That is the question. Or is it? Maybe it’s breast augmentation or a tummy tuck or an eye lift or weight loss surgery. Women have come a long way from makeup and hair curlers in our eternal quest for beauty.
I’ll fess up first. I’ve thought about it. More than once. And my guess is you have too, if you’re honest. Even if it’s a fleeting thought as you walk out of your bathroom or catch your reflection in a window or mirror, fixing some flaw has crossed your mind. Never mind whether you can afford it or not. The longing to stop or slow the breakdown of our youth is universal.
This topic has been on my mind for a long time because I see women going under the knife for beauty everywhere. They are my age and they are my oldest daughter’s age. She told me recently that “all the women” her age, in their mid to late 30s, were getting breast augmentations. Of course it’s not all, but when it’s becoming common in your circle of church friends in Middle America, it feels like all.
In my age group it’s slowing the signs of aging by filling creases and lifting sagging skin. Who over 50 hasn’t looked in the mirror and lifted drooping skin with two fingers?
So is it wrong?
Clearly there is no prohibition in the Bible, but there are many cautions against putting our hope in external beauty. And yes, there are medical reasons for some procedures, so strict dos and don’ts can’t be created.
When I turned 60–still sounds impossible–I was having a momentary moment of mourning in front of the bathroom mirror one day. Wondering where the glow had gone, where the wrinkles had come from and when. It seemed so sudden. Standing there I asked the Lord, “Would it be ok if I fixed this?” He didn’t say no. He didn’t say yes. What He did say was, “Do not lay up for yourself treasures on earth, but instead lay up treasures in heaven where moth and rust won’t corrupt.”
Honestly, I was quite surprised that out of nowhere came the “thought” of this verse. I hadn’t just read it or heard a sermon on it. And I ask God lots of questions that He doesn’t answer on the spot or ever.
But I knew it was Him. It was so like Him to remind me that what matters on earth doesn’t matter in heaven. If I spend thousands of dollars on recapturing a youthful look, I’m investing in earth not heaven. And even if money was not an issue, a surgical fix is still temporary.
As I walked out of the bathroom that day I knew the answer to my question was about pleasing someone other than myself. And I’ve wondered, too, since that day, if the wearing down of the body isn’t good for me, good for my heart not to be proud, to trust less in my flesh and more in my Savior.
The real question is not one of right or wrong but of who we are living to please. The grass withers and the flower fades and so will we. Our souls will live forever. I want to please Him, to invest in what will last forever, and to have no regrets when I see Him face to face.