Saturday, September 27, 2008

Image is Nothing, Thirst is Everything. Obey Your Thirst

This morning as I was getting dressed and ready for the day, going through the paces of my daily "beauty regimen", all of a sudden the old Sprite catch-phrase was floating through my head: "Image is nothing, thirst is everything. Obey your thirst." This was one of the stranger things to enter my thoughts in recent days. It wasn't a passing thought, either. It has been inside my head all day.

I haven't seen a Sprite commercial for... ages, and I haven't seen this particular one for years. More than that, I can't remember the last time I even saw, let alone drank, a Sprite. But this was in my head. Immediately after this popped into my head, I began to think about two different Bible verses:
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 1 Peter 3:3-4
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled." Matthew 5:6
Being woman, body image is very important to me. It baffles me why, when, and how exactly this became true of me. I wasn't raised to be so focused on and worried about my appearance. My parents raised me in such a way that beauty, while a good thing, was no where near the center of my focus. I was raised to be an independent, self-confident and capable woman, not relying on my appearance but my intellect and cognition.

This is why I am baffled over and over again why beauty and the whole physical appearance thing are so prominent in my thought life. I have been told that this is part of the way that women are generally wired, that this obsession with physical beauty is something that is almost always floating around in the back of our minds (or sometimes front and center and seemingly unavoidable and impossible to ignore). And most of the thoughts that surface concerning physical beauty, at least for me-- I don't pretend to speak for all women-- are ones of insufficiency and dissatisfaction. These thoughts of course lead toward a kind of uncomfortable consciousness about myself.

This consciousness is somehow inexplicably linked to a deep desire to be loved, and a doubt that if I don't live up to the impossible standard of beauty the culture sets, then I will not be loved. The desire to be the object of a real love is like a voracious, nearly unquenchable thirst. I know that if I were to seek in the world for that thirst to be quenched, my mouth and my soul would grow dustier and drier for the trying. So where does a girl go to have her thirst quenched from its very depths?
"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David." Isaiah 55:1-3
But this morning, as I thought about Sprite, I was reminded that my appearance does not matter to the One who loves me the most. In fact, I was almost dancing as I thought about following my thirst to the source of the River of Life where I can drink freely and deeply. Rejoiced at the thought of being filled and brought to a blessed disinterest in my physique because all my attention would be not on my beauty, but caught breathlessly up by the beauty of the One who is the Beginning and the End.

"He said to me: 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son." Revelation 21:6-7
I pray God's blessings to all of you who read this post. May you "Obey Your Thirst" and be filled with the Living Water that is found alone in Christ Jesus.

1 comment:

Andrew Lacy said...

It's kind of funny that you would write this, because for today's sermon PB started a series on Song of Soloman. The first thing written on the front of the bulletin was "What makes a person attractive? Character." I couldn't help but think of reading this last night. It's almost as though God plans these things to speak to his people.

It really is unfortunate that our sinful nature has led people to put so much emphasis on physical beauty when that's really the least important thing for us to look at. Unfortunately, even those of us who recognize that problem still can't completely avoid it.

As much as society and our shallowness as humans would like us to believe otherwise, it is the content of your character that makes you beautiful. Everything else is just superficial.