“a time to weep, and a time to laugh”
I have this friend. She’s one of those people you can’t help but love to be around. She’s funny and encouraging and completely generous. I remember one phonce call where I could hear her tears over the phone as she told me about a woman who needed gas and my friend was heartbroken that she couldn’t do more. She’s also, in my opinion, totally beautiful.
A little while back she somehow got a bad allergic reaction to something in her contacts. There was no faint swelling of the lips or slightly puffy-looking eyes; her entire face was completely swollen with one of her eyes almost entirely closed. How do I know this? Because instead of hiding in a dark room and hoping no one ever saw her until all remnants of the reaction were forever gone, like I would probably have, she posted pictures of her briefly bloated face for the world to see. When I asked her about it, she said that the only option she really had was to laugh about it.
Don’t you wish that we could all be like that all the time? Laugh it off when our hair looks terrible. Smile even though a zit giving Mount Everest a run for the money decided to claim our forehead. Radiate with euphoria despite the fact that the jeans that once fit now don’t seem to want to make it past our knees.
Here’s the thing – part of this is normal. We all want to be attractive and look great all the time. No one wants to think that our appearance is somehow substandard or not special. Teenagers in particular are pretty susceptible to this. Research shows that adolescence is a time of finding your identity, and how you look is going to play a large part into that.
Here’s the other thing – “normal” isn’t always a good thing. Christians are to be set apart and different from the rest of the world (1 Peter 2:9). The same research that shows teenagers are trying to find their identity indicates that you are naturally going to be self-absorbed because you’re spending so much time finding yourself. Generally, that’s going to be true. What I’m suggesting is that you try to be different from the world and not fall into that group just because that’s what is expected of you. Almost every Christian I know would be able to tell me they should be different than the world, but I’ve met very few (myself included) who don’t fall into the trap of placing too much importance in what they look like.
We all want to be beautiful. For many, that’s a vanity that we will constantly struggle against. But we can’t let that define our lives and behavior. When we look in the mirror and see someone mean, or a gossip, or a “sassy” attitude (no one likes that girls, male or female), or someone who cares so much about their appearance they’ve placed that above anything else – that’s when we should cry. That’s when we should break down, ask for forgiveness, and try to make a change in our life. The rest of it, how we look and all that? It won’t last anyways (Proverbs 31:30). Don’t waste tears over something that won’t matter. Laugh it off.