More than a Makeover
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
I thought I'd heard it all the other day as I listened to a radio advertisement for a "garage makeover." There are people ready to perform makeovers, apparently, for everything.
We all want to have a better job, to be a better person, perhaps to have a happier life. But it seems to me that the current fascination with makeovers in today's popular culture must be tapping into something else.
Are the majority of us so dissatisfied with our lives that everything disappoints us? Are we looking for a quick fix, changing our appearances to find that "bluebird of happiness"?
I feel intuitively that real satisfaction and happiness can't come from the rearrangement of material objects or even the wholesale replacement of those objects, and I think most people, when pressed, would agree. So perhaps it's worthwhile to look for a deeper reason for this makeover mania.
For a start, there's the hidden assumption of inadequacy that seems to trigger the desire for makeovers. God loves every one of us. Our Father-Mother God created us, and the mothering love of God must surround us every day. God approves of us, not as fallible little mortals with not-so-loveable defects, but as His perfectly conceived and perfectly maintained ideas.
A verse in Psalms states, "He delivered me, because he delighted in me" (Ps. 18:19). God's delight shines on us and through us. Since God finds us worthy, we must, then, see and acknowledge our worthiness. So it's natural to want to explore those Godlike qualities that make us worthy - our wit, intelligence, courage, strength of character, kindness. We can celebrate these magnificent qualities and further cultivate them.
This isn't just a makeover; it's a rebirth, a putting off the old man and putting on the new, as Paul advised in his letter to the churches at Colossae and Ephesus. It has nothing to do with highlights in our hair or finally having an uncluttered garage. It is about valuing spiritual qualities and expressing them more and more.
After several years' work in a field in which I'd achieved some recognition, I found myself in a new office in a new city, Washington, D.C. - which is a unique mind-set in and of itself. People dressed very differently from what I was used to, and there seemed to me to be undue attention on how one looked or on how one delivered a report - more attention perhaps than on the report itself.
One friend advised me, "It's all about process here." I did spiff up my clothes a little, but I still felt uneasy. Not only was I working in an office environment that I found somewhat threatening, I was unfamiliar with the subject matter. I began to feel inadequate and a little stressed out.
Since I have been accustomed to finding a spiritual solution to any problem that comes my way, I quietly thanked God that He was always with me and that He was supplying the intelligence, insight, and integrity I needed to perform my job. I spent a few minutes at my desk doing this every time I took on a new task.
I began to trust my intuition and found I was making interesting connections that were useful to the work. But still, I was surprised when, within just a few days, my boss complimented me on my insights and said that she had never seen the work done so well. Within a year, I received two awards for my work. More importantly, I lost that sense of inadequacy.
Becoming conscious of the worthiness that God loves in us is more than self-esteem. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper, wrote, "Happiness consists in being and in doing good; only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness: conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can" ("Message to The Mother Church for 1902," page 17). This worth-based happiness is more effective than a makeover, and more permanent, too.
What you learned was to fling off the dirty clothes of the old way
of living ... and, with yourselves mentally and spiritually re-made, to put on the clean fresh clothes
of the new life
which was made by God's design.
Ephesians 4: 22-24, J.B. Phillips