It was with great excitement that Love Ann Joy released its Altogether Beautiful scripture inspired apparel yesterday. While it is true that we produce many scripture inspired products, this particular campaign means a lot to everyone who worked on the Altogether Beautiful project….especially me.
I know I am not alone in saying that I have been affected by others’ perception of beauty. It is indeed an ugly beast to slay. It was not until I was older, surrounded myself around encouraging people and drew closer to Christ that I began to overcome my desire to mold myself to cultural or worldly perceptions of beauty. The funny thing is I wasn’t even aware it was something I needed to overcome until I began to learn and embrace how God sees me….how He defines beauty. It wasn’t until I began to ponder on how I became so broken in my thinking that I realized that the cards began to stack against me much earlier than I realized.
As early as 5 or 6 years old, I can recall one warm spring day my Kindergarten class was in a single file line preparing to go home for the day. At the doors leading out of the building was a young lady who I believe was a Teacher’s Assistant. As each of my classmates passed the Teacher Assistant she tapped them on the top of the head and would either say “cute” or “ugly” [Yes, she actually said the words aloud for our young and impressionable ears to hear and digest]. I was old enough to know “cute” was a good thing and “ugly” was a bad thing. Some of the girls who were in front of me were declared to be “cute” but when I reached the Teacher’s Assistant, I was declared to be “ugly” [Wow….really Lady!].
While I can laugh and joke about it now, I still haven’t forgotten that day. At five years old, I was left to wonder why this Lady didn’t consider me “cute.” What was it about my classmates that the Teacher’s Assistant thought made them “cute” but not me? Glory be to God that I didn’t think too long about the matter [come on…I was 5/6 years old with rumbling and tumbling on my mind]. Don’t get me wrong, I thought about it long enough to draw conclusions but not long enough for it to disintegrate my self-esteem.
Now imagine our youth today….with their endless avenues of influence. When I was 5/6 years old, I didn’t have many avenues of influence. Let’s see, perhaps school, the “fieldhouse” and home were my avenues of influence. With the invention of the worldwide web and smartphones, our youth have endless and anonymous avenues of influence. And, with each avenue of influence comes differing perceptions of beauty.
In fact, an online pharmacy proved how the perception of beauty indeed differs and is in the eye of the beholder. Huffington Post reported that “UK online pharmacy Superdrug Online Doctors recently created a project called “Perceptions Of Perfection.
“The project featured 18 Photoshopped images of the same woman. Superdrug Online Doctors hired designers from countries around the world to Photoshop a stock image via Shutterstock to reflect the beauty standards of their specific countries. Out of the 18 designers, 14 were women and four were men, according to Superdrug. In order to highlight a woman’s perception of her culture’s beauty standards, Superdrug asked the four male designers to Photoshop the image based on messages women in their countries receive about what an ideal body should look like.” Some designers slightly altered the image, while others made the image barely recognizable.
Not only does the perception of beauty differ among cultures, it also differs depending upon time and place. What was considered beautiful in the 1960’s may not be so beautiful in the 1980’s or 2016.
The truth is the worldly perception of beauty shifts and changes but how God, the ultimate Beholder, defines beauty is consistent and the only true definition of beauty. The fact is all of God’s children are “altogether beautiful: mind, body and spirit” through Christ. The more we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12), the better we are able to live in truth and see our true beauty.
It is our prayer here at Love Ann Joy that our Altogether Beautiful campaign will encourage us all to declare beauty over ourselves from the inside out!
In our Altogether Beautiful: Part 2 of 4 blog we will share scriptures about how God sees beauty. Stay tuned and be sure to tell someone today that they are “Altogether Beautiful.”