The Mirror Tells All…or Does It?

with | August 2, 2010

Today on the broadcast, author Sharon Jaynes, vice president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, actress Nancy Stafford, host of Main Floor, a syndicated TV series featuring the latest fashion, beauty and lifestyle trends, and author Nancy Leigh DeMoss contrast beauty by God's standards with the culture's definition of beauty.

Today on the broadcast, author Sharon Jaynes, vice president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, actress Nancy Stafford, host of Main Floor, a syndicated TV series featuring the latest fashion, beauty and lifestyle trends, and author Nancy Leigh DeMoss contrast beauty by God's standards with the culture's definition of beauty.

The Mirror Tells All…or Does It?

With
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August 02, 2010
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Bob:  Is God down on beauty?  After all, the Proverbs say that beauty is vain.  Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss:  If you just took that verse in Proverbs 31, you would think there is something wrong with beauty.  But I think that Proverbs 31 reference is to the world’s view of beauty that is the outward, the visible, what you can see, and the writer there says that’s not enough.  There is another word which is used for beauty, and which is “the glory.”  It’s what is good, what is wholesome, what is lasting, what is enduring.  There is nothing wrong with beauty if it’s God’s picture.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, August 2nd.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  How can we reorder our thinking so that we gain God’s perspective, God’s picture, on beauty?  We’re going to talk about that today.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Monday edition.  And, hello to all of our beautiful listeners

Dennis:  Absolutely.

Bob:  You are beautiful.

Dennis:  You are.  Every one of you is beautiful.

Bob:  That’s right.

Dennis:  You really are.  But before we get started talking about beauty today, Bob, I want to talk today to the folks who listen to our broadcast who have never made a donation to FamilyLife Today.  They have never called the 800 number or gone online and made a donation.  We know that about one in ten listeners support our broadcast.  I want to say thanks to them.  But, I want to talk to the other nine of you.

Bob:  The other nine out of ten beautiful listeners right?

Dennis:  The other beautiful listeners.  Here’s what we’d like to ask you to do.  We’d like to ask you to be one of one hundred listeners today, who will make a first-time donation to FamilyLife Today.  With that in mind, Bob, I’d like to say thanks to those of you who currently support FamilyLife Today.  I want you to know you are both needed and appreciated. 

But, today, I’m talking to those of you who have never called or gone online and given to FamilyLife Today.  So, here’s my challenge to all the beautiful listeners, the nine out of ten who have never given.  I want to challenge you to be among the first—the first 100 to join with us in getting 100 people a day for a total of 2500 people this month.  If you do, you know what, you’ll still be beautiful. 

(laughter)

But you’ll make me feel a whole lot prettier, trust me.  Thanks

Bob:  We’ve got some additional incentive in that regard as well.  Our friends over at VeggieTales have put together a new DVD for kids, and it’s on the subject we’re talking about this week on the subject of beauty.  They have arranged for us to be able to say thank you to those folks who make a first time donation this week.  We can send you a copy of that DVD. 

The details are online at FamilyLifeToday.com; you can make your donation online there.  Or you can call 1-800-FLTODAY and say “I’m one of the first-time donors.”  And we’ll make arrangements to get the DVD out to you.  Again, 1-800-FLTODAY, is the phone number and the website is FamilyLifeToday.com.

 

Dennis:  What if they call next week?

Bob:  The DVD is only good for this week.

Dennis:  Here’s the thing.  Be one of the first 100 here on Monday, or tomorrow, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.  You’ve got five days to pull this off.  We need 500 new donors this week.  Thanks for prayerfully considering this.  I really appreciate the privilege of coming to you every day as I know Bob does.  We really do it for your marriage and your family.  We count it a true privilege to be able to do that.

Bob:  And I think it’s going to be a very helpful conversation this week with some friends who are joining us here in the studio to talk about the subject of beauty.

Dennis:  I had a woman ask me in preparation for these broadcasts–and we are going to have a blast this week on FamilyLife Today, because we’re going to hit a topic that’s hot–beauty.  I had a woman ask me–I said, “What’s your question about beauty that you want Bob and me to ask the experts on the broadcast this week?” 

She said, “I want to know how it can be that my husband can know how important beauty is to me and how important a compliment can be to me and how meaningful it can be to me and not say anything?”

Bob:  Yes.

Dennis:  And not use it.

Bob:  And at that point, you said, “Well, Barbara, you look lovely.”

(laughter)

Dennis:  That was not Barbara.

Bob:  Oh, okay, I’m just making sure.

Dennis:  We have three guests that join us on this beautiful broadcast, and the studio does look a lot better, I must admit.

Bob:  It is very, very pretty.

Dennis:  Because of the beauty of three women who join us.  Nancy Leigh DeMoss joins us. Sharon Jaynes joins us.  And Nancy Stafford.  Ladies, welcome to FamilyLife Today.

All:  Thank you.

Dennis:  Nancy Stafford is an actress, she is an author, a TV host, and she has written a book called Beauty by the Book.  Sharon Jaynes is an author, speaker, and Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a partner in ministry here at FamilyLife.  She is host of “Revive Our Hearts.”  She is on staff with Life Action Ministry.  She, too, is an author, a speaker, and a good friend. 

I was just reading Proverbs 31 in preparation, and I’ve got a great question for you ladies, but I want to read this first.  “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” 

As we start a series of broadcasts all this week on beauty, I need a working definition of beauty.  You can each make a pass at this, or one of you can define it for all of us.  What is a definition of beauty?

Bob:  Who wants to start on this?  Oh, it’s gotten real quiet.

Sharon Jaynes:  When I think of the word “beauty,” and I had not thought of that definition until you just mentioned it, the first word that popped into my mind is “glory,” and the definition of glory is for something to be what God has created it to be.  And when I think of beauty, I think of a woman is that we’re being all that God has intended for us to be, and when I see a woman that is being all the God intended them to be, they are truly beautiful, and that encompasses the way they look. 

God created women to be beautiful, and He spent six days creating the earth, and we were his grand finale.  Then He said He was finished, and He took a rest.  I don't know what that means, but we are created to be beautiful.  But it’s also the inner beauty, too, with our spirits and with our souls.  When we are being truly beautiful, we are glorifying God and what He intended us to look like and to be like – outside and inside.

Bob: That’s a pretty good job.  Any other thoughts on the subject?

Nancy Leigh DeMoss:  Actually, you are quoting, Dennis, from Proverbs 31.  There are a couple of different words in the original language that are translated “beauty” in the Old Testament.  One of those has to do with the outer appearance and, I’m not sure, but I suppose that’s probably the word being used there in Proverbs 31, because it says “beauty is vain.”  So it’s talking about a certain kind of beauty that is empty or shallow or doesn’t last.  It isn’t all there is to the picture–there is something better than that kind of beauty. 

There is another word that’s used for beauty that’s what Sharon was just talking about, which is the “glory.”  It’s what is good, what is wholesome, what is lasting, what is enduring.  So if you just took that verse in Proverbs 31, you would think there is something wrong with beauty.  There is nothing wrong with beauty if it’s the whole picture, if it’s God’s picture.  But I think that Proverbs 31 reference is to the world’s view of beauty, which is just the focus on the outward, the visible, what you can see, and the writer there says that’s not enough.  That’s shallow, if that’s all you have, you don’t have enough.

Dennis:  As I was preparing for these broadcasts, I had the thought–is a woman being beautiful a part of the image of God?

Nancy Stafford:  I think so.  God Himself is beauty, and I think that the more we look like him, the more beautiful we truly become and, also, we were created in the image of beauty Himself, and I think He loves beauty.  Look at nature.  God is in the business of creating the most spectacular, the most glorious, the most incredible creation and we, of course, getting to be the best of His creation.

But beauty is important to us, and I want to be sure that the listeners don’t think that we’re approaching this topic, either, from the idea that beauty should just be put aside; that we shouldn’t have any kind of care about ourselves or respect or admiration for what God has made us to be, because don’t you feel nourished when you walk through a gallery of incredible art; when you walk into a beautiful home or taste a wonderful meal? 

Those are expressions of His creative beauty that He wants us to enjoy, and He wants us to make the most of what He made us to be.  I think when we see ourselves in His own eyes we, then, too, become beautiful.

Bob:  That’s where I think you’ve hit on what is the challenge for so many women, because on one end of the spectrum there can be an obsession over appearance.  On the other end of the spectrum, there can be an intentionality about being plain…

Dennis:  Yes. Vanilla.

Bob:  …about not wanting to do anything that reflects any beauty.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss:  I was just reading, Bob, about one of the early church fathers who said to his congregation that was arrayed, he said, “In peacock-like outfits.”  These people cared a lot about materialism, and they were all decked out, and he chided his congregation about how ostentatious they were.  A little old man stood up and said, “So what are we to wear?”  And he said, “Whatever protects your body from the heat and the cold.”  That was to be it.  And this man was dressed in this very plain, brown sack-looking robe, and that was his sense of what was appropriate.

So I think the enemy tends to take us to one of two extremes–that outward appearance is everything or that it is nothing.  And as Nancy just said, we have a God who created things that do appeal to the senses and the eyes.  I think there’s an appropriate way for us as women to have that kind of beauty. 

Bob: So should you make it a goal, Sharon, to be an attractive woman?

Sharon Jaynes:  The way I look at it, Bob, is I am an ambassador of Christ.  I am representing Jesus Christ in this world.  And not only that, I think for married women–God created men to be visual creatures, and if I were to say, “Well, I’m not going to care about how I look.  It’s okay if I gain 100 pounds.  It’s okay if he comes home after work, and I’m still in my sweats with no makeup on and my hair pulled back.” 

You know, that’s an affront to my husband and, for me, that says, “I don’t really care about you.  I don’t care what you want.”  So for me to take care of myself is honoring my husband, as well.  I think many women need to think about that.

Dennis:  And we’re making a point here–beauty matters.  We can’t push it in the closet, and can’t go to the extreme of ignoring it–beauty does matter.  Now, I’m going to ask all three of you ladies to be honest about your own beauty, all right? 

Here is the question:  how much of your physical beauty is a part of who you are and your identity as a woman right now?  I’m not asking you what part you wish it would be, but right now, as a part of your day, as you get up, and you look in the mirror, and as you start your day on a 1 to 10 point scale, 10 being a lot of my identity is tied up in my physical beauty or number 1 being virtually none of my identity is tied up in it.

Okay, who would like to be first?  On a 1-to-10-point scale.

Nancy Stafford:  I’ll go first.  I’ll preface it, as you even prefaced it–I wish it were not this number, but I think I am probably about a 5 on the scale.  I’m an actress.  In normal life, if I were just living a normal life, I would be normal, I would look normal.  I am hefty in Hollywood terms.  I have gotten through mental pause, so I am in mental pause and going through, first, infertility treatments and then getting into the whole hormonal changes, I have gained weight, I am 20 pounds heavier than I want to be, and I am having a heck of a time losing it–never had the problem before. 

Many women are facing this problem.  I am having a difficult time seeing my body change.  I’m seeing lines that I didn’t used to have at almost 50 years old.  I still think, by and large, I still look good, but what nags at me is my profession.  What nags at me is I look at myself based on what that standard is.

Dennis:  And you’re competing with some …

Nancy Stafford:  oh, I’m competing, not only against younger women, but women who have been surgically altered to look 30 who are actually 50.

Dennis:  Well, we’re going to talk about surgically altered …

Nancy Stafford:  … and, unfortunately, because of my profession, that still frames too much of my self-perception.  So that’s …

Dennis:  that’s fair …

Nancy Stafford:… that’s how I feel.

Dennis:  Sharon.

Sharon Jaynes:  Well, I’d have to say a 5 also, but I don’t know if that’s a bad thing.  I feel pretty comfortable with a 5.  You know, when I was growing up–not raised in a Christian home – raised in a home where my parents fought a lot–a lot of alcohol, a lot of violence.  I always grew up thinking, “If I could be prettier, if I could be smarter,” and I really struggled with all kinds of insecurities, and I wanted to be beautiful, and I did put a lot of weight on that as a young child, and then, as a teenager. 

Amazingly, when I became a Christian at 14 through a mother in my neighborhood–a mother of a friend of mine–those feelings didn’t go away.  I didn’t instantly say, “Okay, I’m a Christian now,” and this is where I think a lot of Christian women struggle.  They think, “Now that I know the Lord, I shouldn’t care so much about how I look.  That shouldn’t be such a big deal.  It was still a big deal for me.  It wasn’t until I moved into my 30s, and I really started reading about who I was in Christ, where I was in Christ, what I had in Christ–how God really saw me–that I started to change the importance of my appearance.  So I’ve gone down from a 9 to a 5, and I’m feeling pretty good about that.

But I think a 5 is a good place to be because God, like we said earlier in the broadcast, we do need to care what we look like.  That verse in Proverbs 31 that says beauty is vain, the actual word–it means “fleeting.”  So it is fleeting.  It’s something we need to realize is that as we grow older, we’re not going to look like we’re 18, we’re not going to look like we’re 30 when we’re 50, and it’s something we need to realize that what the culture says is beautiful, well, that is going to change.  We can still be beautiful in a different way.  So to answer your question, I’d have to say I’m sitting right there at a 5, and feeling okay about that.

You know, another thing that brings to my mind about that question is there was a time in my life when the first thing I did in the morning was to put on my makeup.  I wouldn’t take the trash out without having my makeup on.  But now I can go all day and feel fine about it, but at 4:45 I might put on my makeup even if I haven’t had it on all day, because I know that man that I love is getting ready to walk in the door, and I want to look good for him.

Dennis:  That’s great.  Nancy?

Nancy Leigh DeMoss:  Well, I just want to say to Nancy Stafford you don’t have to be in Hollywood to battle those perceptions.  You can be in full-time ministry.  I also want to say that I’m really thankful that I’m in radio ministry and not TV ministry, because I think my number would be a lot higher if I had to be in front of a camera.  I have a little niece who told me she would do my hair for my radio program, and I said that’s the kind of hair I like to have to mess with, is where nobody can see it. 

I’ll also tell you, Bob, that when your assistant called–or e-mailed me–to see if I would be on this panel, I had just come back from spending a very frustrating evening at the mall trying on clothes.  I do this very rarely, and I had put on some weight, and I was very frustrated, I was very disgusted, and I didn’t think I looked good in anything. 

I got home looking very disheveled, having tried on all these clothes that didn’t fit, didn’t look good, and I got an e-mail from your assistant saying, “We’re having a panel on beauty.  Are you free that day?”  I said, my e-mail back was, “Do you want me to be on this panel or just to listen?”  I’m still laughing to myself because there is, in my own heart, even being in radio ministry where it doesn’t really matter, in a way, this–I would say–you said you’re at a 5, both you gals.  I would say I waiver between about a 3 and a 7.

At any given point on a given day I might find myself being obsessed with what am I going to wear, what am I going to do if we’re doing this videotaping?  I have to think about hair and makeup and clothing and things I really don’t want to mess with, but the gods of comparison, sinful comparison, and then what God takes me back to is the kind of beauty that really matters.

It doesn’t disappear, the kind that gets enhanced as you get older, that isn’t vain, it’s not shallow, it isn’t fleeting.  That’s the beauty of the spirit, the beauty of the heart, and when I find myself–that number going up high, and I’m too obsessed with this physical stuff, what God does is pull me back and says, “Be obsessed with the kind of beauty that is the beauty of the heart–a radiant spirit, a radiant countenance, a love for Christ, a love for other people,” and that pulls me back to the things that are eternal and really matter.

Nancy Stafford:  I love that, Nancy, and one of the things I keep remembering too, is Paul urging us and so that now is always Christ will be exalted in my body.  That means no matter how old we are, no matter what we look like, he is exalted in my body, and that means in our countenance, in our demeanor, and all those things you are talking about that aren't necessarily about the clothes I'm wearing or how much my makeup looks good or if I've gained some weight.  He is exalted in our bodies so that we can bear the appearance of Christ.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss:  And Peter says that's an unfading kind of beauty.  He's talking specifically to women–the unfading beauty of a gentle and a quiet spirit.

Nancy Stafford:  I love that.

Dennis:  I want to commend all three of you on answering what was really a very unfair question.  I mean, really, for a couple of guys to ask you all to rate yourselves around that, but I had to do it because we have listeners, literally, by the hundreds of thousands, millions of women who listen and, again, husbands who are married to them, who I felt, as you all were speaking around the table, were collectively breathing a sigh of relief because they were identifying with each one of you.  You all three talked about struggle, you talked about contentment, and you talked about the ultimate inner beauty where we must come back to that is the only place where you find security. 

It's not by going on TV and having a physical makeover of your hair and your makeup and other things, but it's a spiritual makeover–it's the desire to learn who we are in Jesus Christ.  I think both the husbands and wives and single women and, for that matter, the single men–single men should listen up to these broadcasts, because this is a hot topic.  This is important to a woman.  Women spend a lot of time in front of the mirror because how they look, their beauty, is a representation of  a part of who they are and who God made them to be as a woman.

All this week we're going to take on some issues.  In fact, let me just tell you some of the issues we're going to take on.  We're going to take on issues of being overweight, body shape and size, flaws, modesty, makeup, jewelry, body piercing, fashions, and how do we come to some kind of biblical pattern; some kind of place where we can be anchored in this cultural storm that swirls about us and, frankly, that's getting more and more difficult to determine what is truly wholesome in terms of beauty?  What does honor God?  And then how do we raise the next generation of young ladies?

I have four daughters, and I know Barbara tried to do this–we really tried to anchor them in Jesus Christ and who they are in terms of their identity in Him, but they are all four beautiful young ladies who need to dress appropriately and know how to understand their own beauty.

Bob:  I know you’ve seen what our friends over at VeggieTales are doing on this.  They’ve just come out with a new DVD that’s aimed at girls, called “Sweet Pea Beauty.”  It’s a re-telling of the Sleeping Beauty story, but it’s all about how to think rightly about appearance and beauty, and they’re targeting young women so that they’ll grow up with a more wholesome, a better more biblical view of beauty, like we’ve been talking about here today.

This week, because, as you said earlier Dennis, we’re hoping to meet some new friends, to have some folks join with us and help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today who haven’t done that before.  We’re going to make copies of the new “Sweet Pea Beauty” DVD from VeggieTales available to those listeners who will call in at 1-800-FLTODAY, or go online at FamilyLifeToday.com.  If you’ve never made a donation to FamilyLife Today before and you make a donation today, we want you to feel free to ask for a copy of the “Sweet Pea Beauty” DVD as a thank you gift for helping to support the ministry.

As you mentioned earlier, we’re hoping that we can get to know 2500 new FamilyLife Today friends this month, so we thought this might be a good way to open the door and say would you join us and help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today.  Of course part of the reason we’re doing this is because we’re facing a challenging time financially, and having to look at whether we need to do a little additional pruning here.  Perhaps cut back on some of the radio stations that currently air FamilyLife Today.

Many of our listeners have made donations in the past and we appreciate those of you who have done that.  But, we’re hoping to rally some of those folks who have been regular listeners but have never made a donation.  So, if you would consider making a donation today and become one of those new friends.  I mean, you’ve been a friend we just haven’t known who you are.  We’d love to say thank you for your donation by sending you a copy of the new VeggieTales DVD called “Sweet Pea Beauty:  A Girl After God’s Heart”. 

As I mentioned, you can make your donation by calling 1-800-FLTODAY, or going online at FamilyLifeToday.com.  We’ll keep you up-to-date throughout the month as to how we’re doing in our goal of trying to get to know 2500 of our listeners here during the month of August. 

 

Let me also mention that on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com, you’ll find a link to the True Woman ’10 website.  There are a couple of conferences coming up.  One in September in Indianapolis, one in October in Fort Worth, conferences for women being hosted by Revive Our Hearts.  Nancy Leigh DeMoss is going to be there, I’m going to be there as well.  Some great speakers are lined up, and you can get all the information when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com, and click on the link to the True Woman ’10 conference.  You can register and plan to join us for one of these upcoming conferences for women.

Now, tomorrow we’re going to talk about whether the longing in the heart of a woman to be a beautiful woman, is that a godly longing?  Or is it an ungodly longing?  Where’s it coming from?  We’ll talk about that tomorrow.  I hope you can be 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 tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas. 

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