High Maintenance Christianity: Accessorized and Set Apart
- Eva Marie Everson Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2004 27 Feb
One of my favorite movies is Steel Magnolias. In it, Clairee Belcher (played by Olympia Dukakis), declares, "The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize."
Recently, as I stood over the costume jewelry sales table (Take an additional 40 percent off), my very good friend, Kristy (with whom I share a passion for rings-n-things), gave me her best pout and said, "It's all your fault I love costume jewelry so much. I never thought about it much until you came into my life...and now look at me! I'm hooked!"
Yeah...well. Throw a silver chain belt on a pair of plain slacks and you've got pizzazz. Add a broach to a jacket and make it sharp. Add a drop-pearl earrings and necklace set to that "little black dress" and you've got stunning.
Accessorize, sweetie...and set yourself apart.
The Body Beautiful/Physical
I have determined that men and women see "body accessories" differently. We women think in terms of jewelry, hats and purses. Men think in terms of the bodies of their automobiles. Or tools from a hardware store. So, let's just stick with the girls. After all, girls simply have more fun!
What I said earlier is just pure truth: a little something can take a nothing and make it into fabulous.
About 12 years ago my husband and I had a dear friend named Marilyn. Marilyn was a new believer, single, spent many of her nights alone. We often invited her over for a meal and some fellowship. I distinctly remember one evening; it was a cold January afternoon. The outdoors was literally gray. I'd cooked up a huge vat of homemade vegetable soup and then, on a whim, called Marilyn.
"I'm not really dressed," she said. "Just my blue sweats."
"That's not a problem," I told her. "It's just us anyway."
Marilyn said she'd be right over. About 20 minutes later (five minutes more than it would have taken her to drive from her place to ours), she stepped through the back door and...ohmygoodness!
Marilyn wore royal blue sweats all right, but they were accessorized by a blue print scarf tied around the crown of her head, large royal blue/navy blue earrings, and a few bangles in multiple shades of blue. Her large blue eyes were shadowed and lined almost professionally in various shades of blue as well.
She was stunning.
So, what does it mean to accessorize?
There is jewelry of course. Earrings, bracelets, anklets, watches, necklaces, broaches, rings for the fingers, rings for the toes.
For the hair there are tiaras, headbands, barrettes. Hair spins, hair picks, hair clips. Bandanas. Ponytailers and pony-os.
There are scarves and purses (from really, really inexpensive to you-could-buy-a-small-house). Shoes and belts. (Again, from inexpensive to "let me take out a loan...")
Some ladies still enjoy hats and gloves. I wish I could be among their masses.
Today, even glasses and sunglasses have become fashion statements. Recently, when the movie Sweet Home Alabama (starring Reese Witherspoon) released, there was as big a do over her sunglasses as the down-home humor of the film. Corrective eyewear that we used to op against for contact lenses now has designer names attached. Who'da thunk it?
Editor's Side Note: Jill Rigby author, speaker, and columnist, is the developer of a manners and etiquette school curriculum and one of the best "purse and shoes" accessorizers of all time! This love began with a mother who made matching outfits for her daughters, including gloves and hates. But does adding accessories to your wardrobe have to be expensive? "It does not," Jill states. "I'm a classic dresser 99.9 percent of the time. I let color keep me updated, as well as shoes and purses. That way I can wear the same clothes until they fall apart and still look "up to the minute" without spending a fortune. I love a good sale and only buy in the off season...another advantage to classic dressing. I don't buy anything at full price..."
The Body Beautiful/Spiritual
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. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. ~~1 Peter 3: 3,4
What is Peter saying here? That women should not wear jewelry? Braid their hair? Dress nicely?
Hardly. What he is saying is that true beauty should not originate from these areas.
Have you ever met someone who was lovely to behold but not to speak with? Or, have you ever met someone who did absolutely nothing external to "fix herself up," and yet, having spent 10 minutes with her, you walked away thinking, "What a beauty!"
So, where does our true beauty come from? According to Peter, from a gentle and quiet spirit. I like what the great commentator, Matthew Henry, wrote about this verse. He said:
Putting on of apparel is not forbidden, but vanity and costliness in ornament. Religious people should take care that all their behaviour answers to their profession. But how few know the right measure and bounds of those two necessaries of life, food and raiment! Unless poverty is our carver, and cuts us short, there is scarcely any one who does not desire something beyond what is good for us. Far more are beholden to the lowliness of their state, than the lowliness of their mind; and many will not be so bounded, but lavish their time and money upon trifles. The apostle directs Christian females to put on something not corruptible, that beautifies the soul, even the graces of God's Holy Spirit. A true Christian's chief care lies in right ordering his own spirit. This will do more to fix the affections, and excite the esteem of a husband, than studied ornaments or fashionable apparel, attended by a forward and quarrelsome temper.
Because we looked at so many different accessories, let's explore more of those that please and are from the Lord.
And the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. ~~Isaiah 35:10
Songs, joy that never ends, and gladness. These are the accessories we read about in Isaiah.
I absolutely love what Ezekiel wrote in terms of God's view of His people: I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was fine flour, honey and olive oil. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. ~~Ezekiel 16:11-13.
Was the great prophet speaking of physical bracelets or rings? Literal tiaras? No. Take a moment to look closely at the verse.
When it came to jewels, only women of rank and position were afforded such luxuries. They were symbols of great beauty, bestowed on them by their kings.
Our King, Jesus, has given us such beauty through righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8 reads: Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.) and our "wedding dress."
Revelation 19: 6-8 reads: Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
Finally, Revelation 21:2 reads: And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
Adorned...accessorized...set apart from the ordinary because our King has showered us with riches beyond a fortune of silver and gold...or Prada and Dooney & Bourke...or even Tiffany's and Harry Winston.
A Final Word About High Maintenance Christianity
The number of emails I have received concerning HMC has been overwhelming. Only two were negative to any degree, even slight. Both assumed I am a woman of "means" with money to burn. Let me assure you I am not. I have found that taking care of myself doesn't cost nearly as much as it rewards and "dime store" products can be just as satisfying as department store quality.
Recently a woman said to me, "I have tried to figure out how you manage all the balls you juggle...and I have decided you take care of yourself. You have inspired me to do the same."
Well, thank you... Allow me to further inspire each of you, certainly, to take care of yourselves physically, but more importantly, to give time over to the care of your spiritual selves. I hope you've been stirred to be the most beautiful Bride for the most wonderful of Bridegrooms!
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
~~Proverbs 31: 30
Questions for Personal and Group Study
1. What is your favorite way to accessorize?
2. What does it mean, to you, to have a gentle and quiet spirit? Do you think this is one way you accessorize your faith?
3. We all know what social graces are. What are the graces of the Holy Spirit?
4. The "singing" in Isaiah 35:10 literally means "shouts of hallelujahs." Do you exude an internal joy that seems to know no bounds?
5. Define your physical wedding dress...or the one you plan to wear in the future. Can you define your spiritual wedding dress?
Award-winning national speaker, Eva Marie Everson's work includes Intimate Moments with God and Intimate Encounters with God (Cook). She is the author of Shadow of Dreams, Summon the Shadows and Shadow of Light. (Barbour Fiction) She can be contacted for comments or for speaking engagement bookings at www.EvaMarieEverson.com
Other Articles in this Series:
High Maintenance Christianity: Stay Fit for the Journey
High Maintenance Christianity: Clothed with Righteousness
High Maintenance Christianity: Is Your Soul Soft Too?
High Maintenance Christianity: Don a Protective Shield
High Maintenance Christianity: Being "Washed Clean"
High Maintenance Christianity