When Beauty Is Botoxed
We recently received a request asking for a gospel-centered perspective on elective plastic surgery. I should warn you before you go any further, this isn’t a persuasive post or a pro/con piece. Instead, I want to offer you my honest thoughts on this complex topic.
As a wife of 16 years and a mom to two amazing kids, my body has undergone a few noticeable changes and even more changes that most of the world doesn’t see.
Plastic surgery has crossed my mind many times. I’ve discussed my desires with friends and even joked about going to a resort after our procedures to rest and recover. I’m sure this sounds much more dreamy than the reality of recovery. But, I digress.
My husband declines my dreams of plastic surgery. I respond to him with some kind of justification, telling him I don’t want a new body – simply my old body back.
In 2017, there where 1.8 million cosmetic procedures performed. The top 5 are:
These 1.8 million surgeries don’t include minimally invasive procedures such as Botox, fillers, and chemical peels which add up to a whopping 15.7 million procedures in 2017 alone.
Each of these procedures increased from the year prior and the one before that.
As I read through the list, I have to be honest, I began imagining what it would like if I had one or all the procedures done. I would be restored to a former glory and maybe even look a teach better when it’s all said and done.
But then, I let the numbers sink in and I’m not so sure.
Have you ever started a diet and you lose a few pounds? I have and it feels great. After I lose a few pounds, I think after a few more I’ll feel even better. Before long, an obsession is formed out of a lie that says, if only I could weigh ___ amount, I’ll be happier. But what my heart is really saying is, if only I weighed ___, then I’d feel good enough.
I think that’s the lie within plastic surgery. Millions and millions believe that once our breasts are perkier and fuller (or the same size…just saying), then we’ll be beautiful and happy.
We can’t mistake a counterfeit self-image for the real deal. When we believe the lie that botox buys happiness, we’re left with a different version of the same emptiness. Because real joy is only found in Christ.
Some Words About Your Body
Scripture speaks to the issue of our bodies. First, we are wonderfully made and our body is a temple (Psalm 193:14; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Second, our heart matters to God, not our outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7). Third, we are to glorify God in our body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Finally, we are called to not be conformed to this world but instead to be set apart by being transformed by the renewal of our minds, allowing us to discern the will of God (Romans 12:2)
Know Your Motivation
It comes down to motivation. I loved writing this because I’ve wrestled with this. Personally, it sounds fun to get something lifted or filled, but I know it wouldn’t be good because for me, it would mean that my body isn’t good enough. And because of my history with an eating disorder, my identity is vulnerable to being tied to my body image.
If our hearts are not settled with a firm confidence that our identity is in Christ alone, any procedure offers only a short-term fix of a false identity.
We must consider the motivation behind the desire to get a procedure. Are you comparing yourself to others or even your old self? Do you have an unrealistic standard of what your body should or could look like? Are you hyper-focused on certain areas of your body and do you find yourself fantasizing about these areas being different? Would you feel the need or might you be vulnerable to having another procedure after another? Have you always struggled to find your identity in Christ and are you hoping that a procedure would solidify your identity and self-worth?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then it is likely that you are equating your happiness and identity in your body image.
Until you know that you are a masterpiece, worthy, and made in God’s image – a procedure will never complete you. You’ll only continue to search for another body change to substitute an unhappy heart.
Care for your body
Respect your body
Honor your body
Have perspective about your body.
I love all the makeup, hair tricks, and fun fashion. But I’ve learned that it is only when my beauty is rooted in Christ that my identity and joy is secure. Beauty that is botoxed only blocks our real identity in Christ. It gives a short-term fill of deep-rooted insecurities, and acts as a barrier to real intimacy with our husbands.The goal isn’t to have a better body; it is to glorify God and make His name known.
Ladies, your worth cannot be wrapped up in your performance, your perfection, or your appearance.
We aren’t going to tell you whether plastic surgery or any procedure is wrong or right. We will say that a woman’s confidence in her beauty found only in Christ is far more beautiful than anything boughten or botoxed.
If you want to go get the surgery, go get it. Who knows, maybe I will too. But, I won’t get it done until my heart is in the right place. And that’s what I would recommend for you as well.
Friend, you are so beautiful. Allow God to shape your heart into the fullness in which He has created you. A full heart in the Lord brings a beauty that cannot be bought. Seek Him and He will lead you in a personal journey and give you peace and direction for your body.
“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
Wife Step: We believe that the God of the universe will speak to you personally regarding any desire or decision for plastic surgery. We do desire you to ask the Lord to reveal to you the real motivation behind wanting a procedure. Pray and ask God to shape your heart in the image of His, and to confidently proclaim the beauty in which He has created you to the whole world.
Melissa is a licensed professional counselor specializing in disordered eating, body image, and self-worth. When she isn’t counseling, speaking, or blogging at melissaclarkcounseling.com, you can find her sifting through clearance racks or perusing online for her next travel destination. She lives in the Dallas area with her handsome hubby and two cute kiddos (and a crazy rescue dog).