Recently on a quick trip to the grocery store, the cashier asked me if I would like to take advantage of their senior citizen’s discount.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!
Stunned and shocked, I thought perhaps I hadn’t heard her correctly so I clarified by asking, “Exactly what age is the minimum requirement for the said discount?”
(Thinking…hoping…praying that it was ridiculously young…like 35.)
“Sixty,” she replied confidently.
I mustered a futile attempt to mask the wide range of emotions raging through my mind and body. While I’m no longer a spring chicken, I’m not even close to being 60!
I was hurt.
And a part of me wanted to educate her on the finer art of asking appropriate questions.
For example, you should NOT, under ANY circumstances, ever, ever, EVER ask two general kinds of questions:
- Any questions related to a woman’s age, and
- Anything that has to do with being pregnant, possibly being pregnant or postpartum baby weight.
If this is your first time hearing this, you’re welcome. You have just been spared much embarrassment, ire and shame.
I went home to complain and cry to my husband and kids who immediately responded with,
“Did you get the discount?”
The next day, in an attempt to repair my injured self-esteem, Gregg took me to Longs and invited me to purchase whatever beauty/hair/makeup products I desired. What a great husband.
Interestingly, there was one emotion that I didn’t expect to find triggered by this incident.
Insecurity. For the next week or so, I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time comparing my looks, my hair, my skin, my body with other women.
I know it’s shallow and shouldn’t have bothered me.
I know I should be mature enough to just laugh it off.
But it did bother me.
I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this either.
Just a quick glance at the magazine covers in the line at the grocery store and you’ll notice how our culture sends plenty of messages about the value of achieving success and attaining “outer” beauty.
Whether it’s the latest anti-aging cream, weight loss plan or hair product, we’re seduced to invest a lot of energy into improving our “outside”.
But how much attention to we direct towards cultivating and caring for inner beauty?
I love how Peter gently instructs and reminds women where their focus should lie,
“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”1 Peter 3:3-4 NLT
How quickly we can lose focus. In looking for the affirmation from the people around us, we spend a lot of time fixing and upgrading our outer self.
God looks deeper. He sees our heart. He sees who we’re becoming. He sees how he created us to live and I believe it breaks his heart to see us settle for the superficial second best.
I still color my graying hair. I’m still on the hunt for the best anti-aging cream. And I still haven’t been able to bring myself to go back through that cashier’s line at the grocery store.
But my primary focus is in a different place that looks towards a different end result of developing an inner beauty that is precious to God and brings glory to him.
Think about it…
How have you seen your external appearance affect your identity?
What would a gentle and quiet spirit look like in your life?
What is one step you can take to cultivate your inner beauty?