It’s the official Award’s Season, when all the Hollywood stars walk the red carpet in their elaborate gowns and tuxedos. I admit, I enjoy watching the women in their gorgeous dresses. I always admire their appearance, as they look so radiant…so beautiful…and so SKINNY!
It amazes me, actually. During the Golden Globes Red Carpet Preview, I was eating a plate of beef & cheddar cheese nachos; glancing back and forth from the TV to my plate wondering if I could ever do what these movie stars can do to look this magnificent.
Sure, I love getting dolled up on occasion, like 3-5 times a year! And, I more often eat healthy over a weekend splurge on a plate of nachos. However, I think it is important for us to understand that real joy comes from understanding God’s standards above some of the unrealistic standards we place on ourselves.
Coincidentally, the Golden Globes took place the weekend after I was a bridesmaid in Scott’s sister’s wedding. And it just so happens that I got an all-familiar glimpse on how difficult it is to sometimes appear red-carpet-worthy. You see, my beautiful scarlet bridesmaid gown arrived very close to the wedding date…one size too small.
It was just three weeks before the wedding and two weeks before Christmas. I stopped by David’s Bridal to pick up my dress that had been ordered in the fall. I had a long day running a bunch of errands on the road. Have I mentioned how much I hate errands that involve driving during the holiday season?
Anyway, this was the last stop on my list. Upon picking up my dress, the girl at the front counter persuaded me to try it on before leaving so that I could use the store’s seamstress who could start on my fitting right away. I was tired and hungry, and since Christmas and the wedding were quickly approaching, I decided to get it all taken care of right then and there.
I halfheartedly walked into the dressing area, slipped on the dress, and miraculously managed to zip up the back with no help. As anticipated, the dress would require hemming at the bottom, but aside from that I was rather pleased that it seemed to fit perfectly everywhere else. “Great. This shouldn’t cost too much nor take too long.”
With clothes, coat, and boots in hand, I left the dressing area wearing the gown, and tiptoed to the back of the store to the fitting area. I plopped my things down on a chair, stepped onto a platform in front of a long 3-way mirror, and waited for the seamstress.
A lovely Asian woman appeared from behind a curtain with a tape measure around her neck and a pin-cushion in her hand. She didn’t say much, which made it more uncomfortable as after circling me a few times she proceeded to tug at the top of my dress several times in attempt to pull it up higher than it already was. I didn’t understand what she was trying to accomplish, as the dress obviously couldn’t go beyond my armpits, but for whatever reason she kept tugging at it, looking in the mirror, and shaking her head. She seemed frustrated and confused.
After a few seconds of this, I realize that I suddenly had this very unattractive roll of upper arm-boob fat just above the strapless neckline. To add insult to injury, I was suddenly having a hard time breathing and my arms were in suspended animation! (Remember the movie, The Christmas Story, when the younger brother was wearing the snow-suit and the mom kept trying to push his arms down? Yeah. That was me.)
Now, I was frustrated and confused! “What did you do that for?” I asked.
“You were hanging out! The dress was too low! That’s not how it goes.”
I felt like I was being reprimanded. I looked at her as if she was not speaking English, but unfortunately, I understood her more than I cared to. I looked back in the mirror.
“What on earth….(flapping my arms like a bird)…Now, what am I gonna do? This hurts!”
“I don’t know. The dress is too small at the top. I can’t make it bigger. ”
For the next few minutes, I was pulled and squeezed by this dress (that suddenly became my enemy), while the seamstress made every attempt to maneuver my God-given curves in ways they were unable to go. The only way she could secure the zipper is if I held my breath.
“Not working. NOT WORKING!”
Meanwhile, my mind was imagining myself in my gown at this wedding with boob-fat while also trying to figure out how I ended up ordering a dress one size too small.
“You know, when I ordered this dress, the girl that helped me told me that it fit. She didn’t tell me that I didn’t have it pulled up enough!”
The seamstress said nothing and kept shaking her head. I was beginning to feel faint. With just 3 weeks until the wedding, it soon became clear what the best alternative would be.
“Ok, I can diet for the next few weeks. No problem. Movie stars do it all the time. I’ll cut out bread…and pasta…and sweets. And when I come back, it will fit. We’re gonna make this work, ok?
“No. DON’T EAT! You cannot eat!”
“Are you OUT OF YOUR MIND!?” I can’t do that. I will die. I’ve worn dresses tighter than this before. If I cut down on carbs I will slim down a size in 2 weeks. TRUST ME!”
And, in my mind, I resolved that I would do just that.
“Ok. Whatever it takes.” From there, she effortlessly pinned the bottom of the dress and we mutually decided to leave the bodice alone, hoping my plan would work.
I did start cutting out carbs, and as it turned out, I was plagued with an awful sinus infection on Christmas Day which lasted almost 2 weeks. Not only did I lose my sense of taste, but my medication curbed my appetite, tremendously. Thankfully, I had no problem getting into that dress. And I was able to dance comfortably and eat whatever I wanted that night.
The moral of the story? I am thankful that I am not a movie star.
Seriously. Why do we sometimes willingly push ourselves to fit into clothes we naturally may not fit into…or work harder than a normal lifestyle requires…or expect so much from our relationships?
The bible reminds us of what God thinks about our appearance, our lifestyle, and our relationships. Real joy and peace come from choosing a life that meets these standards. I personally believe that keeping up with worldly standards can rob us of true peace and joy in our hearts. Whenever I fall into trying to keep up with unrealistic standards in the world around us…I end up feeling anxiety, empty, and miserable. I notice a difference after I readjust my perspective on these areas with God’s expectations. I feel a sense of peace and joy when I am living out His standards.
There are no Oscars in God’s eyes. And, God doesn’t award us on our red-carpet dress size. God is not impressed with our materialistic belongings, how many hours we spend at the office, or how much money we have when we retire. God is not impressed with how many people love us. Rather, he expects US to love OTHERS.
Think about the standards of this world compared to the standards in God’s word.
The World’s Standards
Body – Outward Appearance is most important.
Lifestyle – Happiness and Money go hand in hand.
Relationships – It’s all about ME. If you’re not happy, move on to something else.
Body – Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)
Lifestyle – Do NOT be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ …But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33)
Relationships – Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…(1 Corinthians 4:13)
The Living EXTRAordinary Woman recognizes God’s standards as more important than the world’s standards. She trusts in finding peace and joy from living according to this truth!