales have put into the new DVD that they’ve created, called “Sweet Pea Beauty.” They’ve taken the Sleeping Beauty story, they’ve made it with sweet peas, “Sweet Pea Beauty: A Girl After God’s Heart,” and it addresses this whole issue of beauty. As we were talking about it this week, I thought, this would be something that would be great to put in the hands of moms who have young daughters, or grandparents who have young granddaughters, as a way to help them start to think rightly about their own appearance and about approval and acceptance and all these things we’ve been talking about.
As Dennis mentioned earlier, we are hoping this month, during the month of August, to introduce ourselves to some new friends. Those of you who have been listening for a while but you’ve never gotten in touch with us or you’ve never made a donation to help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today. We would like to meet you, and we’re hoping to meet about 2500 of you this month, that’s our goal. So, if you can contact us and make a donation of any amount, here during the month of August we want to say thank you and hello, and nice to know you by sending you a copy of the “Sweet Pea Beauty” DVD. It’s brand new, it’s just out. It’s our gift to you if the donation you make is your first donation to FamilyLife
Let me just say how much we appreciate those listeners who have in the past helped support the ministry of FamilyLife Today, the reason we’re here today is because of you guys. We appreciate you very much, and hope you can continue to help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today. But, if you’ve never made a donation, can we encourage you? Today, call 1-800-FL-TODAY, make a donation or go online at FamilyLifeToday.com, and help support the ministry.
We’re listener supported, and we’re actually at a place where we’re having to consider whether we’re going to need to prune and maybe go off some of the stations we’re on because we’ve seen a decline in funds recently. That’s one of the reasons we’re asking those of you who have listened for a while and never made a donation, if you would consider doing something this month to help support the ministry. Again, if you make a donation of any amount, feel free to ask for a copy of the VeggieTales DVD, called “Sweet Pea Beauty: A Girl After God’s Heart.”
When you go to FamilyLifeToday.com, you’ll see a button on the page that says, “First time donor,” you click that button and you can make your donation online, or call 1-800-FL-TODAY, and just mention when you make your donation, that you’re a first time donor, and that you’d like to get the VeggieTales DVD and we’ll send it out to you. We do appreciate your support of the ministry, and thanks for stepping up and being one of the 2500 new friends we hope to meet here during the month of August.
By the way, all of the women we’re talking to this week have written on the subject of beauty. Nancy Stafford wrote a book called Beauty By the Book¸ Sharon Jaynes, wrote a book called Becoming Spiritually Beautiful, Nancy Leigh DeMoss has written a booklet called A Biblical Portrait of Womanhood, and we’ve got all of those resources in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. You can find out more about the books that are available when you go online at FamilyLifeToday.com.
There’s also a link on our website to the True Woman ’10 website, where you can get more information about the two conferences that Revive Our Hearts is going to be hosting later on this fall. One in September, in Indianapolis, one in October in Fort Worth, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, is going to be at both of those; I’m going to be there as well, along with a great line-up of speakers; Keith and Kristyn Getty providing the worship music. These events are great events for women and I hope you can come out and be a part of one of these two women’s conferences later on this fall. Again, details are on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com.
Well, tomorrow we are going to talk about how body image and body size is actually destroying a lot of women, and creating emotional heartache as well as physical strain on their bodies. We'll talk about that tomorrow as we continue talking about the subject of beauty. I hope you can be back with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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