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A Wife Sees Some of Her Idols – People Pleasing and Beauty

An email from a wife.  Thank you for sharing!!!!!! I LOVE what God is doing in your heart!
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I watched two of your videos on Youtube  (channel “April Cassidy”)

Where do I start?????

I definitely identify with thinking it’s up to me make others happy and I expect others to make me happy. What a trap!! I can see I’ve been stuck in that little cage since I was like 4. YIKES

Those of us that come to Christ later in years are kinda like an art student that’s painted all her life – BUT THE WRONG WAY. You first have to unlearn all the wrong techniques and then re-learn the right way.

God has to remove all our wrong thinking, feeling and acting and then He can replace it with the right way.  (From Peacefulwife – I came to Christ at age 5, but STILL had to go through this exact same process because I had unknowingly swallowed so much poison from the world and our culture!)

Unfortunately it can get kind of confusing because you have the world telling you that your way of painting is good, the flesh is always thinking it’s Leonardo DeVinci and Satan loves when I paint in my own understanding!!!

So, I’ll be 51 in about a week, that’s a LOT of years being a people pleaser. I’ve known for a while that I struggle with this, but that whole being happy in others and vice versa. That’s HARD. It seems so innocent and not bad???

God does not want us to be happy, but be holy. Not that we can’t be happy, but the world’s idea of happy is SOO not God’s idea.

April, I have created sooo many idols JUST out of the people pleaser thing… it spills over into my dress, the whole being modest thing.

When you’re NOT IN CHRIST, it seems GOOD to have men give you attention because you look hot. Now I realize that is degrading, but at one time I felt pretty good, well, I even felt powerful having guys slobber all over themselves because of me. Now, I see that’s just cheap.

My pastor said God made women to want to be pretty: FOR THEIR HUSBANDS. Satan twists and perverts that God given desire into something ugly and destructive.
Age has chipped away at that idol. I memorized: We admire the strength (or beauty) of youth but respect the gray hair of age. This verse has helped me tremendously BUT, I am just now realizing that my youthful beauty was wrapped up in idolatry. Me being the idol….okay, so I just got REALLY really honest there.
I did it because I found out at age 6 that my little friends would be nice to me BASED on my looks. I tried in vain to be nice, sweet, cooperative…but still my friends would be unkind. Then one day some older girls oohed and aahed over how pretty I was. After that my mean little friends were nice to me. I started noticing how all the pretty girls were treated nicely by the teachers, boys and other girls (if they weren’t jealous…then they’d be mean). Anyway, I was NEVER that pretty, just that non-threatening kinda pretty.

I learned to “work it” in high school by doing my hair make up and wearing clothing that showed my youthful body off. Nothing too skanky but the idea was there…

In my 30’s I started teaching fitness classes and my body got nice and toned. I received a lot of respect and a little admiration for how I looked. It was so normal I didn’t think about it much, just was happy how I looked, and yes… spent a lot of time tanning and exercising.

Then in my 40’s my health took a real nose dive and out the door went the tanning and the exercising. Too funny. I’m 50 and sporting a belly. HAHA.

I watch my daughter follow in my footsteps and it makes me sad. She is a gorgeous 30 year old who gets attention for her beauty. She dresses much more modestly than I ever did, but still….I see the strut, I see the look in her eyes when she knows she looks good.  I wish I could go back in time and have found you when she was only a teenager. That she would want to dress modest and attract a guy that would REALLY value her heart for God.

I need to chew on the idea that this is a super idol for me. I kind of knew it was, but the extent seems pretty huge.

How do you think the respect of age ties into the admiration of youth and beauty? Can that become just another idol? Like switching one for another? How do you avoid doing that?

God has given you GREAT wisdom to be mindful of the idol thing. Maybe that is something us women struggle with. Making idols of so many different things. I can relate, that’s for sure. Beauty, being good, food, friends, even church!!

I’m glad God doesn’t let us hang onto our idols. He took mine away with age. But I see the danger of trading it for something else. And I don’t want to make an idol out of being modest….sheesh that would be just like me LOL!
FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
Yes, our human hearts are idol factories!  We all are able to constantly invent things to idolize if we are not carefully watching our motives and immediately repenting to Christ.  And there is definitely a danger in trading one idol for another.  It is absolutely possible to make an idol out of respect and biblical submission – thinking you can control your husband that way and get what you want, apart from trusting Christ.  It is also very possible to make modesty an idol.  Or to make not wearing makeup an idol – or a way of being legalistic and keeping score.
The key always is – what are my motives?
  • Why do I want to make this person happy?  Is is so that I can avoid conflict, or is it so that I can please God?
  • Why do I want to wear this outfit? Is it to draw attention to my body, or is it to draw attention to Christ?
  • Why do I want to dress modestly?  Is it out of reverence for Christ, or is it so that I can feel like I am “earning” favor with God, or so that I can look down on other people who aren’t dressing modestly?
  • Why do I want to not wear make-up?  Is it about true humility, or is it a way for me to feel superior to others?
  • Why do I want to wear make-up?  Is it to attract the attention of men, or to look my best for my husband and honor him?

So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time–before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due. I Corinthians 4:5

If my motive is anything other than pleasing, honoring, trusting and loving Christ – I have a big problem!
If I am putting something in that primary spot in my life – the place where Jesus alone is worthy to sit on the throne in my heart – that is idolatry.  If I think “I HAVE TO HAVE THIS THING/PERSON!!!!  I MUST HAVE IT TO BE HAPPY!!!!”  And it is not Christ – I am dealing with an idol.  If I am making my identity all about something that is not Christ, it is probably an idol.  If I am REALLY afraid of something happening, and I spend tons of time and energy trying to prevent something – the opposite of my fear is probably an idol.
Even sin can become an idol.  Bitterness can be an idol.  I may cherish my bitterness more than my intimacy with Christ and refuse to forgive.  Practically anything can be an idol in our human hearts.
Idols must be torn out by the root and replaced with Jesus alone.  I must die to myself and my desires, my wisdom, my plans, my expectations, my rights… and live for Christ!  Then I desire His wisdom, His plans, His holiness, His will and His greatest glory.  946930_36154604

16 thoughts on “A Wife Sees Some of Her Idols – People Pleasing and Beauty

  1. Soo true, our ability to make just about anything an idol in our lives! I was thinking of Calvin’s quote just as I read your allusion to it, April. (“The human heart is a factory of idols…Everyone of us is, from his mother’s womb, expert in inventing idols.” -John Calvin)

    One of the lessons I remember well (not nearly as good at applying it!) from my biblical counseling classes was a way to check myself re: idols of my hearts: 1) Am I willing to sin to GET it? (attitudes/words/actions); 2) Am I willing to sin if I DON’T get it? (attitudes/words/actions)

    Another great resource for reading and study is Elyse Fitzpatrick’s book “Idols of the Heart: Learning to Long for God Alone” http://www.christianbook.com/idols-heart-learning-long-god-alone/elyse-fitzpatrick/9780875521985/pd/21984

    I’m a relatively new reader to this blog, but am convinced that the Lord opened the door at just the right time in my life, because so many of the past (and present) posts address just the areas God is/has been working on – or opened my eyes to areas where I have been blind, and hindering God’s work and blessing. Thank you for being faithful to Him and His Word as you minister to others. 🙂

    1. Cheryl,

      You are very welcome!

      Thank you for the resource! Those tests for idols are VERY GOOD.

      Welcome to this blog! I am looking forward to walking on this journey with you!!!! 🙂

  2. I am also fairly new to reading your blog. Thank you, I appreciate your honesty and the honesty of different ones who write their comments. I have realized a big need in my life for more respect for my husband since I started reading this. The woman whose email you posted for today’s blog wishes she had taught her daughter more about dressing modestly when she was a teenager. I would like to take this a step further and say that teaching our girls modesty begins when they are tiny babies. They are so cute and our mother hearts want to doll them up so people will ohh and ahhh over them. But really this is feeding the pride in my mother heart (another idol) and it is planting the first seeds of pride in my daughter’s heart as well. If right from the beginning we can have the vision to dress them humbly and modesty, we are starting them on the right road to the important things in life. We all are made to naturally think about ourselves. Our children don’t need any help in that area! Rather, if we can guide our little ones to think more of others and less of themselves, we will be starting them in the right way. This will also plant more of an acceptance in their hearts for others who are not dressed as well, and they will learn to look on the heart instead of outward appearance.

    1. Trish,
      That is a very good point! Humility does involve not wearing extravagant, very expensive clothes/jewelry, I agree. And we must guard our motives – even in how we dress our babies. There is room there for us to have pride or make our children into idols or to crave getting all the attention over the external adornment of our children.

      Thank you! This is very thought provoking and helpful! For us and our children.

  3. Oh my goodness, the makeup thing!! For YEARS all of my friends have been harassing me to wear makeup. “You’d look better!” the mean ones would say. “It’d be special for your husband!” the manipulative ones would say.
    But I see how embarrassed they are to be seen with me in public because I wear clothes that are super old (budget doesn’t allow new clothes if the old ones are just fine) and have no makeup on.
    Well, not that long ago – and I can’t remember if it was here or the Respect Dare blog – someone mentioned putting on makeup to please your husband. To look GOOD for him. I was pinned between a rock and a hard place.
    You see, I don’t wear makeup because I just plain don’t like it. I don’t like how it feels on my face, I don’t like how it makes me break out (thus, requiring MORE makeup to cover up the nasty zit fest), and I don’t like feeling like I have to hide behind something to get others to notice me. I just wanna be me, without touching my face every ten seconds trying to wipe something off then remembering it’s supposed to be there!
    But should I back down? Should I wear makeup? I do wear eyeliner and lip gloss when we go on dates, and I do dress in my nicer clothes when we go out. But I can’t afford makeup or new clothes, we’re saving for an adoption which is much more important to me!
    Which is where this post comes in. THANK YOU, to the brave wife who sent this. I struggle with people pleasing so much. It was a habit nurtured in me by my parents that I’ve been fighting for years. You have just reminded me that if my husband is pleased with how I look it doesn’t matter if I buy nice clothes when we can’t afford it (which would just make him upset) or wear what I have now. As long as I’m honoring HIM everybody else’s opinion doesn’t matter.
    Which means I will continue wearing what HE likes, even if they are old. I will continue NOT wearing makeup every day, because he likes that I don’t look fake (an issue he actually has to bring up at work sometimes because the women he manages will sometimes go overboard and unprofessional), he likes that I wear it for special times to mark the occasion. I won’t go out and buy new clothes or new lipstick because others want me to. That disrespects the budget he’s worked hard to create with our future family in mind and tells him that his opinion on how I look is worthless.
    Thank you for this. I needed the jolt to my system to remind me that my looks are between me, God, and my husband. NOT the fashionistas at church 😉

    1. Dani,

      Yes! Your primary purpose in life is to please Christ. Your secondary purpose is to honor and respect and bless your husband. If he is happy, awesome! No one else’s opinion is that big of a deal. The women at church are not in authority over you, your husband is, and primarily, Jesus is. So you don’t need to give any weight to their suggestions. Thank them for their concern, and you can say, “My husband and I like things this way.” End of discussion. 🙂

      I think your priorities are beautiful! 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

      1. I second you April! My wife doesn’t wear makeup either, except for nail polish ( because I asked her to). I much prefer the natural look, as does Dani’s husband.And it should be him she is concerned with being attractive for!

  4. April, I have been wrestling with this for a while. I have been offended by my husband noticing the beauty of other women, offended that they had the ability to tempt him, offended that beauty exists outside of me. Sounds silly and narcissistic when written down. I think it comes down to wanting to be sufficient for him, but not in the way that God intended… but in more of a “worship-me” kind of way. Sinful man is not content with God only, does not feel that God or His provision is sufficient for him, and here I am pining for what sinful man does not even give God. Lest someone misconstrue my meaning, I am only concerned with why I am so jealous, so cherishing of the idea of being beautiful. This has nothing to do with my husband really. It has to do with the corrupting of good desires (husband chaste in thought & deed) into something idolatrous. I worship me with these desires. One thought that has helped give me some defense against the strength of this idol is that I am a tool for God to use to reduce temptation, to attract my husband towards God, that I am given to him to cherish and chastely love so that he would be helped along the sanctification process. I am his companion in that journey. My beauty is meant to point him towards a Godly lifestyle. I really have to fight this desire to be worshiped for my beauty and turn that position over to the Lord of beauty. The funny thing is that I am not much attractive any more and yet the desire has only grown over the years.

    1. Renata,

      The book that really helped me understand and empathize with men was “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn.

      The fact that you can now see your motives – that is the most important place to start.

      Are you able to find contentment in Christ alone? Even if there are other beautiful women in the world?

      MANY, MANY wives turn their husband’s holy thought life into an idol and seriously try to control their thoughts and prevent them from sinning in their thoughts. Of course, on our own, we can’t even stop ourselves from sinning in our minds. It is also very easy to want our husbands to bow to us and to submit to us. I did that. I never thought of it in those terms, but I see clearly now – that is exactly what I was doing.

      I love that God is showing you such truth. And what a blessing, for your husband to be faced with temptation, but then to be able to turn his thoughts towards you and for you to be on his team and to embrace him and honor him and be receptive, open and welcoming to him as the only legitimate, God-ordained outlet for his passion and sexual energy.

      Much love to you! 🙂

      I pray you will cherish only the beauty that God cherishes. And that any external beauty will be seen as a blessing from God for your husband to enjoy and cherish.

      1. Although it is nearing a year since this blog was posted, I wanted to say thank you Renata for putting words to a struggle I’ve also had for years…it’s important for me to remember I am not the only one struggling in areas like these!

        You nailed it saying that in comes back to the heart-this is what God is most concerned about as it affects the outpouring of every other area of our lives–first and foremost in our relationship with Him!

        Currently, I’m doing a personal study on the role of physical attractiveness within biblical beauty. Scripture is clear in regards to modesty and godly behavior defining beauty, as these things to point to glory of God. HOWEVER, my struggle is in what ways physical attractiveness plays into that. For example, even the thought that make-up makes a woman look ‘better’ is somehow… hurtful to me. I wear a little makeup on the daily, but I don’t want to teach my future daughter that she should wear makeup on special occasions because she doesn’t look special as it stands. It communicates a deeper truth, I feel, that she is somehow defective in the way God specifically made her.

        To get real honest on the flip side…to a more burdonsome question that plagues me…if a mother has a daughter that say, doesn’t meet the requirements of physical attractiveness in this world, how does this circumstance affect the way you teach her and what you say to her? I’m being honest here…and coming from the place of that child. Quick synopsis-I was an unattractive little girl and really only came into my own in my early twenties. My parents, youth pastor, friends, etc. told me I was pretty on occasion growing up, but their actions didn’t match their words-I knew I wasn’t pretty girl. So, I compensated with makeup, hair care, and a high priority on looking good. I grew up wrestling with a lot of worth issues associated to my appearance. Now that I know my worth, value, and identity is in Christ, he is healing a lot of those wounds. But if beauty is not truly about attractiveness, yet attractiveness is a real thing we deal with in this world, what truth is spoken over it?

        Any biblical truth from you lovely ladies would be GREATLY appreciated! Thank you!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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