So, I know I said I was taking a break, but something kept me up all night: A picture of Patti Stanger (AKA: The Millionaire Matchmaker) on E!
Yes, I know. This is obviously what I get when my source of news is from a channel with an exclamation point in the title.

It’s a side-by-side picture of Patti Pre-and Post-Plastic Surgery. It says this, â€œWe’re big proponents of natural beauty over here, but sometimes, even the best need a little help to get by. In the case of Patti Stanger, she admits that she didn’t discover her personal best until she went under the knife.”
Here is a beautiful woman claiming that a series of plastic surgeries led her to finding “her personal best,” and a new (younger) fiance. (Who, by the way, was “shocked” when he discovered Patti’s age.) And here is the media congratulating her for it. The article even ends with a “Wowza!”
Yesterday I breezed through the piece and honestly didn’t think much more about it. But, there was this little thought that crept it…I wonder if I’ll ever get Botox and a Breast Lift? (After all, we all know about my Bra-sis. 
Today, that little thought is breaking my heart. Not just for me; I’m broken for generations of women who have bought the lie that they are not enough.
One American survey reports that over eighty percent of ten-year-old girls have already dietedAnd that 80 percent of all American women over the age of 18 report being unhappy when they look in the mirror.
This means that in the next  few years, my future daughters-in-law (who are presently six-years-old or younger) will begin to refer to themselves as chubby and ugly. It also means that you and I have set that example…because we feel it too. 

That fact alone should start a righteous fire in all of us to do something to fight against our shame-driven culture. I’m already praying that those little girls discover freedom through Christ and learn to love the skin they’re in.

Women are wounded. We’ve bought the lie that our aging faces, graying hair, and changing physiques are not signs of a meaningful life; they’re reminders that we’re deficient. Some of us refuse to wear shorts because we don’t want our neighbors to see the cellulite on our legs. Some can only be with our husbands with the lights off. We hate our teeth, so we don’t smile in pictures. We’d rather hide than engage in community. 

We’ve forgotten that we are created beings, made not in the image on our screens, but as Imago Dei—the Image of God.
This obsession with appearance is just another version of the age-old quest to find the fountain of youth, to be immortal. At its heart, it is the ugliest form of idolatry—the desire to be worshiped as a god.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s healthy and right to take care of ourselves. But, beauty image messages promote a twisted version of the gospel. All fall short of the glory of the latest supermodel/celebrity/musician. So, we bow down to the altar of new products, diets, exercise programs, anti-aging creams. It’s a sin that has become so commonplace, so acceptable, that we’ve grown to believe it’s normal to feel less than. We fill that emptiness with anything we think might give us a moment of confidence, a fleeting feeling of beauty and worth. Ultimately, that’s not being kind to ourselves or to our sisters in Christ.  
Genesis 1:27 says that God created male and female in His image, and Genesis two tells us that they were created without shame.

I’ve stated this before, but it bears repeating: When Ancient Near Eastern kings set up images of themselves in various parts of their territories, those images represented their sovereign presence and rule in that area. God, on the other hand, didn’t put images made of metal or statues of clay on earth to represent Him — You are God’s portrait. 

You, with your specific body type, your freckles, your weight, your gifts and passions, were designed to reflect a fuller image of God’s love to the world. In fact, in the final verse of Genesis one, God looked at His creation and called it “very good,” which means that in God’s eyes, you have exceeding value.  
We all know how the story goes. Evil entered that Edenic existence and for the first time, Adam and Eve desired an identity OTHER than the one God originally designed for them. They worshiped at the altar of otherhood. Adam and Eve (and you and I) were broken, conflicted, and filled with shame. Attempting to hide that shame from their Father, they covered themselves with fig leaves, and as a consequence of their sin, were kicked out that luscious land.
However, just before they left the garden, God did something remarkable. Genesis 3:21 says, “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.”

Why does that matter? Because it means that God replaced Adam and Eve’s fig leaf wardrobe with clothes made by His own hands. 

He removed their shame and replaced it with Himself.
When I read about Patti and even think through my own beauty regime, I wonder…if we continue to make choices that objectify ourselves, are we exercising  our womanly rights to freedom? Or, are we living as slaves to shame? I know it’s a fine line between coloring your hair and going under the knife, but what is that line? Are we putting on those fig leaves again? 
Here is what I do know: God is gracious, generous, and good. He has designed us with the capacity to admire, appreciate, and even glorify beauty. But, He alone is the answer to that longing.  His beauty is the only one worth worshiping. 

To live shamelessly is to silence the voice that says you will have more worth when you are other than who God created you to be. That’s crazy talk anyway. That’s just Shame trying to keep you from understanding your true value in Christ. 

It’s time to let God’s voice speak louder. 

Shame has and will continue to do whatever it can to condemn us. Frankly, I’m ready to return the favor. 

Who’s with me? 

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