Do Looks Matter?
Excuse me? Did she just say that looks matter? What the heck?
Yes, I did. But let me explain what I mean.
How you look, or how you think you look, matters because it shows what you value, has an impact on how you perceive yourself and, as a result, how you present yourself to others.
Now we’ve all heard the sayings:
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
“Beauty is only skin deep.”
“It’s what’s on the inside that counts.”
“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting.” - (That one is from the Bible).
I’ve heard these things said and I do believe all of them are true. However, I also know that at the end of the day, when you look in the mirror, if you are not satisfied with what is looking back at you (from the inside or the outside), your looks are going to matter. It will make a difference in your self confidence, and also how you show up in the world.
When I was in middle school on Long Island in the (19…..’s), looks and the brands of clothes you wore were a VERY BIG DEAL. To be considered cool, good enough, or even remotely tolerated by peers, you had to fit in and that meant being in style with your looks. I was not.
It sucked! I hated it with every fiber of my being!
How I looked affected how I felt.
How I felt affected the inner voices (aka Satan’s lies) I listened to.
How I felt affected what I accomplished (or in this case didn’t accomplish).
I was rendered ineffective.
Thankfully, as we mature, we grow out of the middle school snobbery and condescension (or at least I hope we do). But still, that experience taught me something about appearances.
Looks Matter Because it Says Something About You
How you look says that you care about your appearance or that you don’t care.
If I show up to work, school, a store, or a restaurant and I have put little to no effort into my appearance, it is going to make a statement to anyone who sees me.
Try to imagine this (and I’m willing to bet several of you have actually experienced this):
You are standing in line at Target (or whatever store you frequent) and as you are double checking your list you notice the person in line ahead of you. She’s dressed in clothes that do not fit. Maybe they are worn out, too tight, or have stains. Maybe they don’t even match. Her skin looks worn and tired, she has no makeup on, you can see chipped nail polish on her nails. Her hair is thrown up into a messy bun, and she appears to be in a bad mood.
I know we’d all like to think that we would not judge or criticize. We’ve all had our moments. We have no way of knowing what that woman is going through and besides it’s none of our business.
You’re right. We don’t know - it’s not our business - and we should not judge…..but my point is, YOU NOTICED HER. And what you noticed was not flattering.
That sloppy appearance says something about that woman.
Maybe she is having a bad day.
Maybe she is struggling and can’t afford to do more.
Maybe she’s too busy with kids to get her appearance together.
Or maybe she is just in the middle of a gardening project and had to run out for something she forgot.
The real reason may not be something we ever know for sure, but what we DO know is that her appearance said this: The way I look is not of value to me.
Ok, I know that may be a harsh example, but it’s there. Right there everyday. People see you and they notice how you look. Do you look like you care about your appearance or like you don’t care?
Looks Matter Because it Shows That You Value Yourself
Take a minute and consider something you have that has value. Maybe it’s your house, your car, your relationships. How do you treat those things?
Do you clean your house?
Do you repair things when they break?
Do you take your car in to get serviced?
Do you invest time into developing your relationships so they don’t fall apart?
If you value something, you take care of it.
You are a unique person (body and soul) created by God for
a particular purpose on this earth. He has given you your body, your mind, and your talents. And guess what?
He expects you to take care of them.
Do you value what God has given you or are you treating it as a throw away?
If you do value your body, does your appearance back that up?
Looks Matter Because it Affects How You Perceive Yourself
“If you look good, you feel good, and then you do good.”
I have no idea who originally said that - it’s been in all kinds of memes, but it is true.
When you sit around all day in your pjs or junky poorly fitting clothing, don’t shower, brush your hair or teeth, don’t exercise, don’t eat well or do anything to show care for your body - How do you usually feel…...You feel like crap right?
If you treat your body without respect, you will not respect yourself. You will look miserable, feel miserable, and you will have zero ambition to accomplish anything.
So, we’ve all had days (maybe the occasional few days ) where we’ve been a sloth and done absolutely nothing. Everyone has that. It’s usually because we have not been keeping things in balance - that’s for another post.
But imagine if that plays out as a daily habit over a long period of time.
If you never look good, feel good, or accomplish anything, what do you start to believe about yourself?
What thoughts start playing in your mind?
“No one likes me.”
“I’m not good enough...smart enough... pretty enough...talented enough...WHATEVER LIES YOURE LISTENING TO ENOUGH!”
You need to put some effort into your appearance so that you can begin to perceive yourself as valuable. If you fall into this pit and keep listening to those voices, you will not be effective for God’s kingdom. Satan will use it to silence you. You are worth caring for and you need to keep a guard on those inner voices so you can accomplish God’s purpose.
Looks Matter Because It Affects How You Present Yourself to Others
Let’s go back to that woman in the example above. She’s shown up in a public place with an appearance that says, “I don’t care.” Regardless of what the “right thing” to think might be, you were left with an impression of this woman, right?
Do you think she looks responsible?
Do you think she looks like she values her life? Her health? Others?
Do you feel comfortable approaching her?
How would you feel if she started talking to you about something of importance (faith, your family, work)?
Again, I know we are not supposed to judge people - This is a bit of a thin line to walk, but I need you to try and here is why:
God has put you on this earth for a purpose.
There is a message / gift you need to share with others.
Is your appearance, your first impression, a barrier to being able to share what God wants you to share?
Is it keeping you from feeling confident enough to speak?
Is it keeping others from feeling comfortable enough to listen?
You might be the greatest, most wonderful person in the world with a message that can change the lives of anyone who hears it. But it’s not going to matter if no one hangs around long enough to listen or if you are too busy worrying about your frizzy hair to speak up.
Looks Matter - Maybe they shouldn’t, but they do
They communicate that you value yourself or that you don’t.
They affect how you perceive yourself. Am I a worthy child of God or am I junk?
They impact how you are perceived by others. Am I someone people will listen to or am I someone they will shy away from?
Is beauty about more than how you look? Of course it is. But your appearance should not be a barrier to confident service.
We will dig into this more in another post.
For now I just want you to think about these two questions?
What does your appearance communicate about you?
Does that help or hinder your ability to serve God with confidence?