I wouldn’t class myself as image-obsessed. I like to think that I really don’t care about the way I look; whether that’s hair styles, clothes or anything else. For the past year or two, I’ve found myself living with the following phrase:
Achievements over Appearance
The thing is, in today’s distinctly fashion-focussed culture, it has been difficult for me to shake the impression that people are more interested in the way they appear to do things rather than the things they are actually doing. Take, for example, the celebrities who are famous for being, rather than doing – Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, anyone that has EVER appeared on Big Brother and a whole host of other names that populate the far too familiar list of famous-for-nothing stars. As I witnessed their success from the murky shadows of the so-called-star light cast out from television sets and computer screens, I repeatedly promised myself to honour achievements over appearance.
With that said, I’m coming to the rapid conclusion that I really haven’t done that well. Pride is the barricade blocking me from being who God is calling me; calling us to be – and dealing with that hasn’t quite been as simple as I thought. Take these examples…I wonder if you’ve experienced these too:
Consequence: Tired, Lazy and inefficient.
Reason: Skipping breakfast to ensure hair was blow-dried…”I don’t care what my hair looks like (providing it’s not TOO curly)”
Consequence: Late, flustered.
Reason: Couldn’t find the Tshirt I wanted…”Can’t go to work in this top! It’s brown!”
Consequence: Stressed, irritated
Reason: Potential of not playing lead electric guitar…(Honestly, this is what I thought)”really, but then people won’t compliment me about my playing”
Cringe. Like I said at the beginning, I like to think that I really don’t care about the way I look. I really do. Maybe not as much as others, but definitely more than I should.
Over the last few weeks, God has been really focussing on sorting my pride. Something in me changed recently, which can only be a positive thing. The pivotal moment for me was when I was looking at myself in the mirror whilst brushing my teeth. I hate my hair. For a moment, I considered cutting it all off…but thought better of it – I’d look stupid. Maybe if someone paid me…
I felt ashamed.
I was considering taking money from people to change my appearance – yet at the same time, I was willing to let people suffer in countries far away from here simply because they can’t afford to fulfil their basic needs. I wanted to profit from changing the way I look simply because I could. Why am I more concerned about my appearance than people who are in need?
That was just over a week ago. I’ve since raised just over £1000 for Kerith Community Church’s ‘Project 125’ – an attempt to raise £125,000 in order to provide safety for vulnerable students in the Serenje district in Zambia. How? By shaving my head.
I know, I know. It’s kinda like Britney Spears…only with purpose. This is a big deal for me – I’ve never had a shaved head…ever! I’ve received over 40 sponsors, and I’m truly grateful for their donations – but I can’t help but feel uncomfortable that it was much easier for me to raise £1000 to alter my appearance than it was to ask outright for money for Project 125.
Why is that?
Today’s entry is a pledge that I won’t let my pride get in the way of trying to help people. I care more about achieving a worthy objective than appearing my best. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t care about how you look. However, I AM saying that if looking stupid for 3 months while my hair grows back can pay a little bit towards changing people’s lives, BRING IT ON!