by Leah Darrow and Jackie Francois Angel
I remember when I (Jackie) was in 4th grade, I thought a cool Halloween costume was putting on some overalls and sticking dead leaves in my hair and calling it a “scarecrow.” But, then, in 5th grade, things changed. I wanted to be a French maid. Now, there is a difference between dressing up as a cleaning lady and dressing up as a French maid. “French maid” implied fishnet stockings, a short skirt, and an overall appearance of looking “sexy.” I don’t know how in one year this intention changed from “finding anything around the house for Halloween” to “looking sexy.” But, from 5th grade to 12th grade, the goal for all my female friends at Halloween time became, “How can I dress with less clothes on and get away with it?”
At some point, both of us had a conversion, and thus, a change of heart. We both realized that our desire to be “sexy” and “provocative,” was just a twisting of the God-given desire to be beautiful. The desire to be noticed for our beauty is stamped within our feminine hearts. As women, we were created to reveal the beauty of God. Our bodies are inherently beautiful. That’s why you don’t see billboards for beer and cars using men in speedos to sell their product. You see women scantily clad in bikinis or low-cut shirts to sell products. It’s easy to get attention with Saran wrap outfits just as it is easy to pick up the “sexy” Halloween costume. But the scantily clad outfit and the sexy Halloween costume are really both the same thing. They are both costumes – concealing who we really are. Truth is, we are more than a collection of body parts. The culture tells us that this is what real beauty is. But deep down in our hearts, we ask, “Is this what we were made for? For our beauty to be objectified and pornified? To be noticed merely for outward beauty? For my sexual values?”
A huge problem with our culture is assuming that beauty only comes from our appearance. There is nothing wrong with longing to be beautiful! In fact, we desire to be beautiful! But beauty goes beyond our outward appearance. The most beautiful women in the world aren’t the supermodels but the saints. As Leah has said before, supermodels are some of the most insecure women in the world. And no, One Direction, insecurity is NOT what makes a woman beautiful. Holiness is.
Just look at Blessed (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta. Her passion for Jesus in the poorest of the poor seeped out of every pore in her body! Every wrinkle on her face testified to the sorrow, the joy, the exhaustion, the pain of seeing people be treated like animals and left for dead in the streets of Calcutta. Yet, Mother Teresa saw Jesus in each one of them. Mother Teresa is one of the most beautiful human beings to ever live. Her beauty didn’t come from her dress or adorning her face with make-up, but from her radiant joy and love for the Lord. Can you imagine Mother Teresa looking in the mirror and thinking she needed Botox or 5 inch heels to get people’s attention? Nope. Not a chance. She was beautiful because she loved, because she was holy.
The culture tells us to be beautiful by exploiting our bodies and dressing up like a “sexy slice of pizza” (believe me—it’s an actual costume). Their caveat, of course, is: Don’t worry; it’s just a costume, I’m not really a trashy gal, I just dress up as one. The Lord, on the other hand, tells us to not listen to the culture and know that our beauty comes from Him! Our bodies are not objects to be lusted after, but glorious indwellings of the Holy Spirit!
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:1-2
So, how can we glorify the Lord in our bodies this Halloween? Let your beauty shine through. The beauty of who you are! Are you super funny? Let it shine through your costume, like this chick (who dressed as a third wheel). Are you mega creative? Let it shine. Are you sporty or theatrical or quiet or a bookworm or in love with comic books? Let that shine.
While we’ve created a blog mash-up to inspire your dress this Halloween, the message is pertinent to everyday dress. What we wear communicates to the world something about us. Whether it’s Halloween or a Saturday night out with friends, it is our hope that your fashions be full of creativity, beauty, dignity ¬and knowledge that we belong to Christ and not to the world.
Treat the world to a dignified and creative you; don’t trick them into believing you’re eye candy.