"Who shall give me the gift of resting in you? Who will grant me this, that you come into my heart and make it drunk, so that I forget my evil deeds (Jer. 44.9) and embrace you, my only Good? What are you to me? Have mercy on me, and let me speak. What, for that matter, am I to you? Why do you command me to love you? And if I do not, why are you moved to anger and threaten me with utter misery? But is my misery any less, if I fail to love you? Have pity, O Lord! For your own mercies' sake, O Lord my God, tell me what you are to me! Tell my soul: I am your salvation (Ps. 35.3 [Ps. 34.3]). Speak, and let me hear your voice. Bend down to my soul's ear, O Lord; open it, and tell my soul: I am your salvation. I shall run after your voice, and catch you (Phil 3.12). Do not hide your face from me. Let me die to see it; for if I do not see it, I shall die."
- Augustine, Confessions, 1.5.5
Ok. Let's establish one very important thing first. I do not approve of the see-through dress trend. Please hear this loud and clear before I make my next statement.
I completely appreciate the above photos of Jennifer Lawrence. And I'm so so thankful to her for wearing this dress.
Because the actress is showing that she actually has a woman's body rather than the tiny, hardened, adolescent ones we've had been shown for decades.
This is not denying that Lawrence is one incredibly beautiful and attractive woman. I don't look at her and think, "Oh yeah, I could be JLaw's twin in beauty and sex appeal." God obviously gave her things he didn't give me. BUT I can look at her and see someone that looks human, someone whose tummy pooch, round thighs, and butt cleavage are all recognizable. They may be the best looking tummy, thighs, and butt I've seen, but they are still there and that dramatically changes the way I think about myself.
Lawrence publicly refuses to diet or work out to attain a certain body type and she frequently talks about the need for more real women's figures in Hollywood. I can't think of anyone better than her to promote this message. She is healthy and balanced in a completely gorgeous way!
To be completely candid, looking at these pictures almost wants to make me cry as relief washes over me. I could be completely healthy and trim and would still never be able to relate to the images of beauty surrounding me. I just wouldn't. But when I look at Lawrence, I see a reality that isn't completely foreign to me - a reality that celebrates the truly beautiful without attacking God's creation, a reality that cares about the body without altering it.
Most importantly, appreciating Lawrence's beauty might actually help me believe those near to me when they tell me I look beautiful. When my husband compliments me, maybe my first reaction will be less "thanks-but-I-need-to-loose-10lbs" and more "Why thank you for thinking I'm beautiful!" I'll still try to eat only 5 pieces of chocolate instead of 10 and will try to convince myself to go for a run. But because in my mind there is an image of a woman who has a gorgeous figure and a bit of flab along with the thousands of other images of women whose thighs are infinitely smaller than mine and whose busts are infinitely larger, I can feel a little more freedom.
Women cannot healthily admire beauty if our ideals aren't grounded in reality. While I won't be putting on any see-through dresses any time in the near future (or EVER!), I will take a moment to enjoy what a beautiful woman's body actually looks like and appreciate the young woman who has enough spunk to wear a see-through dress for all of us to see what reality really is.
"Where did this beauty-intelligence false dichotomy come from? ...The women I met at the conference last month shattered these kinds of paradigms—and my own ugly prejudice against beautiful women. They were articulate, curious about the world, deeply kingdom-oriented, and passionate about much more than hair and facial products. Physical beauty for them seemed important, but clearly (and rightly) not as important as global and eternal questions and concerns. They gave me a new model for what it means to lead as a woman—not as a woman trying to hide their femininity, like so many women in leadership, especially in male-oriented workplaces, feel they must do."
If you have ever judged a woman for being too beautiful, automatically chalking her up to superficiality and shallowness, read Katelyn Beaty's recent little confession on Her.menutics. Like her, I am often guilty of this false dichotomy and find myself repenting of such an attitude. Her thoughts were convicting and refreshing, reminding me of the many amazing women I have struggled to appreciate for completely illegitimate reasons, but by the grace of God have learned to love and admire.