Christian Comparison Isn't Pretty
How do we fight such a powerful influence? Should we boycott Pinterest, declare that makeup is the devil, and all wear burlap sacks? Definitely not. Another great blogger, Glennon Melton, put it best in her post "Quit Pointing Your Avocado at Me." She challenges the notion that other women are doing life "at" her. The diets, the homemade baby food, the marathons, the cloth diapers—none of this is directed "at" her, or any other woman. Instead, "everybody is just doing the best they can."
I agree. There is a place for enjoying adorable photos and beautiful homes, and we shouldn't rush to judge someone's motives in sharing them. Maybe decorating her home is therapeutic. Maybe hospitality is her gift. Maybe fashion is her creative outlet. And maybe teaching her child baby sign language is something she enjoys.
I have no way of knowing, because I am not the Holy Spirit sent to search her motives and convict her. I can only know my own. That's why the cure begins with me, and it's just as slow and steady as the sickness. Rather than waste time wishing other people would change, I need to be the initiator. I need to break file, for the sake of the woman right next to me.
What does that kind of countercultural resistance look like? For me, in the area where I live, it means keeping my dress somewhat simple. I still wear the clothes I like, I style my hair, and I paint my nails. But not always. Sometimes I don't wear makeup in public. Sometimes I don't wash my hair for social events. Sometimes—as I write this, in fact—I put on a wrinkled shirt.
To me, these are tiny acts of resistance. And while they might seem small and pointless to everyone else, they are an alternative to the tiny acts of idolatry that create a culture of comparison. These small acts of resistance are my way of making space for the women around me, space for them to stop striving and simply be.
That's why this isn't just about comparison. This is about love of neighbor. I don't want my sisters to feel guilty about their disorganized homes or ashamed of their clothes. Especially at church. I want them to come in to an environment that is safe and free. I want them to feel loved and accepted and good. I want them to be liberated from the distraction of self, so that they can turn their faces to God.
So I will join the women who are resisting the cult of image—not because I want to join in a trend to flaunt my flaws, but because I want to be honest and authentic with my community. I will engage in small acts of resistance in my home, in my friendships, on the Internet, and in my church. I will do this because I love God and I love my neighbors. And I will do this because no woman should go to a church, a Christian conference, or a Christian home and feel less-than. These places should be a refuge from a world of pressure and comparison, and creating that kind of countercultural community begins with me.
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